Residents of the Somerset Independent School District on the southern edge of Bexar County approved a $20 million bond Tuesday. Out of 647 voters, 376 voted in favor of the measure.
The rural school district of around 4,000 students plans to use the funding to build a fine arts center and add an intercom entrance system to its seven campuses, enabling the front desk clerk to confirm a visitor’s identity and buzz them in.
“We want to just kind of alleviate some concerns that parents are having here in the community and throughout the nation about the safety of their children at school,” said Somerset spokesman Maury Vasquez.
Vasquez said the fine arts center is the final item on a wish list created by a citizen committee in 2010. It will give students a dedicated place to practice and perform.
“When they perform in their school cafeterias or mixed kind of cafetorium type of things we’re at capacity. We’re at standing room only,” Vasquez said. “Some people are outside unable to get in. A lot of school performances on say, elementary campuses, we break them up by the grade because in the elementary campuses they just don’t fit.”
Vasquez said the intercom system will build on the board’s decision to add a police officer to every campus last year. Previously Somerset only stationed officers at its junior high and high school.
Property taxes on a home worth $100,000 will go up by about $40 in the first year of the bond. The second year, property taxes will go up about $160. Vasquez said the state program that supports construction projects in property-poor districts will kick in during the third year, reducing the tax increase to about $50 more than what a property owner with a $100,000 home pays today.
Previous items on the committee’s list, including upgrades to an agricultural barn and new baseball and softball facilities, were approved by voters in 2010 and 2016.