Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Keep Buda Funky

"As Henry Altmiller said at the school board meeting, Buda Elementary School has always been funky. Well sometimes funky means good!"

Keep Buda Funky!!!

This blog is to voice public opinions about the proposed $10 million dollar renovation of Buda Elementary School from a uniquely split upper historical campus level (3rd through 5th grade) and a lower campus level (Pre-K through 2nd) to build an all-new two story building into the existing lower campus.

This would modernize the lower campus to be much more like other new elementary schools in Buda and would consolidate all the grade levels into one space. This new building would increase capacity by only 100 students and is located in a flood plain.

Though Buda Elementary needs renovations, the school board seems to be ignoring the least costly proposal for a $ 3 million dollar plan for upgrading both campus's with electrical, plumbing and roofing and cafeteria upgrades. And leaving the split campus's in place.

Most parents and teachers like the separation of the younger grades from the older ones . This school has been a historical institution in the City of Buda for over 80 years. Though our community is growing the need for a larger elementary in this neighborhood is not needed.

There is a growing census that big schools don't work and there is a new movement to make schools smaller again.

The closure of the Historical upper campus will become a ghost town to an already struggling downtown community.

What keeps the spirit of Buda Elementary alive is the use of these buildings as a working school with all of it's history to teach the future children of Buda a little about it's past.

100 comments:

Jeff Robinson said...

Excellent idea to have this Blog. There is too much apathy in small town politics. A few people are deciding the permanent fate of this historic campus and how millions of tax payers dollars are being spent. This is not the best plan Buda Elementary. There is not enough room on the lower campus. The design is too dense. Parking and traffic will be a nightmare. Many teachers prefer the separated campuses. The teachers opinions were not thoroughly considered and they are in a hard spot to speak out seeing how the school board writes their contracts. I think it was suspicious timing to announce the plans at the very end of the school year when people were not really around to talk about it. The upper campus is the most important vital institution to Old Town Buda. The needs of this school could be met for so much less money without having to decommission the upper campus. The school board is taking advantage of this no tax increase bond, and the general apathy of the community to spend unnecessary millions. This would be a irreversible decision. Don't do it!

4 funky said...

I completely agree!! When choosing a home recently, the deciding factor was if the kids would attend the funky little downtown school. It is important to know that we "toured" the BES campus before looking at houses!! We previously lived in Austin and are VERY familiar with the larger campus issues. What a welcome surprise to come to Buda and see a school office(upper campus), decorated with antiques and an atmosphere of home as opposed to institution. I believe the work environment plays heavily on the work attitude which has a domino effect. BES has happy, healthy attitudes throughout the school, from office to classrooms.
What kind of "environment" would we have during construction? Ever have rennovations done to a home while trying to maintain daily life? The stress is off the charts! I'm not sure school studies would benefit. An atmosphere or environment of Kaos is something I do not wish for my children as their daily school life. And long term, I would be looking for a new funky little downtown school--not finding it of course, I would homeschool again!

Anonymous said...

As a former teacher at Buda, and a mom with children who all went to Buda Elementary, I have to agree whole heartedly with the previous 2 comments! Renovate what is there, keep the history, improve what needs improving and bask in the unique identity of the upper & lower campus! The history of the past has always been part of the charm of that wonderful school. We can make the necessary improvements to upper campus without over-spending and more than meet the needs of the children for years to come. Okay, so that campus is a little different (then the rest in the district)...so what?
As a tax-payer in this district, I am concerned at the issues that the school board tends to spend big bucks on when it really isn't necessary. I did the math...upgrade what is there. They really are 2 different campuses and each is so focused on their age groups and that is such a part of the great feeling of truly delivering what the children need. Perhaps the school board needs to take a look at what the children truly need and not just what looks pretty! -452

Anonymous said...

I work on the campus and I prefer the consolidation of the two campuses for several reasons. I serve students on both campuses and having one campus would increase the work effieciency and effectiveness of teachers who serve both campuses. Additionally, having teachers all on one campus promotes and increases the "family" feeling of the school and working relations between teachers and administration, as well as communication. Thirdly, with the students mixed, it will allow the students to have reading and learning buddies, which is a powerful tool. My son attended Buda from K-2nd and at that time 2nd was uphill. Even at that time, I would have prefered the campus being under one roof.

Anonymous said...

I am a teacher at Buda now and I say colsolidation is needed. The school is disgusting. The old rooms are moldy, small and make people sick. How many weird illnesses have we had? Too many to count. We need more space in the rooms and a whole lot more than that. Electrical work would not cover the losses children are facing by being 2 campuses. Services are not provided as readily as they could be if we were closer together. It's your children that lose out so you decide! I am appalled that parents would not want to make this a better school with more services by putting it together. The old saying two heads are better than one.... think about it. I could go on, like there is no I in team! Separate we are like two teams fighting to get more attention and uphill always wins bc of the tests! Put our whole team on the same playing field and we will succeed a whole lot more! Change is happening and it is for the better!

jeff robinson said...

No parent wants teachers to be handicapped. Buda does need updating. Rooms should not be "moldy" or "disgusting". On the lower campus, some of the "disgusting" existing rooms will still be used in the new plan. There has got to be more options than just "old moldy small classrooms" verses new big box architecture. The cost difference is in the millions of dollars. Are the rooms in the new design that much bigger? There are less windows in the new designs rooms and much less opportunity for fresh air and light. Just because you have a new big box design doesn't mean your safe from health issues either. Some of these administrative division issues sound "lack of leadership" problems.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure we can all agree that there are pros and cons to both the $10 million renovation and the $3 million renovation.

Both sides have valid points. My question is if there are valid points to both sides, is this a decision we want to make today? Maybe, as a community, we can come up with strategies that help allieviate the problems associated with a split campus while maintaining the upper campus as a working school.

Anonymous said...

I say leave it alone. Yes, fix up the problem areas but leave the rest of the school the way it is.

Anonymous said...

First of all I think that this should not be up to the parents at all because they are not paying for anything as far as taxes go. Second, our campus is a joke. We are the only elementary campus where K-2 teachers have no idea who the 3-5 teachers are!!!!!!!!!! When you are at a campus you should want the faculty and children to feel like we are one big family....ummmm do we feel that way NO! The last reason we should become one campus is for the children!! Yes, parents and teachers who have been at Buda forever.... the children will benifit the most from the renovations. We are so behind as far as technology, classroom size and just being healthy. So yes we should go through with this and the teachers DID vote on it and the majority want it done!!!! As far as the upper campus people are acting like it is never going to be used again.

As far as I am concerened I CAN'T WAIT TO TEACH IN A BOX:)

Anonymous said...

As a faculty member at BES I have mixed feelings about the renovations vs rebuild controversy. If a major goal of the district is to become exemplary by the year 2010 then I don't see how rebuilding the school will help accomplish that. Our students are provided a well-rounded and excellent education within the walls of the existing buildings. The quality of instruction will not change with the scenery. In fact, I believe the possibility is there that the instruction might falter within the confines of major construction during the school year. If the goal of our district is to provide each student with identical facilities with their peers around the district, then the combined campus will do just that. The truth is that the staff at BES has the option to transfer and teach at any campus in the district, if so desired. There are some teachers that choose BES because of its unique qualities. It is the parents/families in our attendance zone that do not have the luxury of choosing where to send their children, so their input should be of utmost consideration when deciding the future of our campus.

Anonymous said...

I am not a teacher at Buda. I have one current student and one Buda graduate. I want Buda Elementary to be renovated and brought up to date but I do not want the campus to be all on one level down hill.

I hope that the school board listens to all people in the district and not just the people that work in the main office.

Anonymous said...

I am a parent of two children at Buda Elementary School. My husband and I chose the home in our neighborhood largley because of our attraction to the quaint, small-town feel of Buda Elementary. We have had an awesome experience there and will not vote for a bond that includes 10 million dollars of unnecessary rebuilding that will compromise what we have come to love so much.

Anonymous said...

Please don't be a group of people that automatically think newer is better.

I would love to see some of the historic elements of Buda Elementary remain intact during the renovation.

I am parent of Buda Elementary students as well as a member of a community that prides itself on its ability to mix modern necessities with the integrity of our historic town.

Please don't build a new school when we can just renovate the charming school we already have.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if people just have not realized that Buda/Kyle are not backwoods towns anymore. There are plenty of towns around us that are. We need a new school that our children can go to and we don't have to worry about their health!!! We need a school that is updated so our children can get the best education. As it is our children miss so much time from Music, Art etc. because of the time it takes getting up and down hill. And about teachers being able to transfer this is our career people who have children only have to deal with this until their kids are in fifth grade. Teachers teach many more years than that!!!

Anonymous said...

I was a bit dismayed to read some of the comments posted here by my co-workers. I know that blog sites are known for ranting, but to read a comment like “The school is disgusting,” was disheartening. My first instinct was to doubt that anyone I know at Buda would say something so lacking in basic respect-that surely it must be an outsider trying to obscure the interests of the site with sensationalism. Do I really have coworkers who think “our campus is a joke,” that “we are the only elementary campus where K-2 teachers have no idea who the 3-5 teachers are” and that “Uphill always wins”...? Would putting people all “in a box” fix the kind of resentment that prompted these sentiments? 10 million dollars couldn’t fix that. The fix for all of that is an administrator who knows how to pull a campus together, no matter where the rooms and teachers are located. I’ve been told that teachers on both “floors” of our school often don’t take the time to walk next door to get to know their fellow teachers, in large part I suspect, because it is simply a luxury of time teachers don’t feel they can afford themselves in light of the many demands they face each day in their jobs trying to give their students the best they have to offer. We simply need more encouragement to indulge in that luxury for the sake of our students, in order to give them the best we all have to offer. I hope to experience more of that encouragement with our new administration.

Having said that much, physical changes do need to take place at Buda. Renovations are necessary. It should be noted that these renovations will have to take place uphill anyway if the district continues to own the upper level of our school (which our superintendent has stated is the case). Why not spend the rest of the money to bring our technology up to date? For a fraction of the money planned on a fancier version of what, in essence, is just another two-floor, two-level, upstairs/downstairs school, Buda could build a state-of-the-art technology lab “downstairs.” I would be glad to walk my students down every day to use it. Hmmm. Just imagine the health benefits for the students from all of that fresh air and exercise. For a fraction of the funds of “the box proposal” we could put 10 laptops in every classroom. I could, and would, teach on a park bench if I had that kind of technology at my disposal. Not only would such a plan “bring Buda up to standards with the rest of the district” as longtime resident Tommy Poer says we need to do, but it would put us well in the lead of the other schools in our district.

Walls do not a school make. Insight and innovation do. I would ask the school board to take this issue off the current vote until our community can arrive at the best plan our insight and innovation can afford. It is the least we can do for our students.

jeff robinson said...

This blog is turning out to be quite exciting. It is truly a divided issue. Personally, I really appreciate the very thoughtful comment that was just posted above. Most of the comments are coming from teachers, which is great. But it would be great to see more Buda citizens comments. Do you have neighbors or parents email addresses? Can all of you please pass the link http://keepbudafunky.blogspot.com/ onto your fellow Budites?

Anonymous said...

"and the teachers DID vote on it and the majority want it done!!!!"

This statement simply isn't true. The teachers were not allowed to vote. They were only allowed a day to give former Principal Hitt "input" and she made the announcement that the school was largely in favor of improvements. In fact, she had already announced that the staff would be ecstatic about a new building before the superintendent had even left the building after his announcement to the staff. Considering the staff was given an ultimatum ($10 million for what the administration wanted to give them or a mere $3 million to "make do for now")it is not surprising many opted for what they could only hope might be better. Frankly "better" is a highly relative term in this case. This issue deserves a whole lot more thought than its been given. The children deserve a whole lot more.

Anonymous said...

This site is fabulous! Great idea Buda Mom. I hope you will put an ad or editorial in the Free Press to get the word out to more people in the community. Thanks for keeping Buda funky in the best of all possible ways!

Anonymous said...

As a Buda parent I am thankful for this opportunity to voice my opinion. I did not learn of the public meeting on the school board agenda until after the fact. Was it on purpose that the meeting was held after school ended for the summer? I feel strongly that the campus should be rennovated to meet the needs of the students and staff, but agree that it should be done in a financially responsible way. I will not support a 10 million dollar bond without knowing that every possible senerio has been investigated to the fullest. I too hope that this site is viewed by and used by parents, teachers and community members alike. I will forward it to my address book.

4kids said...

First I must admit that I have not read every comment and so I apologize if I am repeating what others may have said. I am fully in favor of the new consolidated campus for one reason only- - the kids. I have seen the difficult challenges of a split campus first hand and know that especially when we are speaking of our special ed population, two campuses do not create best practices for those students. In addition all students would benefit in my opinion from a unified campus. Buda is amazing and the children and paretns are outstanding. The children need consistancy. Those with special needs do not need to travel up the hill in order to receive services and many need to be with peers in a mixed grade level class. However at Buda that need, that right, is impossible. Yes, we teachers can teach anywhere. The children will learn even if their classroom had to be carted uphill or downhill. They will learn no matter what because we have an incredible, dedicated staff. However why would we not want the BESt for our students? Why would we want to deny them the greatest access to technology? Why would we want to have old chalk boards and a constant stream of workers in and out of a classroom to fix moldy sinks and broken ac units? Why would we want to work in a place where we don't see each other unless there is a faculty meeting once a month? I want collaboration because it is better for ALL kids at Buda. I fully appreciate and uderstand wanting to keep the "traditional campus", but can not agree when it might (even the slightest bit) mean that we can not have the BEST educational facilities for our children and our educators. Please feel free to make any comments about my opinions. I too am glad that we are able to fully voice our thoughts. Thank you for this opportunity to speak.

Anonymous said...

I am a teacher at Buda Elementary. I am FOR the renovations to make Buda Elementary one campus. The classrooms now are outdated and gross. They need renovation. What could be more exciting to a child than to learn in a new and clean environment. Sure freah air is great no one is saying you cant go outside. As for the little ones the "HILL" has actually been more of a hazzard than anything else. There have been several accidents. I think people who are against this growth for Buda Elementary are people who refuse change and change is good especially when it is to benefit children. Look around Buda there is change all around us. It is happening whether we want it to or not. Why not do it now when the money is there instead of letting Buda Elementary delapidate futher and then we are forced to do away with the school as a whole and have to spend more than 10 million on a brand new school somewhere out of down town Buda.

Anonymous said...

Well, this is a good discussion. Several people have already made the points I wanted to make so I'll try to not be too repetitive. We moved here from Austin. Our kids went to Baranoff Elementary in Austin and to Buda Elementary in Buda. We, as a family, much prefer Buda Elementary. Our kids have been at both the uphill campus and the downhill campus.

We do not want the ten million dollar renovation. The school district can do a lot for our school with the three million dollars. They can fix EVERY run down classroom. They can fix every "moldy sink".

We do not want the campuses combined. We will not vote for this bond unless they come up with some better options.

Anonymous said...

I am a former student of Buda Elementary and am now a tax payer in the district. I would love to see some updates done to both campuses, but not a "big box" structure to house all students. It seems that both of the upper and lower properties are inadequate in size to build one campus that will be functional for all purposes. I say allow Buda Elementary to be unique while bringing it up to standards as necessary. As I have seen with the other new schools in the district...newer is not always better.

Anonymous said...

"...letting Buda Elementary dilapidate further and then we are forced to do away with the school as a whole and have to spend more than 10 million on a brand new school somewhere out of down town Buda."

The elementary has been around for approximately 100 years, with some renovation it could be around another 100. Due to the fact that the lower campus is in flood plain, the option to develop
will remain, it's not now or never.

Anonymous said...

This reply is to the individual who wrote:
"We need a new school that our children can go to and we don't have to worry about their health!!!"

I believe Buda was given some huge award for having the best attendance in the district. That doesn't exactly sound like a sick school to me.

If you really want to talk about a sick school environment, then there are three words you might want to consider: Tom Green Elementary. If you don't know the details of that big box school, you owe it to yourself to do the research. There's plenty of evidence right here in our own district of the health problems students are submitted to in big box schools. Before you vote for this bond please get the whole story.

Anonymous said...

I do know about Tom Green and yes Buda did get an attendance award for this year.....what about the past??? or the present???? I think everyone needs to get over all this and let happen what is going to happen. If it is a new school so be it. If it is fixing up schools so be it. This is getting to be too much.

Anonymous said...

Listen let me tell you SOMETHING!!! What are you talking about!!?? Seriously. .. new IS better and that is that! WORD UP!

Anonymous said...

NAAAHHHH! Whatever. . we need to keep is REAL!! REAL DOG! 2 schools are cools! PEACE!!

Anonymous said...

Well, this has certainly started some emotional upheaval. We, as a community, must stick to the facts. Someone said only the main office is being heard and that is not true. There have been parent meetings and school board meetings that were open to the public so you could go and hear all the options. Secondly, it seems to me that the people on this site are not from the main office, but parents and teachers or a combination of the two. Everyone is being heard. Third, the fact remains that as much as we all love the old campus, it is old. 100 years?? But it cannot be around for 100 more years with just a slight renovation or by just fixing the moldy sinks. If that was the case, then there wouldn't be a proposal for a new campus. Don't you see that it is not really about US, but about our children's kids and their educational future. Don't you want them to be as technologically advanced as your neighbor's children? Don't you want them to be able to be on the same campus as their siblings or cousins? Do you ever drive through the town you went to high school or elementary in? Is it exactly the same? Finally, as far as teaching in a box...that is ridiculous. Have you ever been to Elm Grove or Fuentes? They are quaint, homey schools and there are not a bunch of windows. Do the windows at Buda (inside the classrooms) ever get opened anyways? Or do the blinds or curtains ever get drawn? If windows is that big of a deal, then talk to the architect, Carter, about adding some.

Anonymous said...

Why not put a smaller, multi-level building on the hill that would house the offices, art, music, Special Education, computer labs, etc.? It could act as a hub to pull the whole school together.

Anonymous said...

I moved my family to Buda for the schools. We "ran away" from Williams ... a big box school in AISD and let me tell you that school sucked. It was riddled with violence and perversion, and my kids were just k and 3rd. The Utopian idea that a big box is a world of harmony and learning is a joke. What you really get is the older kids calling the weaker kids pussies and then kicking thier ass.
The seperation of the younger and older is a great idea.
In my analysis this is a ploy for the administration to get some really cool office space. I see them in seersucker suits with thier feet up on thier desks admiring the historical plaque. Meanwhile, the kids are futher institutionalized in the teacher's shangri la world of modern education. A real teacher can teach ...no matter what. If the administation needs office space build a tin building on a cheap chunk of land with no trees. That will not even cost a half million.
Lastly, my neighborhood got rezoned to Elm Grove (a brand new big box school) and we CHOSE to stay at B.E.S..

Anonymous said...

I have something to say...
Everyone who has said they've moved here for the small town atmosphere, You, though were happy to have you, are part of the reason we are not a small town any longer. Therefore growth is inevitable and new schools and updates are necessary!
About UPHILL....
Please take a day to observe the many children braving the ELEMENTS without proper clothing or shoes,just to get to classes, such as art or music,or one of the many assemblies.
Please consider all aspects not just your personal emotions.
THANKS

Anonymous said...

"Please take a day to observe the many children braving the ELEMENTS without proper clothing or shoes,just to get to classes, such as art or music,or one of the many assemblies."

Why do you send your kids to school with no shoes? Bad parenting is bad parenting-the new school can never change that. And by the way, we do not live in the freaking rain forest or Antartica...come on get real!!

Anonymous said...

It is not the kids fault for bad parenting come on get real!!!! Are you a teacher there??? Don't think so.....

Anonymous said...

I am a teacher at BES and also want the schools to stay separate...I think the following post is an excellent idea...

"Why not put a smaller, multi-level building on the hill that would house the offices, art, music, Special Education, computer labs, etc.?"

"KEEP BUDA FUNKY!"

Anonymous said...

I understand that in theory it might sound like a great idea to "house" special ed, music, art, etc. in a nice little place not "too far" from the school. However what does that say to our children about those programs? They need to be an intragual part of our campus lifestyle, and of our Buda family. I hate the thought of isolating those students and teachers further. I feel like the school would benefit from consolidation because it will help solidify common goals and allow for greater commonalities across grade levels. The new school would be a welcome change in my opinion.

Anonymous said...

As I drove by the Buda Exit today and read the large and noticable billboard that reads, "Buda...Come grow with us!", I wondered how a population that is so against change could allow such a statement for all the 1-35 travelers to see. Growth is change for such a once small-town community. As I thought about all these changes, I began to feel sorry for WalMart. With people who enjoy small-town businesses and pledge such loyalty to the welfare of the community, I know I will never see any one of you in a WalMart. It will be nearly empty. That would take away from the mom and pop shops in downtown Buda, and ruin the feel of the small community. I mean, at WalMart you could actually get all that you wanted in 1 stop, just like the commercial says. Why do that when you can travel all around, up hills and down them to get what you need for 1 day! Think of the exercise you could get. And I am really perplexed as to why that HEB is so crowded. All of the Buda small-town old-school folks must be shopping at that grocery store on the Main Street. You wouldn't dare go to a real grocery store would you? I mean, if you don't want a real school why would you go to other one-stop shops? I don't get it.

Anonymous said...

Wal-Mart?!? Now there's a great analogy: a warehouse for cheap, mass-produced products as a model for the academic environment of Buda's children!

Anonymous said...

Because of this blog, the school board is going to scrap the idea of a consolidation. It works like this...a couple of members decided to throw this idea out there and see what kind of flack they would catch from it. Now that they see that a handful of people don't want it, then they will pull it off of the table and go with the remodel. It was a good try bringing it up at the end of the year but it is just not going to fly. Therefore, they are going to re-do the upper school, and half-ass it at that and this question won't come up again for another ten years. Good job on who started the blog, mission will be accomplished. As for those of you who chose this area because of the coziness and quaint friendly little BES, you are lying to yourself and all of these other people on the blog. You chose this area for socio-economic reasons. Kids are going to the schools on the East Side of HAYS CISD and telling other kids how they know what sex is in First Grade because they caught their Mom and her boyfriend doing it last night. Or they are telling their teacher that they get to go pick up their dad from jail today. "Why is your day in jail" teacher asks.."because he choked my mom" the kid says. You know that the parenting is poor at the newer schools away from downtown which makes for a little rougher environment. I would make the same decision as you but I would like my kids to go to a little nicer school.

Anonymous said...

The majority of voters who showed up to the meeting at the school did not want to see the schools changed to one campus on the lower level. I don't know if they were mostly parents or school district employees. But, that is way more than just a handful of people.

Anonymous said...

Wow, blogger #39 doesn't give the district much credit...Whatever is decided by the board, the administration or the voters, the work to BES will be done well and with integtrity.

Anonymous said...

You want blogger #39 to give the district credit but you have had two new schools in the district bring in portables on day one so that they had room for all of the kids that are going to arrive. Growth is an ongoing problem and the district has built schools that do not anticipate such a thing. As far as work being done well and with integrity. Building specs are not written that way, they are designed to find the company that will do it for the lowest price. The dissenting opinion to change will always have the most people at the school board meetings. If what I want is on the agenda and I agree with it, why show up?

Anonymous said...

I am a teacher at BES and I am for the new building. I have read all of the above and I agree and disagree with some of the comments. I think that the children will benefit the most from the change. Why not have brand new classrooms.hat you don't need a glade plug in just to keep from getting sick everyday?

The children at BES deserve the best...the best teachers, administration, supplies, books, classrooms, technology etc.

I also agree with wanting to feel more like a family. We are your children's second family. We are with them just as much as you are, if not more. I have taught at Buda for four years and still feel like I don't know all of the faculty like I would like. I still don't even know their names.

I would also love for the school to become one because as a teacher I love to see my students grow up. After second grade it pretty much feels like they go to a different campus.

I would also like to say that the administration can only do so much as far as trying to make "two campuses one."

If we are not going to get the new building I wish that the district would just decide to keep the schools Buda Primary and Buda Elementary like they were.

As far as the teachers not getting to vote....yes we did and the MAJORITY of the votes were for the new building, not because we felt pressured, because WE want what is BEST for the children.

I could go on forever but that would be repetitive and almost seem pointless.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad to have learned of this blog. My kids are still in preschool but they will be going to Buda. My husband went to Buda and we both want our kids to go to the uphill campus.

I hope the school district doesn't take that away from the kids. They can spend the money they would have spent on the new building and fix up both campuses. They can do some amazing things to the school and keep using the upper campus.

I will try to spread the word about this issue and this blog because I know that a lot of people don't know about this issue.

Anonymous said...

Decades of research has shown that smaller schools are more beneficial to the school children than are larger schools. According to the NAESP (National Association of Elementary School Principals), children in smaller schools have a better attitude about school, better attendance, view school positively, have higher reading scores, and lower high school drop out rates. Parents feel a stronger sense of community and are not intimidated from participating in the school, (which this blog clearly demonstrates). A small school is not a panacea and problems can occur. My children went to a small private school for 7 years, and the last year my daughter had a HORRIBLE teacher, and administration did nothing to manage her. I paid $700 a month to have my daughter cry everyday and hate school. She now LOVES school. THANK YOU BUDA! A school is only as good as the leaders, the teachers, and the parents that all guide the wonderful children. Individual attention, age appropriate activities, and a strong sense of community make Buda a great place to live. Growth is coming, but we must make it smart growth.
Funk it up!!

Anonymous said...

As a teacher at Buda, I would like to say thank you to the who commented right above me. What you said could not have been said better!!!!

Funk it up:) I like that:):)

Anonymous said...

The bottom line in this decision is what is best for our children. What environment will serve to help them acheive their maximum potential? Is being one big family teaching kids a sense of community? Is efficiency and consolidation of services providing more money for the classroom? Does one campus as opposed to two increase camaraderie, cohesiveness and effectiveness among staff?

I know each and every one of you believes that you are basing your opinion on what is best for the students, but I ask you to look deep down inside and see how much of your opinion is based on your own personal feelings.

If this does end up on the ballot, please don't vote against the entirety of what is best for our kids, including two new schools for our ever growing population.

Our children are our future. Do what is best for them.

Anonymous said...

I say GO FOR IT! I have two children at Buda and feel that the Buda ele school has to grow. The city is growing faster than many expected and we cant stop that. Yes, I like the split campuses but it doenst mean that is what is best for ALL involved. I dont want my kids in trailers learning and I dont want 30+ kids in their class because there is no room to grow. If you want to keep your child in some small town that is not growing then move, build your school and keep it however you like it.

Change is a part of life and that is what we teach our kids. If we dont grow with change and be positive what are we teaching the kids??? Everything in life has a positive and a negative...it just depends on how we accept them and deal with it.

I hope the school board listens to what is best for the kids....and the future of Buda school kids. We cant stop the growth but we CAN be pro-active and prepare for the future. Instead of waiting until no one wants to move here because our schools are overcrowded or run down.

Just like we tell our kids...we might not like it but we need to work together for what is right and giving them a better learning environment is RIGHT!

Anonymous said...

The people who have commented that smaller schools are better, that is great! However, we are not 2 small schools. Buda is 1 large school with 2 buildings. Smaller schools are better bc of the camaraderie and such. We don't even have the opportunity for that being separated. If you want two small schools great! Give us each the tools we need; principals, counselors, librarians, office staff, special ed, and much more.

jeff robinson said...

The school board has indicated that the 2 renovation plans for Buda Elementary are not to address growth, but to address updating or consolidating. BES attendance zone is not expected to grow. The consolidated plan would only increase capacity by 100 students or so.

Most of the items in the bond are good and do address growth. Two new schools in areas where there is immediate need, and new school buses etc. And most of us support all the items on the bond with the exception of the particular plan for Buda Elementary.

The school board wants to take advantage of this financial opportunity, and we think they should. The question is have they explored all the best possibilities for this particular campus.

The topography and the configuration of the existing buildings and playgrounds make this a complicated problem to solve. We think the issues need to be explored thoroughly.

The dialogue about this should be a good thing.

Anonymous said...

Wow! Some of you bloggers are acting like it's terrible at Buda now. That's crazy. I love my school. I love the students and staff. I love the two buildings. I think the parents and students love it, too.

A new building won't increase capcity. The blogger who wrote about concern for 30+ kids in a class and trailers must not know that we aren't adding any more room for additional students.

The teachers on our campus are terrific...uphill and downhill. They love their jobs and they are good at it. The parents and students love them, too. Our teachers don't really leave either. Let's improve what we need to improve and love the rest of it the way it is.

Anonymous said...

As a Hays County expatriate and proud alumnus of Buda Elementary (ca. 1979) prior to construction of the lower campus, I must confess my emotional attachment to the old school. I have many fond memories of the school, the old gym, and those oak trees around the cafeteria. But let's get real. We don't send our kids to school in 50-year-old, outdated, unsafe, school buses. Apart from the historical footnote, why would we want our kids to go to learn in an outdated and cramped old building? The taxpayers of HCISD can spend a lot of money to placate a handful of sentimentalists, or they can spend better money to make life easier for everyone and provide a modern campus and a high quality education for our future leaders. Give the Upper Campus to the city or historical society for a museum or something else, and let the HCISD build a truly usasble and efficient campus for the teachers and kids.

And what is with this "Keep Buda Funky" nonsense? Keep Austin Weird, let Buda be Buda, and drop the silly cliche'.

Anonymous said...

I agree! We don't want our kids to go to school in an outdated and cramped old building! Fix it up! Fix it up the right way! But, don't combine the campuses.

Anonymous said...

Fixing it the right way WILL be combining the two campuses...if the decision is to keep them seperate than like someone said before give us two of everything!!! Principals, librarians, special ed staff office staff etc.

Anonymous said...

Two of everything would be the best possible solution! As a parent and also an uphill faculty member, we have had that ideal situation before at Buda, making the two campuses Buda Primary and Buda Elementary. It worked like a charm! Two independent principals is the key, we could continue to share the librarian, counselor, and specials teachers like we have in the past. Thank you for allowing us to share our comments through this blog.

Anonymous said...

Many people keep talking about the benefits of consolidation, but that isn't really the plan being offered. The district isn't planning to build one large new school to consolidate all of the grades. The proposal is to sandwich a two-story building for grades 2-5 onto the already cramped existing campus downhill. The down hill rooms (which include the moldy rooms mentioned on this site) will still exist and there isn't much more unity to the design than there is now. Two-story schools can be very noisy- imagine the sound of 80+ 5th graders walking downstairs 4-5 times a day for specials, recess, assemblies, lunch, etc. It seems that the additional land that Buda will share with the city (so the students can have some kind of a playground) is in a flood plain. Isn't there even some history of the rooms on that campus flooding before?

Just seems, with some more thought, there have got to be some better options.

Anonymous said...

Let me start by saying that I am a resident of Buda, pay real estate taxes, support the school district as best I can and have never had children, nor will ever have children in this school district. I have no emotional attachment to any school. Once a building is no longer an efficient and effective asset, it should be replaced, removed or remodeled to accomplish the original goals. To make some sort of heart tugging attachment to a building is not an effective use of tax dollars. The decision concerning the upper and lower campus should not be based upon emotion and we must recognize that the decisions we make now, will have a significant impact on the future students and tax payers of this district.

If we can believe the growth numbers, by 2015, Elm Grove and Buda Elementary are expected to have a total of 2,000 students. It is one thing to believe that the upper and lower campus can handle 80% of capacity as it does today, it is quite another to imagine that the school could operate at 135% of capacity. I wonder if the heart tugging attachment would still be there when students are crowded into aging facilities. Additionally, if the $3 million we spend today does not extend the useful life of the upper campus beyond 10 years, it is easy to take the next step that we might finally have to replace both Buda Elementary buildings. Assuming 5% inflation factor on construction costs, to replace Buda Elementary and add an additional school to cover future growth, we would be looking at spending approximately $42 million and with a 5% interest rate and 20 year payout stream, the total cost of these two schools is $70 million.

However, if we simply fix today's problem with the $10 million remodel and build the additional elementary school in 2015 the total outlay of funds is approximately $48 million. Because we do one project now and the other in 10 years or when needed, we are able to spread the debt service over 30 years rather than 20. Reducing the impact on our future tax payers. Is Buda that funky that it can afford $22 million?

Anonymous said...

Well, that's quite a financial picture that was painted. I am very much in favor of leaving Buda Elementary as a split campus. Certainly the district can make the necessary repairs/renovations without spending $10 million. Even if they had to spend $10 million we could still leave the split campus. It doesn't have to be all downhill. Either way we're not adding capacity, right? So, we'll need a new school around here eventually anyway.

Anonymous said...

I JUST WANT TO SAY THAT WE NEVER HAD THESE PROBLEMS OF BUDA BEING "FUNKY" OR NOT UNTIL SO MANY PEOPLE MOVED IN TO ARE NICE LITTLE TOWN. I CAN REMEMBER A TOWN OF ONLY A LITTLE OVER TWO HUNDRED PEOPLE, AND WE NEVER HAD THESE KIND OF PROBLEMS. FIRST THEY TAKE AWAY OUR SCHOOL FLAG, NOW THEY WANT TO TAKE AWAY A PART OF BUDA. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. IF YOU DON'T LIKE WHAT BUDA HAS TO OFFER........GO AWAY!!!

Anonymous said...

Teaching at Buda Elementary was the neatest and best teaching experience that I ever had in my career because I was able to use the downtown district of Buda to teach Kindergarten units. I took my class to the grocery store and gave them a quarter when I taught money and they had to figure out what they could buy...the owners worked with me. I took them to the post office to mail their Valentine cards that they made for their parents, and we studied community helpers. I took them to the Buda Public Library for a story when we learned about the library and the programs they offered for the summer reading program. I took them to the fire station in Oct. for a hands on learning experience during Fire Prevention week. I took them to the city park for a picnic at the end of school. At no other time during my 26 years of teaching could I walk with my class on so many learning field trips because of the closeness and small town charm of the Buda. It would be sad to see all of those potential learning experiences vanish for so many children. The schools do not have the money to pay for buses for field trips now. Also, the walk was good exercise for all of us. We need more schools like Buda Elementary. Additionally as a Grandmother, I am glad that my grandchildren got to experience Buda Elementary.

Anonymous said...

Teaching at Buda Elementary was the neatest and best teaching experience that I had in my career because I was able to use the downtown to teach Kindergarten units. I took my class to the grocery store and gave them a quarter when I taught money, and they had to figure out what they could buy...the owners worked with me. I took them to the post office to mail their Valentine cards that they made for their parents when we studied community helpers. I took them to the Buda Public Library for a story when we studied the library and the programs that they offered for the summer reading program. I took them to the fire station in October for a hands on learning experience during Fire Prevention week. I took them to the city park for a picnic at the end of school. At no other time during my 26 years of teaching could I walk with my class on so many learning field trips due to the closeness and small town charm of the Buda. It would be sad to see all of those potential learning experiences vanish for so many children. The schools today do not have the money to pay for buses for field trips, and the walk around town was good exercise for all of us. We need more schools like Buda Elementary, and I am so glad my grandchildren got to experience Buda Elementary.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Relating to the last bloggers wonderful field trips, in case people are not aware she was a Kinder teacher. Well Kinder is housed on the lower campus and look at all she was able to do! It sounds like being on the lower campus would not be so bad for a school!

Anonymous said...

I am appalled at the poor grammar and ignorance in these messages--many of them from teachers!!I am a teacher in the district as well. If you can't write an intelligent and coherent message how can you be a teacher -- how did you obtain a college degree?
One of the last comments was about the teacher who taught kindergarten -- if you have not lived here a long time you might not understand that ALL grades were on the upper campus for decades. The lower campus was built in the seventies and the primary grades sent downhill.
For the record -- keep the uphill campus. My three children adored it.

Anonymous said...

If you are going to talk crap about the teachers at Buda then get your kids out of there!!! Not many teachers sit and make sure that every word is spelled correctly or every sentence has "proper grammar". Get over yourself!!!

Anonymous said...

The new Science Hall Elementary in Kyle cost $11 million and is all new, with a capacity of 700 or more. The plan for BES is to create a 2 story building like Science Hall but only for use by the 3rd through 5th graders. The Pre K through 2nd graders will be in the existing older downhill buildings, which were built in the early '80's. If the plan is suppose to upgrade BES to be like the newer schools, aren't there concerns about these outdated buildings? If we are really comparing the plan to Science Hall shouldn't it be all new? I wonder if there has been any consideration of tearing down the whole lower campus and building a completely new school. I wonder how the gray tar roof will look up against the new addition.

Anonymous said...

Isn't most of the land on the lower campus in a floodplain? Shouldn't there be more questions about this? It would be pretty difficult trying to evacuate a whole school from that site.

Anonymous said...

Not that it really matters, but the lower campus was built in the 1980's, not the 1970's after numerous additions to the upper campus. Prior to that, it was a big field used by youth baseball in the Buda area and occasionally by Mr. Tingle's physical education classes (Anyone remember him?). Prior to that, it was the football field for Buda High. My Vocational Agriculture class at Hays High built assembled the geodesic dome jungle gym on the upper campus playground in about 1984. Ah, memories.

Anonymous said...

That should read, "Not that it really matters but the lower campus was built in the 1980's after numerous additions to the upper campus, not the 1970's."

Furthermore, I don't know if the lower campus is in the flood plain by USGS definitions, but in the 30+ years I lived around Buda, that area never once came close to flooding.

Anonymous said...

By the way they are going to renovate all the downhill campus!!!! So yes it will all be new except for the frame

Anonymous said...

So they are going to have to spend $10 million to totally renovate something that has only been there 20 years?

Anonymous said...

They are going to add to the school for grades 2-5 and rebuild the lower campus to update it because it is 2006 and I don't know of any schools in our district besides us who have to use chalkboards!!! It is sad when teachers have to purchase shower boards for there classrooms.

Anonymous said...

there????

Anonymous said...

OH MY GOODNESS!!!! CHALKBOARDS?!?!?!? How did children ever learn before dry erase boards were invented?

Oh, the humanity!

Anonymous said...

If you're going to spend $10 million to upgrade, consider upgrading the upper campus. It's certainly more charming.

Anonymous said...

oh so sorry proper grammer and spelling their opppssssssss! ha ha

Anonymous said...

charming maybe more friendly not

Anonymous said...

http://www.nwrel.org/nwedu/winter_00/1.html

This is a good website focusing on the latest research on some of the issues discussed within this blog.

Anonymous said...

http://www.savingsbydesign.com/awards-2006/index.html

And check out Santa Rita Elementary School – Los Altos on the website above.

I would love to send my children to a school like that. I would love to work in a place like that. Just think of what could be accomplished at the old Buda Elementary campus with a little more time to think through the details. Instead of rushing through a vote on this, please encourage the school board to give this some more thought.

Anonymous said...

That's a great idea, using the old campus uphill and adding modern architecture to the existing buildings using green architecture.

We need an alternative elementary school as a showcase for our great school system.

Anonymous said...

Here are just a few EDUCATIONAL reasons why I feel the two campuses should become one:

1. Downhill GT students will not lose as much transition time going uphill. (plus we might be able to work with the teacher more too!)
2. Special ed students can receive the most appropriate services they deserve
3. Greater access to technology
4. Opportunities for peer reading/mentoring
5. Greater chance of vertical collaboration
6. The couselor, nurse, aides, principals will have greater access to students and teachers

These are just a FEW reasons. I am sure that others can add to my list and please feel free to do so. I understand the hesitation in moving to one school, but we must think of the educational opportunites that we are missing if we do not decide to consolidate. If others can list educational benefits for splitting a school, I would gladly read with an open mind.

Anonymous said...

I thank my neighbors for telling me about this plan to build a new school. I'm surprised that I didn't know about it already because I am involved in what goes on at my children's school. I don't understand why all of this has to be done over the summer when it is much harder to keep informed.

My family chose this school. We did not choose any of the other "big box" schools because we don't want our children taught in that environment. I know that some might think it is better and provides more opportunities. But, we don't think so.

I will vote for the three million dollar renovations but not the ten million dollar renovation.

Anonymous said...

As a community member and tax payer, I would not vote for a 10 million dollar bond for a new school on the downhill campus. If the schools need rennovating, then it seems that 3 million should do some wonderful things.Many people in my neighborhood feel the same.If there are teachers that are so unhappy, then they should definitely look elsewhere for employment. The district should do the necessary upgrades and allow for diversity in the system by letting Buda be unique.

Anonymous said...

It makes me so sad to think that there are some who feel that a new school would make Buda less "unique." We have too many wonderful parents, students, and happy faculty members to ever let Buda become anything but a unique, welcoming environment.

Anonymous said...

The new Wal-Mart on Loop 4 is supposed to be really unique, too. It's supposed to have a more small town feel to it. Wal-Mart is still Wal-Mart. It's still a "big box" store.

Anonymous said...

I like the WalMart comparisons bc they are so true. It has nothing to do with the value of the products. It is a productivity issue. People go to WalMart to get what they need and fast. Instead of going numerous places to get what you need, you only have to go to 1. Thus you can spend your extra time doing the really important things.This would include extra time with your children! With a combined school we could be so much more productive. Without all the travel time, and lack of resources because they are located on the opposite campus we could get much more done. We would have more time with your children in a learning environment! I totally agree with blogger who has EDUCATIONAL reasons for combining and we are still waiting for educational reasons to keep Buda separate. That is the main purpose of a school you know! Uniqueness is not on anyone's mission statement that I know of!

Anonymous said...

I have tried to avoid posting on this site. But, the previous poster (I fear this is a teacher) does not seem very accepting of the fact that there are many different reasons for the varied opinions expressed on this blog. The opinions expressed here are related to education, history, finances, values, consistency, etc. There are many teachers and parents opposed to this plan. The fact that so many teachers and parents are opposed should demonstrate that more consideration is necessary if we are going to build a whole new school. Someone posted a list of reasons to support a new building. That is one side of this argument. I would venture to say that these services are currently being rendered in an extraordinary way. Otherwise there would not be such an outcry from parents and teachers who are opposed to this plan. Certainly, parents would want something done if their special ed, GT or Buda Buddy were not receiving excellent services now. This is sounding more and more like an administrative issue.

Hopefully, the school board will not be like the previous poster. Hopefully, they will not simply dismiss the opinions of the many people who have voiced their concerns about this 10 million dollar plan.

Anonymous said...

It is not an administrative issue. It is simply a matter of time lost from transition up a hill and down a hill. Teachers lose time working with all of our children.

Anonymous said...

"There are many teachers and parents opposed to this plan."


I have not counted, but a brief perusal of this blog has not very many teachers opposed to a new school and a handful of vocal sentimentalists who want their kids to attend school at the "old schoolhouse" for the sake of nostalgia. The fact of the matter is that a split Buda campus does not provide a consistent education for all students at the school and creates an unecessary burden for the teachers when they have to walk up and down the hill. The students of the community deserve better. Brown v. The Board of Education told us 40 years ago that separate cannot be equal.

As far as the WalMart comparison goes... I am no big fan of WalMart, but at least their motives are clear. They want to make money. The real hypocrites here are those folks who move to Buda because of its quaint feel and small town charm, yet they take offense to those other folks who move in and cause the growing pains.

Folks, Buda is changing. There is no shame in outgrowing a building.

jeff robinson said...

The general educational benefits to the separated campuses is well documented in research about smaller schools. Someone previously commented with statistics from the National Association of Elementary School Principals. The list of topics in which research shows that smaller schools are advantageous include: Academic Achievement, Student Attitudes, Social Behavior, Extracurricular Participation, Attendance, Belongingness/Alienation, Self-Concept, Interpersonal Relations. There is less exposure to bullying or the intimidations of the bigger kids behaviors. In addition to the research. I think parents have a common sense hunch that the environment of the separated campuses is warm, safe and comfortable because of great staff, but also because the schools are small.

I am confident BES will be an excellent school whether consolidated or divided. There are pros and cons. The issue of how to renovate BES is complicated and whether or not it is consolidated is just one aspect. One way or another, the topography has to be dealt with. And if the school remains separated it will require some walking up the hill.

In addition to the smaller school advantages, a list of concerns are:
• The density of the consolidate plan- Too many kids, too little space.
• Room for parking and traffic- I’m guessing there will be maybe 16 buses and 350 or more cars dropping kids off. 967 has 5000 cars traveling on it per day and is growing. I predict long lines of cars, going both directions, blocking the road at rush hour.
• The flood plain- Is the old school above the flood plain? Can it be legally be renovated? Is it a good idea to invest $10 million to build in a flood plain?
• Playgrounds and green space- There are 5 separated playgrounds spread out across the existing campuses. The new plan will clump them all together further down into the flood plain. The existing building setup is spread out with tree filled courtyards and lots of exposure to fresh air and light. All this adds to a more varied and healthier environment.
• Is this financially the best way to spend the money? If we must build new, should we salvage the lower campus or could we get a completely new school, like Science Hall? If it is decided not to build new, wouldn’t we have ample funds for meeting the existing renovation needs including wiring for technology, updated bathrooms, sinks, electrical and plumbing? Maybe even more, like terracing the hill so it wasn’t such an obstacle?
• The historical campus, the Kunkel Room- Didn’t we just invest in renovating this Kunkel Room? Aren’t we wasting valuable buildings and space by decommissioning the upper campus?
• The plans for the upper campus- Lots of rumors are floating around about what would happen to the upper campus. Shouldn’t the impact on Old Town Buda, as well as Buda at large be part of the discussion? The upper campus buildings and green space are used everyday by other community interest including; the local churches; baseball, soccer and karate practice; the after school programs; the boys scouts; summer theater camps; and general spill off of all of Buda park events, parades and festivals.

The impact of the decision on how to renovate BES is complex and all avenues should be explored.

Anonymous said...

16 buses wow what school are you going to?

Anonymous said...

OK. 8 buses?

Anonymous said...

How do you know that some of these comments are from "teachers"? I am sure that most of these are not teachers. I really don't think that teachers would say some of the stuff that has been said. This is the perfect opportunity for parents to comment and seem like it is teachers or it could be the other way around. I think this blog has gotten way otta hand. Just let people vote and BE DONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I agree with many of the concepts of the "small school" research. However it is my understanding that some of that research includes smaller class sizes. I would ask a kinder or 5th grade teacher if they feel like their classroom size is any smaller with the split schools. I know that many would welcome smaller classrooms, but a split school does not create such an environment.

We are spending double the money to keep both campuses running. I am thinking that money could go to hiring aides which would in fact create a smaller classroom by spliting the ratio of students to teachers. Just a thought.

Anonymous said...

Here is a teacher saying, "Please renovate. Please take the time to do it right."

Anonymous said...

I am a teacher as well...rennovations over re-build seems the best route to go at this point. Too many questions/problems with housing everyone downhill.

Anonymous said...

A few weeks ago The Free Press printed these comments:

The school board will consider and possibly vote on the issue at a specially called school board meeting on August 1, said Hays CISD Chief Information Officer Julie Crimmins.

"We encourage public input on all issues regarding the school district," Crimmins said. "We'd love to hear from the community at that time."

Now that meeting has been closed to the public. Does anyone know why?

Anonymous said...

interesting that there is no public forum at the next school board meeting

Anonymous said...

Thank goodness it won't be one campus now lets just hope that uphill will be a little more pleasent so we will feel comfortable and welcome when we go to see our children. I never felt that way when I would visit downhill.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.