HISD to review bond referendum to rebuild older schools

July 10, 2012 5:10:23 AM PDT
The HISD board of education meets this morning to discuss details of a bond referendum to replace or repair older, out-of-date schools in neighborhoods across the district. But the cost, nearly $2 billion, has some people asking if voters would ever go for it.

This bond proposal could affect your child's current or future school, your home's value, and of course, your property taxes.

At least 279 schools would be affected if voters approve the proposal at the polls in November. Part of the project would tear down eight area schools, including Lee, Yates, Sharpstown, The High School for the Performing and Visual Arts and four more schools that consultants hired by the board say are in unacceptable condition.

Houston schools are eight years older than the national average. The cost is $1.89 billion. That's about $100 added to the average homeowner's tax bill. It would also enhance schools like Bellaire and Lamar, which been operating for years with inadequate facilities that were meant to be temporary.

HISD board members argue home values would increase with newer schools, but just five years ago voters barely supported a bond half its size.

"In an economy that's soft, smaller bond issue would have a higher chance of passing," said former Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector Paul Bettencourt.

The board meets at 8am. It has until August to decide whether or not to seek approval from voters on November 6.


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