If OKed, HISD bond would be carried out over years

September 26, 2012 5:47:39 PM PDT
It's your voice, your vote and this election your school and your wallet, too. Houston schools are asking for nearly $2 billion to build dozens of new schools. But a vote in November doesn't mean a new school soon.

In 2007 HISD, voters approved an $805 million bond. Since then, the district built 24 new schools.

The first opened in 2009. A dozen new schools opened in 2011 and the last one won't be complete according to the district until 2014.

The point is this takes a long time.

It opened last year, but Wednesday was dedication day at the brand new Roosevelt Elementary School. Built from the ground up to replace an old school, the new Roosevelt is full of new classrooms, added space and technology upgrades.

"My favorite part is the smart boards," fifth grade student Christian Acosta said.

"And you have them in all the classrooms now?" we asked him.

"Every classroom," he said.

"Did you have that before?"

"Now, we had to write on dry-erase boards."

Roosevelt is one of nearly two dozen brand new schools HISD built with the money voters approved in 2007.

"This is the greatest new school ever," Acosta said.

Who could say it better than Acosta? This school was worth waiting for. For HISD, it was a promise made years ago and a promise kept today.

But to some parents it's just taken too long. The vote was back in 2007 and just dedicated Wednesday.

"They just started here at Worthing," HISD parent Sandra Joseph Taylor said.

Taylor is a Worthing High School parent. She wonders why expansion plans approved as part of that 2007 bond are just getting underway now.

"This is part of the plan," HISD Spokesman Jason Spencer said.

HISD said it would take this long and says the new bond could take even longer -- until 2020.

"We need to roll this out over time, in the fastest manner possible because these are schools that have significant, immediate needs," Spencer said.

It would be too much money to borrow at once, too many plans to create at once, too much construction to manage all at the same time, so don't think a November vote brings new schools right away.

While it frustrates some parents, the district says it just has to stretch it out.

"I can't tell them how quickly to spend it, but we would like to know what they are doing, when is it our timing, why are we last on the list?" Taylor said.

HISD is looking to rebuild or renovate 38 schools if the new bond passes. No ground will be broken until 2014, at the earliest and the district says it does not have a specific schedule nor an order of which school goes first or last.

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