Houston ISD seeks voter support on $4.4 billion bond proposal

Alex Bozarjian Image
Saturday, June 1, 2024
Houston ISD seeks voter support on $4.4 billion bond proposal
Houston ISD is asking for voter support on a whopping $4.4 billion bond proposal.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Houston ISD is asking for voter support on a whopping $4.4 billion bond proposal.

This is the district's largest money ask ever, but HISD says it won't come with a tax increase.

The district will use proceeds from a future bond election to replenish its general fund for money it uses to fund the bond.

Portable buildings are an HISD commonplace meant to be temporary, but the ones at Crane Elementary have been in use for 25 years.

Former HISD board president, Judith Cruz, told ABC13 that these buildings have been causing issues.

"The amount of maintenance that is required, I mean, they have to cancel tutoring sometimes because there's leaks," Cruz said.

She's now co-chairing a community advisory committee that will seek input on the district's bond proposal which totals a whopping $4.4 billion.

HISD has not had a bond since 2012.

"This isn't just all us saying, 'OK this plan we accept it as is,' we want some thoughtful feedback so we can make sure the administration is thoughtful in what they are proposing," Cruz said.

The plan is to invest a little over $2 billion into rebuilding or renovating middle and elementary schools.

Another $1.35 billion would go towards updating HVAC systems, securing campuses, and testing water and air quality.

The rest would be funneled into early childhood education, technology, and career training.

"If you actually ask kids how their school year is going, they'll say it's not well, and it's not because of their facilities, it's because of the Miles administration. It is because of the takeover, it's because of the scorched earth policies, and our teachers are suffering as well as our school leaders," Tracey Riley said.

Riley has two elementary school-aged students in the district.

She is one of many voicing their disapproval of Superintendent Mike Miles and HISD's board of managers, who replaced the district's superintendent and elected school board in June 2023.

"As much as it pains me to see Houston students go another year without a bond, we truly don't have the trust. I agree with the sentiment, "no trust, no bond," Riley said.

Data released by Children At Risk shows that 55% of Houston-area schools scored lower on the nonprofit's annual rankings in 2023 than in 2022.

CEO Dr. Bob Sanborn said children only stand to gain from this proposal passing because it'll make improvements that will outlive the current administration.

"If we want that new superintendent and that new board to have the best chance at success, we are probably going to have to pass this bond issue," Sanborn said.

"I think in the end it is going to pass, but a lot more people are going to vote against it than they have in the past," Sanborn added.

The next meeting of the state of HISD facilities and the proposed bond investment will occur online Saturday from 10 to 11 a.m.

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