The Northwest ISD Board of Trustees voted Monday to call a $745.7 million bond election for the May 1 General Election.
The bond package includes funds to build three new schools and replace three schools, for additions and renovations at Northwest High School, to address aging facilities, to add accessibility to elementary playgrounds and for new technology devices, according to a news release from the district. It would not change the tax rate.
In November, voters soundly rejected a $986 million bond package. After that failed, the district conducted a survey of potential voters, gathered stakeholder feedback and held a series of Long Range Planning Commitee meetings to identify the most urgent projects needed to address district growth and aging facilities. The biggest difference between that bond package and this one is that the previous one called for one additional new school, and other expenses were cut out of the bond.
Phyllis Grissom, a member of the LRPC, told the board that the committee included projects to grant equity across the district, provide accessibility for all students, maintain fiscal responsibility, improve efficiency, promote safety and protect the investment in current facilities and equipment.
LRPC member Joe Washam explained that state law requires school bonds to be presented across several propositions based on different criteria. For Northwest ISD, the proposed projects would be presented as four separate propositions, according to the district. He outlined that Proposition A includes $714.3 million for new facilities, additions and land to address growth; capital improvements and renovations needed for current facilities; special education updates and accessibility updates to provide equity and meet evolving needs; and technology to provide safety and security updates.
“This time around, we knew we just needed to stick to the simple needs of the students — school buildings, which take up a huge chunk of Prop A, and things that you need with those school buildings,” he said.
At $8.1 million, Proposition B addresses renovations needed at stadiums, including the district’s track and field complex, known as Texan Stadium, and Proposition C contains $5.7 million for “other recreational facilities,” including tennis courts and a football field for the proposed seventh middle school. Proposition D includes $19.4 million to purchase new technology devices for students and teachers as the district grows and previous devices become obsolete. Grissom told trustees the committee hopes their recommendation hits the “sweet spot” of what the district needs and what taxpayers will support.
“There is distrust and criticism that our society, I think, has in general about government and institutions, but that also exists in our own neighborhood,” she told the board. “We want to help people really see that we’re trying to be transparent, we want to engage them in this process, and we’re trying to do what’s best for our whole community.”
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