Houston ISD education board to discuss renovation bond
Members of the Houston Independent School District education board have started a discussion on approving a $1.89 billion bond that would renovate or rebuild 42 of the district’s aging schools, including 24 high schools.
A decision must be made by August about whether to put the recommended bond package on the Nov. 6 ballot.
The proposal already has been presented to the Board of Education, according to information released by the district this week. The total tax rate would likely be raised over four years, starting with a 2-cent raise in 2014, which would result in an extra $29 in taxes for the owner of a home assessed at $200,000. By 2017, the tax rate would be 6.85 cents, raising the average tax bill by $99 a year, or $8.25 per month.
According to the $1.67 billion proposal, $225 million will be spent on projects that benefit students in all of the district’s 279 schools, including $100 million for technology upgrades, $42.7 million to improve athletic facilities, $35 million for renovations to middle school restrooms, $27 million in safety and security improvements and $20 million for land acquisition. There would, however, be a heavy focus on the city’s high schools, most of which were built 50 years ago and, according to the district, no longer meet the needs of today’s students.
“Houston’s high schools should be places of pride for every neighborhood and, more importantly, the students they serve,” Superintendent Terry Grier said. “Just like the baby boomers of the 1950s, our children today deserve modern campuses that will bring real value to their neighborhoods for the 50 years to come.”
Some of the district’s historic neighborhood schools would be rebuilt with proceeds from the bond package, others would be renovated, and a few of the district’s prestigious specialty magnet schools, including the nationally recognized High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, will have new campuses built. HSPVA would be built on district-owned land at 1300 Capitol, near the Theater District.
About $577 million would pay to replace eight high schools, including Furr, HSPVA, Lee, Madison, Sharpstown, Sterling, Booker T. Washington and Yates; $27 million will be used to build two new early college high schools, the North Early College and the South Early College; and $126 million would be used to replace Askew, Condit, Kelso, MacGregor and Parker elementary schools.
An estimated $121 million would go toward converting four of the district’s elementary schools to campuses that would include kindergarteners to eighth graders, and $74 million would replace Dowling Middle School and expand Grady Middle School.
For more information, visit the district’s website at www.houstonisd.org.
Local Advertising by PaperG