This Election Day, school bond measures are on the ballot for many communities across Texas. More than 50 school districts are asking voters to approve around $8 billion in bonds. More than $1 billion is for just one school district, Austin ISD. Spring Branch ISD in Harris County is asking for about $900 million.
Joe Smith, a retired superintendent from East Texas who now runs the website Texas ISD, says Texas schools are growing quickly and more bonds would help to build new facilities.
School districts typically ask for bonds for two reasons – either there are more students enrolling or the school is seeking aid to replace facility damages. Smith says many school districts split their bonds in two to give voters more options.
So are the bonds likely to pass this time?
“I hate to guess, but I will,” Smith says. “It’s two ways to look at the passage rate. You can look at what percentage of the school districts will have a proposition that passes, or you can look at what the percentage of the dollar value is.”
He says in the last bond elections in May, 68% of the school districts passed a proposition and 75% of the dollar value was passed.
“I would say somewhere between 60 and 70 percent will pass on the dollar basis,” Smith says about the current bond elections.
He says voters know what the needs are in their communities. “The big issue is not what they’re going to do with the money, it’s what you’ve done with the last money they gave you,” he says.
Written by Dani Matias.