New HISD school bond proposal will benefit all
Good news for HISD students, teachers, and parents alike! Last Tuesday night, board members voted nearly unanimously to add a historic bond proposal to the general election ballot in November. The $1.89 billion package is the largest in Texas history, and for good reason: HISD’s crumbling infrastructure is in need of some major work. The bond would allow for technology upgrades in all area schools, in addition to major improvements to almost 40 campuses. Proponents of the bond say that improved facilities are a good way to help both students and teachers feel more comfortable and better prepared to participate in a learning environment. Opponents of the bill argue that children are loud and unkempt.
Board President Mike Lunceford underscored the desperate conditions faced by many of the aging campuses: “There are school buildings in Houston that are not going to last another four years.” And he isn’t exaggerating: as reported by the Chronicle, “…students, parents and principals described the Dickensian squalor of their schools' buildings and grounds. Among the highlights: air-conditioning failures galore; rats at Madison High School; and seeping sewage at Fur.”
If you happen to hold the radical belief that teachers and students deserve better than to spend the better part of their day suffering in the criminal underbelly of the Victorian era—or think that perhaps air conditioning in the one-hundred degree Texas summers and functioning indoor plumbing are both conducive to a good learning environment—you could be well served by voting yes in the upcoming bond election.
An outline of the proposal is below: full details of the improvements can be found here.
Provide new campuses for 20 high schools:
· High School for the Performing and Visual Arts
· North Early College
· Sam Houston
· South Early College
Partially replace four high schools:
· Young Men's College Prep Academy
· Young Women's College Prep Academy
Renovate four high schools:
· Sharpstown International
Convert five elementary schools into K-8 campuses:
· Garden Oaks Montessori
· Mandarin Chinese Language Immersion School at Gordon
· Pilgrim Academy
· Wharton Dual Language School
· Wilson Montessori
Build three new elementary school campuses:
· Relief school on the west side
Replace/complete two new middle school campuses:
· Grady (new addition to complete new campus)
· Dowling (new campus)
In addition, the proposed measure would include funds that would improve conditions for students in all HISD schools. Those proposals include:
· $100 million for district-wide technology improvements
· $42.7 million to replace regional field houses and improve athletic facilities
· $35 million to renovate middle school restrooms
· $17.3 million for district-wide safety and security improvements
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