DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Dallas voters will be deciding on a major bond proposal by Dallas ISD on Tuesday, Nov. 3.
If passed, the $3.7 billion bond package would be the largest ever in state history.
The bond would fund a vast array of improvements for the district from safety and security upgrades, to new technology, as well as existing building renovations, 10 new facilities and 14 replacement schools.
School Board Trustee Miguel Solis, says the bond has an eye-opening price tag, but that the price could be much higher.
“Back in 2018, we did a study that showed us were we able to take care of every building in every possible way we could, that $6 billion would be what it would take,” Solis says.
“But the reason we did a $3.7 billion bond, is because we knew that by doing that, we could keep taxpayers taxes exactly the same.”
He says despite what he calls misleading wording on the ballot which says, “THIS IS A PROPERTY TAX INCREASE,” taxpayers will not be paying more if the bond is approved. He says the district’s existing tax rate of $0.2420 per $100 of assessed property value would stay the same.
“Despite the language on the ballot, this is not a property tax increase,” Solis says. “On November 3rd you are paying 24 pennies to DISD in property taxes and on November 4th, regardless of whether it passes or fails, you will still be paying 24 pennies.”
Safety and security upgrades would total more than $114 million of the bonds total and include new surveillance cameras and technologies like keyless entry, weapon detection, video doorbells and a “Security/Emergency Ops Center” that would serve two functions. It would allow for both real time viewing and response to incidents daily, but also be the centralized operations point for the district in an emergency.
The bond also allows for more than $1.1 billion towards new and replacement facilities.
The 14 replacement schools include Atwell Academy, Hall Elementary School, Peabody Elementary School, Dallas Environmental Science Academy, Longfellow Middle School, Marcus Elementary School, DeGolyer Elementary School, Geneva Heights Elementary School, Hexter Elementary School, Reilly Elementary School, Kiest Elementary School, Urban Park Elementary School, JQ Adams Elementary School and Pease Elementary School.
The new facilities would include four Career Institutes, a Downtown Montessori School for Pre-K through 12th grade students, a Pre-K through 12th grade Midtown Project, a Pre-K through 8th grade STEM campus near the medical district, a Pre-K through 8th grade Montessori in Pleasant Grove, a Transformation School and a new Performing Arts Center.
There would also be more than $1.9 billion allocated to renovations and modernizations of existing campuses and facilities.
Proposed renovations include replacing aging HVAC systems, fire alarm systems, plumbing, electrical and roofs. Modernizations included in the bond detail new finishes, new classroom features like LED lighting with controls, and furniture replacement in classrooms, collaboration spaces and administrative areas.
The renovations would also improve the exterior of multiple campuses such as facades, sidewalks, exterior lighting, landscaping, and signage.
More than $124 million of the bond package would be used towards improved athletic facilities.
The improvement would convert high school fields to turf allowing for use year-round, upgrade existing campus athletic areas like locker rooms to meet current standards and repair existing campus tracks.
It would also allow for the repair and maintenance of existing natatoriums including the facilities at Alamo, Lisbon, Loos, Pleasant Grove, Sprague and White Rock.
The bond also allows for money allocated to career technical education including more than $30 million for fine arts equipment and infrastructure which would allow for funding of new musical instruments, kiln replacement, new auditorium rigging and new auditorium curtains.
“I think the most important thing for voters to realize is we have far too many kids in our city who do not benefit from the high-quality facilities that many of our student’s do,” Solis says.
“So we think that voters are going to bet on Dallas ISD and ensure that every kid, regardless of circumstances, has a facility that they can be proud of every time they walk into that school.”
MORE FROM CBSDFW
- 2 East Texas Children Missing After Being Ordered Into Family And Protective Services Custody, May Be In Dallas Area
- Houston Drive-Thru Votes Will Count: Federal Judge Rejects GOP Effort To Toss Out 127K Votes
- With ‘Passions Running High’ Dallas County Political Party Leaders Make Bi-Partisan Statement On Election