Off the Kuff Rotating Header Image

Bonds, school bonds

Another thing that may be on your ballot this year.

Houston ISD Superintendent Terry Grier said Thursday it was time to start discussing a possible bond referendum to update the district’s aging campuses.

In his annual state of the schools speech, Grier said the Houston Independent School District had completed many of the projects in the 2007 bond package but still has building needs, particularly at the high school level.

Grier did not specifically mention a bond election before the crowd of about 2,000, but said in a follow-up interview that the idea needed to be discussed.

The school board could take a key step next Thursday. Board president Mike Lunceford said the meeting agenda includes an item asking trustees to approve a study of the district’s building needs.

Lunceford said it’s possible the district could place a referendum on the ballot as soon as November.

“Bond costs are the lowest they’ve ever been, but you still have to raise taxes to pay for it,” said Lunceford. “We have to really look at the state of the schools.”

The interest rate argument is absolutely correct, and I’m sure HISD has facility needs, even after the 2007 referendum. Putting a couple hundred million bucks into construction projects would be nice for the local economy as well. But as Campos notes, the 2007 election was needlessly close thanks to communication issues, among other things. HISD does need to do a better job explaining what is needed and what they intend to do about it, and there’s not a whole lot of time for that. I think they can get this passed anyway, but I’d hate to roll the dice with what should be a sure thing.

Related Posts:

2 Comments

  1. Turner J. Wright says:

    I won’t support any Bond referendum if I’m not convinced the money will be used responsibly and our Board members were not bought!

    The Harris County AFL-CIO and Harris County Building Trades was opposed to the 2007 Bond proposal, because HISD had 15 years of history allowing unscrupulous contractors, who utilize unskilled laborers, build our schools. I investigated many of the school construction projects that were under construction at the time and documented a systemic problem of code violations, shoddy work, and unskilled workers. HISD ignored the documentation we gave them, as well, as the recommendations we proposed that would have updated the District’s prevailing wages to the current market wages at the time, provide a path to a bona fide Apprenticeship program for graduation students who were not going to college, and provide much needed funding for the District’s Career And Technical Education program. With persistent public pressure, HISD finally caved and signed an agreement with the Harris County Building Trades agreeing to those recommendations. Only then, did we offer support for the Bond proposal and instructed our members to vote YES for it. As you know, it barely passed by only 1%–and, yes, we take credit for it passing!

    HOWEVER! The District reneged on it’s agreement and things are just the same today as they were before the agreement was signed. And, since then, we are learning about contractors contributing large sums of money to Board members who are currently performing work on our children’s schools, and at least one of them not paying their employees their due wages.

    The School Board is out of control and should not be trusted with our money until they adopt a meaningful, comprehensive Code of Ethics, detail the COMPLETE current status of construction work that is completed, ongoing, and in the works under the 2007 Bond program, create a Contract Compliance Department, and adopt Davis-Bacon wages, like, the City of Houston, Harris County, and Houston Community College. Only then should taxpayers support the next Bond proposal!

  2. [...] interest is that FBISD is paying for the devices partly with unused bond funds. Given that HISD is talking about a bond election possibly for this year, that may be something for them to think about, perhaps as a [...]

Bookmark and Share