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Dallas ISD asks voters to approve $3.7 billion bond, largest in state history

The money would be used to improve older facilities and build 14 replacement campuses, upgrade technology and safety, build a new performing arts facility and more.
Credit: WFAA
Dallas ISD

The Dallas Independent School District is asking voters to approve a $3.7 billion bond, which would include funding for 14 replacement schools, new security technology and a new performing arts facility.

The five ballot proposals which voters will decide on include construction to renovate older facilities and replace 14 campuses, technology and safety improvements, renovating existing stadiums, build a performing arts facility, and renovating swimming pools.

The tax rate is currently $1.31 per $100 of taxable valuation.

The Dallas ISD Citizen's Bond Steering Committee shared a presentation of the proposal.

In the election, voters will also decide on two board trustees. District 2 Trustee Dustin Marshall is running for his seat again. He faces challengers Nancy Rodriguez and Alex Enriquez.

Miguel Solis, who represented District 8, is not running for re-election. Alicia McClung and Joe Carreon are running for that seat.

Safety and security

The district came under scrutiny after an 18-year-old man was shot and killed at a basketball game earlier this year. His mother alleged in a lawsuit that metal detectors were not properly functioning at the time.

Since the shooting, Dallas ISD changed security measures at all sporting events.

The bond proposal includes $114,700,000 for safety and security, including new campus security cameras with motion sensors to provide real-time alerts and additional cameras will replace obsolete systems at all campuses, the district said.

A weapon detection system will replace metal detectors at all middle and high schools. The district also wants to purchase additional video doorbells and buzzers, door safety devices, a security operation center and police equipment.

“With the new system, weapons will be more easily detectible so that persons carrying anything that requires a second look can be taken aside while others are admitted,” the district said.

Technology

The district wants to spend $270 million on technology for better student connectivity, classroom technology, technology infrastructure, communications systems, enterprise systems and cybersecurity.

When students began virtual learning in September, approximately 20% of students had not connected with the district. Still, the district ordered laptops from the state.

At least two Zoom meetings between trustees and community members were hacked this year with hackers posting vulgar posts and videos.

Facilities

More than $1.9 billion of the bond would be dedicated to renovating aging facilities and infrastructure, Dallas ISD said. An additional $1.1 billion is set aside for new and replacement campuses.

The district says there are HVAC systems, fire alarm systems, electrical panels and switchgear, plumbing fixtures and piping, and roofs that have less than five years left of use. The renovations would also improve ADA accessibility and code compliance.

The renovations also include new classroom features, like marker boards, LED lighting, and furniture replacements for classrooms, collaborative spaces and administration. Hallways and corridors would be upgraded with new flooring, wall finishes, ceilings and lighting.

Improvements to the architecture and aesthetics include new signage, marquees, exterior lighting, fences, sidewalk and parking lots.

The bond package sets aside $537 million to replace aging schools:

  • 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
  • Pease Elementary School

Ten new facilities, at a total of $607 million, would include four career institutes, a pre-K through 12th-grade Downtown Montessori, pre-K through 12th Midtown Project, pre-K through eighth Montessori school in Pleasant Grove, a transformation school and a performing arts center.

Athletics and fine arts

The proposal includes $124,900,000 for athletics, including field turf, high school practice tracks, updating natatoriums and athletics renovations.

It also sets aside $66,100,000 for a visual and performing arts center.