LEANDER, Texas — As a result of the November election, one school district that's seeing a lot of growth won't be able to use bond money to build new campuses.
The majority of voters in Leander's school district were against two of the three proposed bonds in Tuesday's election. Here's a quick rundown:
- Prop A would have built new schools and renovated current facilities. It failed by a 51-49% vote.
- Prop B will generate $33 million for technology upgrades. It passed by a 52-48% vote.
- Prop C would have renovated performing arts centers and high school auditoriums. It also failed by a 52-48% vote.
Leaders in Leander ISD predict they'll have 12,000 new students by 2030. They say in order to have enough space for that growth, they'll need nine new schools. Currently, 15 schools are exceeding capacity.
"We were disappointed, of course. We did ask the community the question: Is this the way we wanted to do this? and they have given us an answer, so now we have to go back to the drawing board," said Dr. Bruce Gearing, the superintendent of Leander ISD.
On Wednesday, they said they're now considering other steps to get new campuses and renovate current ones. Those include:
- using money from their saving's account
- reallocating money from the operational budget
- redrawing attendance zones
- using portable classrooms
- calling another bond election
Gearing believes creating temporary classrooms is not the long-term answer and tapping into the operational budget is risky.
"Fund balance is designed for disasters, rainy days and managing cashflow. It is not designed to build buildings out of or to do day-to-day operations out of," he said.
Jeremy Trimble is a member of the Citizens Facility Advisory Committee and helped draft the bond.
Despite the result, Trimble said the districts needs will not go away, so it is time for the community to regroup and find a solution.
"We can't expect to agree with all things that occur in our school district and community, but I hope that the conditions can be generated to address the needs of our students that the bond was to encompass," Trimble said.
While Proposition B did pass, Gearing said they will be unable to purchase some of the technology it funds, since some of it was geared towards the infrastructure in Proposition A.
The district will finalize the election results on Nov. 15. After that, leaders will consider next steps, including making changes and getting the bonds back on the ballot next May.
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