Texas Voters Approve $5.589 Billion in Bonds
Voters turned out to Texas polls November 4 to weigh in on nearly 100 bond packages across the state. According to the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts' Texas Transparency compilation of bond election results, of those bonds on the ballot last week, voters approved 84 (totaling a combined $5.589 billion), while 11 (totaling a combined $867.5 million) were defeated.
A slew of education-related packages were approved last week, far outweighing those from other entities. Among the bonds that passed in the November 4 election were:
- A four-part bond package for Arlington, covering public works, transportation, parks, recreation, fire department and libraries, totaling $236 million;
- Two bonds for Austin Community College, one for $224.8 million that covers planning and construction for future growth, and a second for $161 million, covering campus growth, renovation, health and safety;
- A $163 million bond for Birdville ISD, covering school renovations, technology, safety and security upgrades;
- A $175 million school building bond for Brazosport ISD;
- A $132 million school construction bond for Bryan ISD;
- A $100 million school construction bond for Corpus Christi ISD, along with two bonds for the city of Corpus Christi, totaling $99.495 million, that covers street projects, safety, revitalization and improvement projects;
- A $157 million bond for Del Mar College, covering campus expansion;
- A $134 million bond for Del Valle ISD for school construction;
- A $169.5 million bond for Keller ISD, covering new schools and renovations;
- A $240.65 million bond for Lamar CISD for school construction;
- A $175.55 million bond for Pasadena ISD, covering renovations, new schools and technology; and
- A $195 million bond for Port Arthur ISD for school construction.
The largest bond to pass last week was the $748.12 million bond for Katy ISD, for new schools and athletic facilities. According to a breakdown by Katy ISD, 48% of the bond will go toward new facilities, 30% toward existing facilities, 7% toward technology, 11% for student activity facilities and 4% for other purposes. This will include six new schools, renovations at six campuses, a second sports stadium and an agricultural sciences center. Voters approved the package by an unofficial count of 55.2%.
According to a project and cost matrix from Katy ISD, the six new schools are slated for opening in 2016-2019, with existing facility renovations planned for 2017-2018 completion, and existing facility expansions planned for 2016-2018 completion.
Another large program was the $485 million bond for Lone Star College System, which will include new construction and existing facility upgrades. Lone Star estimates that $351 million of the bond will go toward new construction, which will be about 686,000 sq ft across six of its campuses. Meanwhile, $50 million will go toward 362,000 sq ft in existing facility renovations.
Voters approved the Lone Star bond package by a vote of 65.27% for and 34.73% against. The bond program is expected to roll out over the next five to eight years.
Fort Bend ISD saw its $484 million bond package covering school construction, safety, security, technology and transportation pass as well with approval by 73.6% of voters.
A total of $365.4 million will go toward new construction and classroom additions ($222 million of that will be used for four new elementary schools), while $26.9 million will go to safety and security improvements, $15.9 million for new school buses with cameras/GPS, $39.4 million for technology infrastructure and $36.5 million for land purchases and other needs.
Design and planning has already begun on one of the four new schools, which will open for the 2016-17 school year.