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Education

Dallas ISD Puts Largest Bond In State History Before Voters

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Dallas ISD

If approved, the $3.7 billion bond package would improve nearly every school and facility in the district and technology and infrastructure at schools.

In this election, Dallas voters are being asked to approve a $3.7 billion school bond package. This is the largest bond proposal in state history.

This bond is almost twice the record-setting package passed by Houston eight years ago. But Dallas school trustee Miguel Solis says district needs are so great, even this plan wouldn’t cover everything.

“If we do not address these issues, that need is only going to grow,” Solis said. “And at some point, we would have to go after a bond that might impact the tax rate and we don’t want to do that, and putting forth a bond to the tune of $3.7 billion, we feel we’ll both be able to deliver on improving the quality of our facilities and doing it with good fiscal responsibility."

To translate, fiscal responsibility means not raising taxes. Still, voters will see a line attached to each of the five bond items that says “This is a property tax increase.” It’s there because a recent state law insists on that wording.

Solis says he’s not worried about taxes going up, because tax rates will not change.

“The path toward this bond was always focused on ensuring that it does not burden the taxpayer in any way,” Solis said. “And in fact we’ve built out this 30-year bond to ensure there is no impact from a financial standpoint.”

The bond money aims to improve nearly every school in the district, going toward things from buildings to sports stadiums to expanding internet access. There’s no organized opposition to the proposal, but William Busby with the Dallas County Republican Party, says taxpayers will be watching.

“Republicans just want to make sure that whenever projects happen, that they’re managed fiscally and they’re responsible with that money,” says William Busby. “Is this bond election going to pass? We’re not sure. And again, the party has no position. But I would say Republicans are going to be monitoring just like hawks to see how these funds would be allocated and approved should they pass.”

Despite concerns about issuing a large bond during a recession, business leaders, including the Dallas regional chamber, back the package.

Got a tip? Email Reporter Bill Zeeble at bzeeble@kera.org. You can follow him on Twitter @bzeeble.

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