HOUSTON - The Houston Independent School District said it needs voters to approve a $1.89 billion bond proposal to improve the quality of its schools.
Superintendent Dr. Terry Grier toured two campuses, Lamar High School and Madison High School, on Monday.
Lamar was built in 1935. Madison was built in 1966. Both schools are old and need improvements.
"The need is real here in HISD. You go into a portable classroom and that's a science lab. This is supposed to be preparing children for 21st century jobs. It's not the kind of Houston we're going to want to live in," said Grier.
At Madison there are several issues. The campus is at capacity. The technology is outdated. Some temporary classrooms have been in place for 15 years.
And when there's more than 2,000 students trying to get to class using an old stairwell, it's a challenge.
"The goal is to get you to class on time, but it becomes very hard when you deal with the amount of congestion that you see at Madison," principal Sonja Williams said.
Williams and Greer showed off everything that is wrong with the school, from cramped classrooms, wires dangling and temporary class rooms that aren't so temporary.
Grier said its time for a change and it's up to the voters to help build new campuses, improve technology, safety, athletic fields and restrooms for the district's 200,000+ students.
Grier said voters are welcome to go to schools and take a look around.
"Our principals are prepared to welcome you. We'll take you on a 15 (minute) to an hour tour and let you decide what you want to see and then you decide if this is a desperate need," said Grier.
According to HISD there's no tax increase immediately, but 2014 the amount would be $14.41 and by 2017 it's $69.91.
There are 20 campuses that could get a full overhaul if this bond is approved. Early voting begins Oct. 22.
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