HISD board votes to put $1.9 billion bond on November ballot

Bond would upgrade school buildings, technology

HOUSTON - The Houston Independent School District voted to pass in an 8 to 1 vote on Thursday on a bond proposal that will effect almost 300 schools and more than 200,000 students and families across Harris County.

School officials said the time has come to update and replace school buildings and technology that no longer meets the needs of students.

"For a kid to come to a school that is welcoming and inviting gives a kid a different level of respect of their school," said Mark Bell of HISD.

However, there is opposition to the proposed bond issue.

"This is one blank check we can't allow them to pass," parent Travis McGee said.

The bond is worth $1.9 billion. The money would go towards replacing 20 high schools, major upgrades at 38 schools and technology upgrades at all HISD schools.

"We've seen poverty, crime on the increase. There must be some way of changing this, and throwing money is not the answer," resident Michael Kubosh said.

"I will not support this bond until I find out it's going to use to save our children," resident James Nash said.

Many of those opposed to the bond are also critical over the lack of women and minority contractors included in the proposed bond work.

"We have a list of black contractors we've presented to HISD, but it's fallen on deaf ear," said Dr. Kevin Sims of the Houston African American Forum.

This bond is the largest ever in the district's history. The $1.89 billion measure now will appear on the November 6 general election ballot.

The district says design work of the new schools would begin in early 2013 and construction would start in 2014.

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