Eanes ISD and other Central Texas school districts have bonds on the May 6 ballot
Eanes ISD voters are deciding whether to approve a $131.4 million bond package during the May 6 election. If voters approve the bond, the district will be able to borrow money to pay for capital projects at each of its campuses.
The Eanes ISD bond package is divided into three separate propositions. Proposition A is the largest at nearly $118 million. That money would help pay for improvements at every campus, such as roofing and window replacements, fire alarm system upgrades and new furniture.
“It’s just a whole host of things that cover really every school and every building to keep the AC going and the toilets working,” said Holly Noel, the vice chair of the Eanes ISD bond advisory committee. “Maintenance bonds are not particularly very glamorous and exciting, but they are incredibly necessary.”
The funding from Prop A would also help cover safety upgrades, such as security cameras, additional safety barriers at campuses and improvements to emergency communication systems. Noel said it’s important, for example, that elementary school teachers be able to hear emergency alerts if they’re outside with students on the playground.
Proposition B is the smallest of the three at about $2.4 million. It would help pay for refurbishments at Chaparral Stadium at Westlake High School, such as new lighting and replacing the current video board.
"This is not just a football stadium. This is a stadium that serves all types of students and our community as well," Assistant Superintendent of Operations and Planning Jeremy Trimble said at a town hall last month.
Last up is Proposition C, which totals just over $11.2 million. If voters approve Prop C, the district could borrow money to replace student and staff digital devices.
Noel said all three propositions are very important for Eanes ISD.
“It’s really important that we as parents and that voters in this community vote for all three props so that we can continue to keep our schools maintained,” she said.
Noel added that bond dollars will allow Eanes ISD to invest in projects that make schools safer and will also free up money in the annual budget for teacher pay.
District officials anticipate saving about $2.9 million annually from bond projects that will, among other things, make facilities more energy efficient.
The last time an Eanes ISD school board called a bond election was 2019. Voters overwhelmingly approved that $80 million bond.
If voters approve the 2023 bond on Saturday, it will not increase the district's tax rate. However, voters will see a line on the ballot that reads, "this is a property tax increase." That language is required by Texas law even if the bond does not affect the tax rate.
Also, all bond dollars would remain within Eanes ISD. This is notable for districts like Eanes that must make large payments into the state's recapture system, which distributes funding from property-wealthy districts to property-poor districts. Eanes ISD anticipates sending nearly $122 million to the state for the 2022-2023 school year.
Other Central Texas school district bonds
Three Hays County school districts have bonds on the ballot.
The Hays CISD school board called a $361 million bond election that is broken into four propositions. The largest is Prop A at more than $208 million. It will help pay for, among other things, the construction of a new elementary school, 25 new school buses and districtwide security upgrades.
San Marcos CISD has three bond propositions on the ballot that total $166 million. Prop B, which is nearly $148 million, would help pay for new school buses, safety renovations and new AC units. Prop C is just under a million dollars and would cover the cost of replacing turf at San Marcos High School.
Dripping Springs ISD has a $223.7 million bond on the ballot. A portion of that — $136 million — is dedicated to projects that accommodate growing student enrollment, such as building a sixth elementary school and expanding Sycamore Springs Middle School. Another $87.7 million is for renovations and replacing aging infrastructure and buses. Last November, Dripping Springs ISD voters narrowly rejected all three propositions that made up a $481 million bond.
School districts in Williamson County also have bonds on the ballot this month. The Hutto ISD school board put a $522 million bond on the ballot to address student population growth. For example, one-fourth of the bond dollars would be used to build two new elementary schools.
Another fast-growing district, Jarrell ISD, has a $324.6 million bond on the May 6 ballot. The funds would help pay for new elementary and middle school campuses. District officials expect enrollment to more than double in the next five years. Since 2021, the district has grown by 25% each year.
The Liberty Hill ISD school board decided earlier this year to put a $471.1 million bond on the ballot. Similar to Hutto and Jarrell ISDs, Liberty Hill would use bond dollars to build new schools in order to keep up with growth. Student enrollment is rapidly increasing. According to Zonda Demographics, Liberty Hill is the third-fastest growing school district in the Austin area. Only Georgetown ISD and Leander ISD are growing faster.
Leander ISD voters will be deciding whether to approve the three propositions that comprise the district’s $762.8 million bond. Projects that are part of the package include the construction of two new elementary schools. Leander ISD said its demographer expected the district to add 5,400 new elementary students by 2023.
Another fast-growing district just outside of Austin is Bastrop ISD. The school board called a $321.5 million bond election. The bulk of the funds, $273 million, would go toward new schools and expanding classrooms.