Voters Approve Nuts and Bolts, But Not Luxuries, on Dallas ISD Bond Package

On the surface, two out of five might not seem like a big win for Dallas ISD. But when two of the five bond propositions on the November ballot equate to $3.54 billion of a $3.7 billion ask, the win becomes much clearer.

Voters were tasked with considering five different measures that addressed everything from the $1.9 billion in facilities upgrades across the entire district plus construction of 10 new facilities and the replacement of 14 campuses for $1.1 billion. Technology needs will account for $270 million, $124 million will go to athletics upgrades, and $41 million will create community service investments in four formerly segregated and redlined neighborhoods.

Those measures passed and represented the biggest part.

What did voters not approve?

“Investing in our schools to the benefit of our students and educators will pay a significant dividend, and I’m proud of Dallas for continuing to invest in public education.”

Miguel Solis

The extras. Propositions C, D, and E meant about $53 million in improvements and renovations to athletic stadiums, $66 million for a performing arts facility, and $33.5 million for renovations to the natatoriums.

“The passage of this historic bond is such a high note to conclude my service on the Dallas ISD board of trustees,” said outgoing trustee Miguel Solis. “Investing in our schools to the benefit of our students and educators will pay a significant dividend, and I’m proud of Dallas for continuing to invest in public education.”

Dallas Votes 4 Kids – which did the bulk of the campaigning for the bond package – called it a victory.

“This bond will bring critical repairs and improvements to more than 200 campuses, and we are confident that it will positively impact student outcomes,” Drex Owusu, former co-chair of the district’s bond steering committee. “But we know that a well-rounded, equitable investment in our students includes fine arts and other extracurriculars that were included in the propositions that failed.”

“As the co-chair of the Citizens Bond Steering Committee, I’m incredibly thankful that the work of more than 100 Dallas community members over the past year to identify and quantify the need in our schools has received the support of voters in Dallas,” said Owusu, who is also the senior vice president of education and workforce for the Dallas Regional Chamber. “I’m also deeply appreciative of the collective efforts of so many organizations, endorsers, and trustees who tirelessly advocated for the bond’s successful passage.”

Even at $3.54 billion, the bond package is the largest in Texas history. The bulk of that was in Proposition A, which accounted for $3.2 billion and will go towards 14 replacement schools and upgrades to other existing schools, including Longfellow Middle School and DeGolyer Elementary. More than $1 billion of that was set aside for new and replacement campuses. 

Proposition B addressed improving technology in the district, with $270 million in bonds for upgrading student connectivity, classroom technology, communications systems, and cybersecurity.

The district’s current debt services property tax rate – also known as its interest and sinking tax rate – is 24.2 cents per $100 valuation.

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Bethany Erickson

Bethany Erickson, Digital Editor at People Newspapers, cut her teeth on community journalism, starting in Arkansas. Recently, she's taken home a few awards for her writing, including first place for her tornado coverage from the National Newspapers Association's 2020 Better Newspaper Contest, a Gold award for Best Series at the 2018 National Association of Real Estate Editors journalism awards, a 2018 Hugh Aynesworth Award for Editorial Opinion from the Dallas Press Club, and a 2019 award from NAREE for a piece linking Medicaid expansion with housing insecurity. She is a member of the Education Writers Association, the Society of Professional Journalists, the National Association of Real Estate Editors, the News Leaders Association, the News Product Alliance, and the Online News Association. She doesn't like lima beans, black licorice or the word synergy. You can reach her at [email protected].

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