Round Rock ISD considers new bonds after voters said ‘no’ in 2017

Williamson County

ROUND ROCK, Texas (KXAN) — The Round Rock Independent School District has two weeks to decide if it will put a new school bond package before voters this November.

The move comes after voters in both Williamson and Travis counties shot down a $572 million bond package in 2017. All three propositions failed, which included a new high school, a new elementary school and an indoor aquatics center.

One major sticking point was the need for a sixth high school. The Round Rock Parents and Taxpayers Association believe it should go on the east side of Round Rock, but the district has plans to put it on the west side of the city at a site along Pearson Ranch Road.

Tuesday night the public had their first chance to weigh in on three packages a citizens’ bond committee put together as recommendations:

Package #1 – $521.7 million

  • High School #6
  • CD Fulkes Middle School rebuild
  • Elementary School #35

Package #2 – $586.7 million

  • Elementary School #35
  • High School #6
  • CD Fulkes Middle School rebuild
  • Westwood High School expansion
  • McNeil HS remodel 

Package # 3 – $429.5 million (no tax increase)

  • Elementary school #35
  • High School #6 shovel ready
  • CD Fulkes Middle School rebuild
  • Westwood High School expansion
  • McNeil High School remodel

Click here for the bond committee’s full presentation and details on each package.

The packages look similar to the 2017 bond.

“If there’s a true need it’s not going to go away,” said Kris Parker, president of the citizens’ bond committee. “I think that’s why you’re seeing some of these same projects back again.”

But some bond committee members wonder if the similarities will turn off voters. “I do worry if it’s just the exact same thing again the same results are gonna happen,” said Amy Weir.

Opinions on the various plans were mixed at the Tuesday meeting.

“The new high school is urgent,” one parent told the school board.

Other parents and members of the bond committee want to see the district focus on improvements and expansions at older, existing schools including Round Rock, Westwood and McNeil high schools.

“Schools are coming apart at the hinges,” said Tanuja Alwar, a parent and bond committee member. “That’s an embarrassment to our district that we have left these needs unaddressed and built shiny new schools.”

Parker says the group spent months narrowing the list of needs and wants down to the most critical.

“We’re looking at safety and security and what’s going to keep the lights on this bond,” said Parker.

Many stepping up to the microphone want to see the indoor aquatics facility float back to the top of the list.

“Dallas area school districts, San Antonio, Houston even El Paso — they have natatorium facilities,” said one speaker.

Another speaker told the board her oldest daughter will be swimming in the same Round Rock pool her father swam in 25 years ago. “Let that sink in,” she said.

RRISD is holding one more meeting to hear public input on the recommendations Thursday night at Deerpark Middle School. The meeting will also be live-streamed.

Trustees must vote to call for the bond by Aug. 20 for it to be on the November ballot.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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