LEANDER, TEXAS (KXAN) — Leander Independent School District voters will decide this November whether to approve a $772.2 million bond package to meet growth needs inside the district.
It’s the largest bond the district has ever issued.
The bond is made up of three propositions and seeks to address the growth of 12,000 students over the next decade.
It also includes updating existing campuses to keep up with the pace of those that are newly constructed.
Improvements to New Hope High School is one of them.
“We had a tremendous ice storm that year, we began in the ice storm,” said Tommie Hart’Dunlap.
It was January of 1997 when Tommie Hart’Dunlap started New Hope High School.
“We did not have a dropout, prevention and recovery program in Leander at that time,” said Hart’Dunlap. “We only had the one high school at that time, that was Leander High School.”
Hart’Dunlap has helped graduate hundreds of students who otherwise likely wouldn’t have.
“We have students who are the caregivers for their sick relatives, we have students who have to be the daycare for their siblings or cousins, we have students who have had legal difficulties,” said Hart’Dunlap. “If there was way night school that they could of to, then let’s do that. How about, could they come early in the morning? I’ll meet them, and we’ll get that done.”
For Bradley Hoffman, it was having to get to a day job in order to pay some bills at home. Hoffman graduated from New Hope two years ago.
“If it weren’t for here, I probably wouldn’t have,” said Hoffman. “I have a high school degree. That’s better than most in my family. I’m going to be honest, I’m the first to graduate high school on my dad’s side of the family. Now it’s out there, and that’s pretty awesome.”
The structure of New Hope has been the same since the 90s. If the bond passes, district officials say it would allow the school to expand and nearly triple the amount of students it serves.
“They evaluated $1.5B in projects through processes and other community groups,” said Corey Ryan Spokesperson for Leander ISD. “The school board got to the final proposition.”
The $772.2M bond includes new school construction, technology updates and upgrades to aging schools.
- Proposition A includes $727.2 million worth of new construction, renovation, and equipment replacement projects.
- Proposition B includes $33.3 million to replace existing technology devices, including student and staff laptops, over the next three years.
- Proposition C includes $11.7 million in renovation and lighting/sound upgrades to our high school and district performing arts centers.
District officials say the bond won’t imply a tax increase based on mechanisms to layer in debt payments using tax collections from rising property values.
“We do want to be transparent with voters. We don’t control the tax value. If the tax remains stable, but the tax value goes up, then that could create a tax increase,” said Corey Ryan.
Early voting starts next week Oct. 18 and goes until Oct. 29. Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2021.