2019 CISD bond fails by 9% margin.

Ashton Rushing, Staff Reporter

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The district’s board of trustees will be continuing this week about a new school bond after a $807 million bond failed to pass by a 9% margin during the May 4 elections.

The district called for in 2018 for the construction of five new schools to alleviate growing student enrollment. It also included renovations and artificial turf for the athletic fields. However, due to disagreements with the contents and price of the bond it was voted against, it became the first bond since the early ‘90s to fail.

“We do not yet know if we will recommend another bond,” said Scott Moore, board of trustees second vice president. “No decision has been made yet. We are meeting (last) week and (this) week to begin that discussion.”

The bond also failed due to disputes over the tax increase and misleading information about contents.

“I believe many of the people who voted against the bond were frightened by the amount and were not really aware of the specific projects contained in the bond,” Moore said. “There was a lot of disinformation spread by opponents of the bond that scared many people before they even looked to see what projects were contained in it.”

Voter turnout was only 7.3%, which is about 15,000 votes. With the Caney Creek feeder zone having the most votes against, and the Woodlands area being the most favorable towards the bond.

“The largest growth in the county is in Conroe and Caney Creek,” said Skeeter Hubert, board of trustees first vice president. “New Schools were needed in that area and those communities voted the bond down. That was a big surprise.”

The $807 million bond package is the largest ever, surpassing the $487 million bond approved in 2015, which led to the construction of Grand Oaks High School and others. The district began planning for the latest bond in August 2018 to address years of expected growth ahead.

Moore said the bond was designed to address the astronomical growth of the district. With its defeat, the board of trustees must now re-evaluate the future of the district and make some difficult decisions regarding zoning, salaries, staffing, and programmatic funding, Moore added.

“None of those decisions have been made yet, but we are meeting this week and next week to examine our options,” he said. “We know the district is growing, and we will do everything in our power to address the growth.”

A study released last year by the demographic firm Population and Survey Analysts projects the district’s total enrollment to pass 76,000 by 2028, up from around 63,000 at the start of this school year. The district has already grown by around 15,000 students in the past decade, according to PASA.

 

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