Leander ISD votes on bond packages totaling nearly $800 million

Leander Independent School District joined several other school districts in Central Texas to vote for bond packages. The school district has seamlessly approved three bond packages, namely Prop A, Prop B, and Prop C, which were aimed primarily at investing in the security of schools and increasing the fleet as well as educational facilities.

The largest proposal, Prop A, is an extensive $698.33 million bond package aimed at investing in security measures in schools, such as safety cameras, fencing, and other security projects, school buses replacements, and an investment in educational facilities, including two newly constructed elementary schools. It also includes purchasing land for future educational structures and carrying out renovation and modernization projects in several school campuses.

“We view Proposition A as the leading proposal because it accommodates all the necessary security measures, renovations of existing structures, and new constructions,” said Bruce Gearing, the Superintendent of Leander’s ISD. The population in Leander is steadily increasing, thus resulting in a corresponding increase in school enrollment in the coming years. “We expect to add about 8500 students over the next ten years. And so, we have new construction to handle that growth as we go forward,” Gearing said.

Prop B is estimated to cost approximately $50.82 million, focusing primarily on technology equipment and infrastructure. Upgrades on cybersecurity measures, replacing worn-out school buses, and introducing new ones to manage growth across the district are included in this proposal.

“Prop B is aimed at addressing all technology-related upgrades, cybersecurity, and new buses to replace the old ones that are no longer suitable for use,” Gearing explained.

Finally, Prop C is approximated to cost $13.67 million aimed at renovaing the school district’s older campuses, with a particular focus on fine arts facilities.

The Superintendent stated, “Those are fine arts facilities above a certain capacity. And so, by state law, they have to be of their own accord.”

With such extensive projects, questions around the cost to the property owner’s loom. However, a state law passed in 2019 requires a standard statement to be included on all school election ballots reading, “THIS IS A PROPERTY TAX INCREASE.” The state requires all ballots to carry this language regardless of the impact the bond election will have on the tax rate. But the approval or failure of the 2023 bond proposals will have no impact on Leander’s ISD tax rate.

“Whether the bonds go through or fail. We’re going to stay 33 pence on the maintenance and operations side,” Gearing assured.

The school district’s approval of the three bond packages is a transformative step towards the development of educational structures in the area, aimed at providing a conducive environment for learning for students across Central Texas.

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