This week is the start of early voting and on the ballot is a $648 million bond proposal for Northside Independent School District to alleviate the growth spurt of one of the largest districts in the state.
Growth in Northside is not predicted to stop anytime soon. There are currently 101,000 students and a predicted 2,000 new students every year for the next two decades. The $648 million bond includes $274 million for six new schools and planning for a seventh, and $170 million for renovation and reconstruction of existing schools.
Out of the six new schools, one elementary is being paid using a portion of $50 million left over from the 2010 bond.
NISD Superintendent Brian Woods said over half the district's schools are more than 20 years old and need renovation.
“It’s been a priority for us for years and years to not have zipcode be the sole determinant of the quality of the facility a child goes to school in,” Woods said.
There is a political action committee to support the bond. One of it’s members is Northside Board President Bobby Blount. He said the district has always been good a steward of its money.
“There’s great accountability in terms of the board, the superintendent, and the whole district, to make sure they deliver exactly what the citizens requested and voted for in any bond issue," Blount said.
One of those opposing the bond is Bob Martin, president of the Taxpayer Homeowner Association of Bexar County. He lives in Northside ISD and said he believes many people in the district can't afford the increases to the bond.
“What good is it having a Taj Majal school as part of the bond if you can’t afford to even buy the kids clothes cause all your money is going to taxes,” Martin said.
The cost of the bond per household will be about $1.81 per month, increasing to $12 over four years for a home worth $164,000. That number will change depending on valuation.
Election Day is Saturday, May 10, but early voting is going on now.