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Judson ISD Takes $265 million Request To Voters

Joey Palacios
Texas Public Radio
Judson ISD Headquarters

Saturday is Election Day for many local communities and schools districts.  In the Judson Independent School District voters are being asked to approve a $265 million bond package that would modernize and build new schools. Property owners are being asked to pay a little more.

Judson ISD is asking voters for its largest bond package ever. Four separate issues that together would allow the district to borrow $256 million.  Superintendent Carl Montoya says the biggest chunk of money would pay for modernizing aging schools.

“Part of it is things like roofs, part of it is the HVAC systems, part of it is to upgrade technology, part of it is the lighting,” he says.

This first phase, at$ 135 million, would touch nearly all of Judson’s schools.  The second pot of bond money would be used to build two new elementary schools. Four of Judson’s current elementary schools are either at or near capacity.  Judson’s population is about 24,000 students and is growing by about 300 students per year. 

Montoya says unexpected growth is the reason Judson ISD needs new buildings. “And we know from our study, if you will, that it appears the far north end as well as the south end are the big areas where there’s growth, and new families.”

The third bond measure, calls for borrowing $51 million to pay for the second phase of Mackey High School. And the fourth bond measure asks voters to approve about $5 million to pay off old bond debt.

Randy Pannelle is a City of Converse resident, who also chair’s the political action committee promoting passage of the bond package.  He says the money is needed for necessities.

“You’re going to pay for it now or you’re going to pay for it later and that’s just facts of life,” he says. “If you don’t do anything now, you’re going to be forced to do something later, so let’s get this thing done and march on.”

There doesn’t appear to be much organized opposition to the school bonds.  If all four are approved, home owners with property valued at $110,000 will see a tax increase of $60 dollars a year. Homes owners with property appraised at $200,000 will see their taxes go up $140 a year, and they’d pay $4,200 in taxes over 30 years, which is the time needed to repay the bonds.