The city’s Hispanic elected officials and community leaders are backing a plan by the HISD to borrow nearly $1.9 billion dollars to help replace, renovate or rebuild 38 schools. A new campus would replace the 50-year-old Austin High School on the city’s east end. This Houston School Board member Julia Stipeche:
“We need to invest in our infrastructure. People drive past the schools and they can see with their own eyes, the need for modernization. So, we just have to make sure that we get the word out, that people should come out and vote. If we want a better tomorrow, we have to invest in it today, and if we want a better tomorrow we absolutely have to vote.”
The campus is also located in Gene Green’s congressional district. He stressed the importance of badly needed upgrades.
“Some of them inner city schools, that have been patch worked for a number of years that’ll be really a great facility for our students, to be able to learn and be prepared to take over the leadership, in business and government, and everything else in the Houston area. A committment to education in a bond election shows the support of the community for the future.”
The district would also spend $100 million dollars in improving technology at all campuses. Parent and Austin High alum Lydia Zamora has a daughter enrolled.
“It would be a wondferful wonderful thing, to have them have access to everything that they need. Not only as far as the building goes, but with technology. Making sure that eveything is up to par, and giving our kids that chance to be able to, not only compete with other area schools, but to make a life for themselves, beyond high school.”
Despite the overwhelming support for the measure, Greg Weiher, UH professor of political science, says there’s a remote chance that complacency could derail this slam dunk
“35 years ago, the school bond issues just passed as a matter of course. It was kind of universally supported by everybody. Then we have the Proposition13 era sort of rolled in California, and people became increasingly sensitive to issues of property taxes. And so, what we saw across the country and in Houston as well, was that bond issues didn’t just automatically pass.”
The HISD package is the largest of 3 big ticket bond issues appearing on the ballot in November, which might be a turn-off to voters. But a poll taken over the summer indicated 54 percent support HISD’s bond with 22 percent opposed. Supporters say voters need to remember to go all the way to the bottom of the ballot, where the bond issues are located.