ARLINGTON, Texas - The Arlington Independent School District is asking residents for a nearly $1 billion vote of confidence.
The school board approved a bond vote in November. If approved, the money will pay for facilities, school safety, transportation, and a fine arts facility.
The district said the bond proposal will not require a tax rate increase as they look to make improvements to some of their buildings.
"Some of our buildings are of a condition, they need to be replaced," said Superintendent Dr. Marcelo Cavazos.
Berry Elementary is 65 years old, and with its dated classrooms, gym, and playground, its age is starting to show.
The school is one of four that are slated to be knocked down and rebuilt if voters pass a $966 million bond package.
“The right equipment is important. The right space. The need to be comfortable, to not feel crowded in classrooms and things like that,” Dr. Cavazos added. “In some of these facilities, they’re at such an age, where the return is just not there in terms of our investment.”
Other improvements include upgrades to school safety and security, which would mean adding and improving cameras at all campuses and modifying entrances.
“That’s something we have to continue to invest in, and continue to improve,” Dr. Cavazos said.
Aging playgrounds at all elementary schools would be replaced with new equipment to be handicap-accessible.
The money would also be used to make upgrades to existing athletic facilities so Arlington ISD would no longer have to lease a football stadium year-to-year from UT-Arlington.
“Currently, we have two very modest stadiums that exist for high schools. We lease a third one, so this bond also provides the opportunity to repurpose one of our existing practice facilities at one of our high schools to make it a competitive space,” said Dr. Cavazos.
District officials say the improvements would not come with a tax increase, but for an improvement project this big, they do need voter approval.
“As a board, we are excited about giving our voters the opportunity to address so many district needs that directly affect our students, and do it without raising the district’s tax rate,” said Kecia Mays , the school board president.
“Building improvements are planned for all schools,” said Superintendent Dr. Marcelo Cavazos. “The majority of the proposed bond program is for renovations and rebuilding facilities to address significant condition needs. Carter Jr. High and Berry, Thornton and Webb elementary schools, four schools with an average age of 61 years, will be razed and rebuilt.”
Other priorities for the funding include renovations and furnishings for Pre-K classrooms, new playgrounds and shade structures for all elementary schools, new junior high and high school fine arts/dual language academies, a Dan Dipert Career & Technical Center expansion, and upgrades for fine arts and athletics facilities.
There will be information sessions at all campuses from now until November to learn more, and the district is also launching a website with all the information for voters.
The election will be held on Nov. 5.