Huntsville ISD is in the planning stages of a potential bond referendum that would bring large-scale upgrades to the district’s campuses.
However, district leaders are quick to point out that a specific timeline for a bond election has not been set, but is not expected to happen until the economy rebounds.
“We will not ask the community to support any efforts towards upgrading our facilities until the economic conditions improve,” HISD Superintendent Dr. Scott Sheppard said. “It has to be the right package at the right time.”
The school district, which currently houses nearly 9,000 students, has not asked voters to support a bond referendum since 2013, when a $65.5 million package failed with 62.6 percent of the vote. That bond called for a new million school, baseball and softball complex, an agriculture center and a host of other facility upgrades.
School officials have not yet confirmed which facilities are being considered for future upgrades.
“One thing that is certain is that our facilities are old and in need of an update… I don’t think anyone who has been within our facilities would argue that,” Sheppard said. “People often make decisions about where they live based on the overall quality of the public schools, including the facilities.”
Despite not setting a timeline, school officials will continue their work with a long-range planning committee. A full presentation from the committee and their recommendations to the HISD Board of Trustees could come as early as July 16.
“We know that the future is uncertain and that is why we are not blindly foraging ahead as if COVID-19 never happened,” Sheppard added. “We asked the committee if they wanted to continue before our first meeting and the majority of them said yes.”
The school’s trustees agreed.
“In the last bond election, the whole board wasn’t on the same wagon,” trustee member J.T. Langley said. “From the last bond we heard from the community to start by fixing the district from the inside and then they will worry about the walls. We’ve done that over the past few years with Dr. Sheppard and his team, so now it’s time to fix the walls.”
The next scheduled meeting of the Huntsville ISD Board of Trustees is scheduled for June 16.
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