Arlington Voters Approve $1 Billion School Bond Tuesday

New bond not expected to raise debt service tax rate

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Arlington voters on Tuesday approved a school bond package worth nearly $1 billion.

The $966 million bond package builds on the district's 2014 $663 million bond package and would include building improvements for all schools, among other improvements. 

The bond includes $852 million for facilities, $91 million for safety, security and technology, $15 million for transportation and $7 million for fine arts, all without raising the debt service tax rate.

"How is that possible? It's because our existing bonded debt is declining rapidly and property values are very strong, and our economy is very strong. Those things allow us to issue new bonds and pay the principal and interest on those bonds without having to increase the debt service tax," said Arlington ISD Chief Financial Officer Carol Powell in a promotional video about the bond package. 

Dr. Marcelo Cavazos, Arlington ISD Superintendent, said in a news release that the majority of the bond money would go toward renovations and rebuilding outdated facilities. Cavazos said, if the bond is passed, Carter Jr. High and Berry, Thornton and Webb elementary schools, four schools with an average age of 61 years, will be razed and rebuilt.

The bond would also fund renovations and furnishing for full-day Pre-K programs; an expansion of the district's fine arts/dual-language programs into Gunn Jr. High (which would be renovated) and Arlington High School; new playgrounds and shade structures at all elementary schools; an addition to the Dan Dipert Career + Technical Center to allow for program expansion; renovate the Martin High School football field to be the district's third varsity competition field (Wilemon and Cravens are the others); upgrades to athletics and fine arts spaces; new fine arts instruments and uniforms; new school buses and safety and security upgrades.

The Arlington ISD is the 13th largest district in the state with 78 campuses, more than 60,000 students and an academic accountability rating of 86 and a financial accountability rating of A (superior).

The district's 2014 bond included 127 construction projects; new buses; a fine arts center; the fine arts/dual language academies; the Dan Dipert Career + Technical Center; the Agriculture Science Center; a new athletics complex, were all completed within budget, according to Powell.

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