Denton Voters to Decide Fate of $750 Million School Bond

As far as schools go, one could say say Strickland Middle School in Denton is a classic. To those who teach and learn there, that's not necessarily a good thing.

"Growing up in these schools, a lot of them haven't changed," said Lauren Baccus of Denton.

Baccus co-chaired a committee which drafted a $750 million school improvement bond, which voters will decide the fate of on May 5. If approved, the money would pay for two brand new schools, as well as the replacement or renovation of several buildings the district has deemed outdated, including Strickland.

"We have schools that are new with all the bells and whistles, and we have schools that are decades old that need to be brought up," said Jeff Williams, the other committee co-chair.

Space in many schools is already an issue, and Denton schools are growing.  If the $750 million bond is approved, cramped classrooms would be replaced with spacious ones. Security would be upgraded at all the district's 40 campuses.

"Safety was my number one priority," said Baccus. "I want to make sure when I send my son off to school in the morning he's as safe as he can be."

The bond vote has it's critics. Read King of Denton questions the timing of the bond vote and worries about the debt which would come with it.

"If we just pass it and there's no opposition and no one's asking these questions, five years from now at the current rate we'll have a $1.4 million bond on the ballot because we need something else," said King.

Williams believes the district is not taking a risk by bringing on a greater debt load.

"Very few people can pay cash for a house," he said. "We hopefully do that in a reasonable way, a way we can afford."

Bond supporters said if approved, the Denton ISD tax rate would not go up.

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