Abilene ISD's Board of Trustees vote to add bond of $138.7 million to November ballot


    The Abilene Independent School District's Board of Trustees have voted to add a bond of $138.7 million to the November election ballot.

    The $138.7 million bond was added to the November election ballot by a vote of 6 to 1, with Samuel Garcia being the only AISD board member to vote against the bond.

    A total of $35 million of the proposed bond would go toward constructing a Career and Technology Education Center, with the remaining $103.7 million going toward changes recommended by the Master Facilities Planning Committee, including replacing three elementary schools, which are Dyess Elementary School, Austin Elementary School and Taylor Elementary School.

    The replacement of those three elementary schools would cost around $69 million.

    AISD board member Samuel Garcia told KTXS News on Tuesday that he agrees with building the new elementary schools since they were originally built in the 1950's, but he does not agree on voters possibly having to pay for a new CTE center.

    "I'm afraid we're rushing too much and this is a very large bond," Garcia said.

    Besides those two projects, there will also be improvements to Abilene High School and Cooper High School's athletics and fine art facilities, which will cost approximately $12.6 million.

    Another improvement being proposed is to the Shotwell Stadium Track and Field Complex, which will cost about $3.1 million.

    The bond would also allocate around $7.3 million toward improving Madison Middle School, Mann Middle School and Craig Middle School's athletics and fine art facilities, while another roughly $10 million of the bond money would be allocated for capital improvements.

    AISD Board President Randy Piersall said that the time to make improvements is right now because AISD needs to keep pace with the changing times and demands.

    "Yeah, some of it is competitiveness, but some of it is an aging group of facilities that need improvement," Piersall said.

    In 2013, voters passed an $87 million bond to support AISD.

    Garcia expressed concern that people might vote against the ballot measure because of how much the CTE center will cost.

    "Delaying it until May, may delay a year of the opening of these schools like we're talking about, if they pass," Garcia said. "Because the other question, what if they don't? What's plan B?"

    AISD board member Angie Wiley agrees with Piersall that the improvements need to be made and said that the bond will help Abilene ISD keep pace with neighboring school districts.

    "We need to remain where we can stay equal with the districts we compete with," Wiley said.

    Garcia said that he wants people to have the option to only vote on improving the elementary schools and not the Career and Technology Education Center, but that is not a notion that Piersall condones.

    "This is the future," Piersall said.

    Abilene homeowners would have to pay an extra $13 per month for every $100,000 that their home is worth if the bond were to be passed.

    The deadline to call an election for November is on August 20.

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