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Posts published in April 2007

School bonds meet growth need

At last Thursday’s North Houston Greenspoint Chamber luncheon, members and guests heard of the tremendous growth that has occured in the northern sections of the area, and the problems this has caused for school districts that are trying to accommodate all the new students.
As a result of this growth, the Aldine and Spring districts are planning on bond elections May 12th. Aldine will ask voters to approve $365 million in new bond financing, and Spring will ask for $280 million.

Aldine’s superintendent, Nadine Kujawa, presented a slide show that exhibited over 10,000 new homes planned and under construction, with more than 5000 new students, that must be housed in classrooms in the near future. She said that since year 2000, the student population has grown to 59,000, with the addition of 6000 since then and another 5670 planned in the next five years. Many of these are now housed in temporary classrooms that need replaced, she said.
Spring superintendent Dr. Ralph Draper said the situation in his district was even more dire. Although Aldine was facing a growth rate of about 10 percent yearly, Spring ISD has experienced a rate of 31percent in the last six years. This means that in the next 6 years, Spring must find room for another 12,500 students.
The approval of the bonds will have a small effect on the taxes that property owners pay. If you have an over-65 exemption, it will not effect you at all. If you don’t, Aldine residents can expect an increase of about 4 cents in 2007, and a total of 20 cents at the end of 2015. That translates to $2.62 to $15 per month increase for an average homeowner with a $93,500 house.
In Spring, the taxes will decrease, according to the administration. The tax impact from the 2007 bond would be about 2 cents, they said. If the bond program is then approved, the projected tax rate for 2007-2008 would be $1.40, which is a decrease of 31 cents from the current tax rate.
Aldine’s bond program is planning for the next 12 years, Kujawa said. A citizen’s committee studied the needs for 4 months, and made recommendations.
Twelve new Aldine school buildings would include 4 EC/Pre-K centers, 2 elementary schools, 2 intermediate schools, 2 middle schools, 1 ninth grade school, and 1 high school. It would also include improvements and renovations to magnet schools, performing arts facilities, kitchens and other maintenance items.
Also planned would be a new transportation facility, new busses, Air Conditioning for all 600 buses in the fleet, new safety and security systems, ADA compliances needs, and a field house renovation at Aldine High School.
New magnet schools would be built on the east side of I-45, where they do not exist now. The new high school would be in the Greens Road, I-45 area.
The bond program in Spring was studied by a panel of 70 citizens, Draper said. This study group worked for 4 months, and made recommendations for needs.
This includes 6 new elementaries, replacement of Bammel Elementary, additions and renovations to Link Elementar, Ponderosa Elementary. In addition, new safety and security features would be added to a number of schools. Work would begin on a new High School #4, including land acquisition and design work. Westfield would be changed to a new middle school. A new transportation and operations facility would be constructed on Richey Road. 110 new buses would be purchased. Additional improvements would be made in technology infrastructure, improvements to many existing schools, and turf replacement at George stadium.
Draper said that the bond issue will take the district into a next five years, or until 2011.
In Spring, early voting is from April 30 to May 8, Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on Saturday May 5 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Election sites are Anderson Leadership Center, Twin Creeks Middle School, and Claughton Middle School.
On election day, May 12, voting is 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., at all elementary schools except Clark Primary.