YISD $430.5 million bond approved

Bond+voting+sign+posted+near+the+library.

Priscilla Erickson

Bond voting sign posted near the library.

Jesus Martinez, Reporter

The $430.5 million Ysleta Independent School District (YISD) bond was approved by a 59 percent vote Nov. 3.

The fun breakdown includes $10.2 million to improve fine arts facilities, $55.1 million to improve athletic facilities, $63.7 million to replace roofs, plumbing and A/C, $8.3 toward school security, and $10 million to upgrade technology.

“Yesterday’s decision will help propel us into the next 100 years. We will continue to compete everyday to be the very best in everything we do. Our goal is to do it better than it has ever been done before,” principal Antonio Acuña said.

The bond was initially presented and voted down last May. The bond was rejected by a narrow margin of 51 percent, one reason why the district decided to put it before voters again.

“I am not sure why people voted against it, their kids would actually benefit from this, because the schools they attend would be enhanced,” Acuña said.

Early voting started Oct. 19 and continued through Oct. 30. 

“The bond would only benefit the schools in the district, our school would get $6.5 million to make improvements to the campus,” Acuña said.

The El Paso Times reported, Aug. 13, that the bond would have resulted in a 10 percent property tax increase. The El Paso Times later stated, Oct. 28, if voters approve the bond, it would raise YISD’s tax rate from $1.36 per $100 property valuation to $1.48.       

The district superintendent visited various schools and the community to explain that in many cases there wouldn’t be a property tax increase.

A statewide proposition could increase the exemption some homeowners can claim on their taxes, and certain taxpayers in the district could see their annual tax bills decrease, The El Paso Times reported Aug. 13.

“The property tax increase might have been a major reason why people chose to not approve the bond, because it would not just affect the schools, but also property owners in the area,” senior bond voter Efrain Orozco said.

Jacobs Engineering Group and Templeton Demographics worked on studies for the district. The studies recommended consolidation and closure of some schools. A bond advisory committee made up of 50 people from the original committee and about 40 new community members were later asked to make a decision whether or not to put the bond up for vote again, The El Paso Times reported May 9.

“The Jacobs report evaluated all the schools in the district realizing the schools need many renovations, (that) are mostly necessary,” Acuña said.

The Jacobs bond survey report also indicated some thought the bond was too costly and that some of the projects were not needed, The El Paso Times reported May 9.

“The bond is very beneficial, but improving the schools comes with its downside, like being overpopulated, because more people would like to attend the district,” senior bond voter Misty Vasquez said.

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