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      AISD proposes $99.45 Million bond for additional schools and classrooms

      Last Fall, the Amarillo ISD school board allocated $16 Million from district savings toward improving local schools.

      6 AISD schools are getting a facelift through renovation projects, thanks to the fund reserves. Palo Duro High School is one of the schools currently under construction.

      "Palo Duro's going to have 2 new science labs on the 1st floor, and 5 new classrooms in the 2nd floor. We're also going to have an additional basement," said Palo Duro High School Principal Sandy Whitlow.

      The school board approved the changes due to overcrowding in the school system by 13% within the last 5 years, with more than 3,000 new students.

      "We're just overcrowded, and when you have overcrowding, you don't have as good of a performance," said AISD Board of Trustees Vice President John Ben Blanchard.

      Palo Duro Principal, Mrs. Whitlow agrees.

      "If we want to put in a new course sometimes we're not able to do that because we don't have the space available to be able to put that course in," said Whitlow. "So we want to meet our kids' needs and we want to be able to accommodate them."

      While the $16 Million addressed some of their needs, a Facilities Advisory Committee recommended the school board call for a bond election to address additional students.

      "They're gonna be voting to approve a $99.45 Million bond election. With that money, 55% of it will be used to build new classrooms or new campuses," said Blanchard.

      Blanchard says the bond will also focus on school security.

      "25% of the money that we're asking the citizens to approve will be used for security to protect the entrances so that we don't have problems that we've seen in some of our other communities around the country," said Blanchard.

      AISD residents can vote on the bond in a May 11th election.

      "The average homeowner will only play roughly $1.50 a month. It's really a very low price to pay for improvements that will be greatly needed and used here in the community."

      Improvements to Palo Duro High School are set to be completed by August of 2013.