Amarillo ISD approves $100 million bond election

Amarillo Independent School District board of trustees approves $100 million bond election at its meeting Monday night. (ABC 7 Amarillo-Tiffany Lester)

In a six to one vote, the Amarillo Independent School District board of trustees approved a $100 million bond election for November 7.

They voted on the issue at their weekly meeting Monday night.

Trustee James Allen was the only person to vote against the bond election.

AISD Board President Jim Austin tells ABC 7 News the board has been in talks of making improvements for more than three years and feel it has whittled the price tag down to an acceptable amount for the items needing to be done.

“We started off with a $330 million number and we've paired it down to what we felt like were the absolute necessities. We want to make sure the campuses look good and the kids are proud to go there, the parents are proud of them and we have pride in our schools and our community,” said Austin.

If the bond is approved by voters, the $100 million would go to the addition of classrooms at Palo Duro High School, Caprock High School, Sleepy Hollow Elementary School and Fannin Middle School.

It would also pay for improvements to restrooms, auditoriums and security and delivery systems, including bullet resistant glass on all elementary school entry levels.

Austin said the district needs to deal with the growing needs before they become too much to handle.

“These are not wants, they are needs. We have drainage problems at the school. People don't really want to talk about it, but it's all part of delivering the best experience that we can to the students and also we should take care of what we have,” said Austin.

The bond would add about four or five cents to the property taxes for residents, which would add about $37.50 each year for those with a $150,000 home.

But property taxes for residents over 65 years of age are frozen and would not be affected by the bond.

"We the citizens have got to recognize that we have to help these campuses and we need to help this school board recognize what we think the district needs," said Amarillo resident Jesse Pfrimmer.

The board will hear from the Citizens Facilities Committee on September 15 and will make the necessary modifications to the priority list soon after.

If approved, the project is expected to take about three to four years to complete.

The election is scheduled for November 7 and early voting starts October 23.

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