HISD asks for $4.4 billion in bonds

That sure is a lot.

Houston ISD unveiled a $4.4 billion bond proposal, the largest in HISD history and likely the largest package any Texas school district has taken to voters.

Much of the bond, $2.05 billion, would go to school upgrades. The district defined this as rebuilding, renovating and modernizing facilities. The district identified more than 40 campuses with “urgent facility needs.”

The district would invest $1.35 billion into making “safe and healthy campuses,” which would include updating HVAC systems, securing campuses, and testing whether school grounds, air, water and buildings meet environmental standards, according to materials distributed at the district’s first public meeting about the bond Thursday night.

And $1 billion would go to career and technical education, early childhood education and district technology investments. Improving district technology includes securing student data, expanding broadband access, and accessing AI, according to a district meeting handout.

The district said it intends to fund the bond without raising the tax rate.


Because a dozen years have passed without maintenance and repairs, the district identified roughly $10 billion in overdue upgrades, according to a May 22 press release. The district announced that day 28 members of a Community Advisory Committee that will host five public meetings on the bond over the next few weeks. The committee includes parents, educators, community advocates and elected trustees.

Former HISD board president Judith Cruz, former Democratic state Rep. Garnet Coleman, and retired president of H-E-B Scott McClelland will serve as committee co-chairs.

The committee’s in-person meetings will be at 6 p.m. June 4 at Fondren Middle School, 6 p.m. June 5 at Fleming Middle School and 6 p.m. June 10 at Forest Brook Middle School. The bond committee will also hold a virtual meeting at 10 a.m. Saturday. Community members can share feedback in small group workshops and learn about the district’s facility needs at the meetings.

See here and here for a bit of background. I absolutely agree that a bond of at least this size is needed. I think the Community Advisory Committee has some quality people on it. And I think HISD is going to have a rough time getting this approved.

Leaders of Houston’s NAACP branch spoke out Thursday against the more than $4 billion bond that state-appointed HISD leaders are expected to ask voters to approve and repeated their calls for state and federal investigations into possible wrongdoing in the district.

“We all agree that the present chaotic conditions and structure of apartheid at HISD disqualifies them to seek a bond proposal in the upcoming election cycle,” Houston NAACP President James Dixon II said at a press conference. “Presently, HISD is a graphic demonstration of taxation without representation.”

U.S. Rep. Al Green and the NAACP Houston Branch on Thursday called for a federal investigation after Spectrum News reported that a charter school network funded by now-Superintendent Mike Miles moved funds from Texas public charter schools to Colorado campuses.


The Houston branch of the historic Black civil rights organization hosted a Thursday press conference, joined by state elected officials, teachers union leaders, community leaders including Ruth Kravetz of Community Voices for Public Education, and Daniel Saenz of LULAC Council 60, part of the national Latino civil rights organization.

Dixon said the Texas Education Agency is failing Houston children and called on the public to act now. Dixon supported U.S. representatives’ calls for a federal investigation.

The press conference comes ahead of the district’s first public meeting Thursday about an proposed school bond. The district last week gave the bond’s approximate amount between $4 billion and $5 billion, and it said that the bond will be largely devoted to upgrading the district’s aging campuses.

But community leaders are upset with the lack of transparency among state-appointed leaders of HISD.

“And finally there is no bond. There is no bond as long as we have a rubber stamp Board of Managers at HISD with no accountability to the community,” State Rep. Ron Reynolds, a Democrat from Missouri City, said.

See here and here for the background on that charter school allegation. I haven’t seen any further news on it, which may mean there’s nothing more to be found or may mean that further news will require more digging. There’s one obvious way to get people on board with the bond proposal, and that involves Mike Miles and a U-Haul truck. Failing that – and let’s be honest, that’s not going to happen – we’ll just have to see. Even the idea of negotiating over this means having to be willing to walk away from the table and vote against the bond, which is a very big position to take and one that wouldn’t clearly hurt anyone but the students and teachers. I feel deeply strange about not being fully supportive of this bond, but we live in deeply strange times. Doing interviews for this one is going to be quite the experience.

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7 Responses to HISD asks for $4.4 billion in bonds

  1. Bill Brooker says:

    No taxation without representation.

    Any ‘benefit’ from the bonds will be destroyed by Miles’ catastrophic leadership. Its best to keep that borrowing capacity available for a future locally elected board.

    Let Miles’ backers over at the Greater Houston Partnership pay for the school upgrades.

  2. Sandra G Moore says:

    I live in HISD and will vote against it as long as the fake board of managers and Miles are present. I and a number of very good people took the Board of Managers training. The theme was one of holding the superintendent and each other accountable for all decisions affecting the district. We were told that our goal was to enliven as well as improve the learning process. No where was the tyranny of principals, teachers, and students mentioned. None of us were selected. It was a LIE and a SHAM. Since then all who work within the district have been subjected to abysmal actions. This is my personal opinion and I’m sticking to it.
    So NO is my answer to this bond under this administration!!

  3. Adoile Turner III says:

    ive been teaching for HISD for 4 year and simply no. HISD is losing 10k students a year. They need to consolidate campuses, buy more busses with selloff money. Invest in the campuses that need more help and further promote the schools that are doing well. They do need that amount to upgrade ancient elementary campuses however those campuses are meant to hold almost 800 and most have barely half of that and the trend isnt going in a positive direction decades now.

  4. Andrew Lynch says:

    Way too much money. This Bond is not reasonable

  5. Pingback: One year of the HISD takeover | Off the Kuff

  6. Kenneth J Fair says:

    I strongly support public education. I have voted in favor of every school bond issue that I’ve had the ability to vote for. I absolutely believe that this bond is necessary to carry out repairs in HISD that are long overdue. Under any other circumstances, I’d support it without hesitation.

    But it will be a cold day in hell before I vote for this bond under this “leadership.” Mike Morath stole my vote from me, and I want it back. NOW.

    I gave Miles the benefit of the doubt. I gave the Board of Managers the benefit of the doubt. They have done nothing to earn my trust or good will. Miles has far overstepped his mandate, and the Board of Managers has done nothing to rein him in. Have they voted against *anything* he’s proposed? What good are they?

    You want a bond? Give me back my vote.

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