Garland ISD Citizen Bond Committee recommends November election

After two months of deliberation, Garland ISD’s Citizen Bond Committee (CBC) recommended a November election to the Board of Trustees at Tuesday night’s work session in the Harris Hill Administration Building. CBC Co-chairs Stan Luckie and Tony Torres presented a $448-million proposal, which addresses aging facilities, student safety and 21st-century education. Under the currently proposed use, all 85 GISD facilities would receive building and technology upgrades.

Specific provisions include:

  • Remodeling front entrances to make campuses more secure
  • New fire alarms, fire sprinklers, security cameras and access control systems
  • Americans with Disabilities Act renovations
  • Improvements to current technology infrastructure, upgraded wireless connectivity and additional devices for students
  • Roof repairs
  • Replacing windows, air conditioning units and heating systems
  • New lights, bathrooms and concessions at high school baseball and softball fields to meet federal law requirements

Trustees must decide by Aug. 18 whether to add a bond proposal to the Nov. 4 general election ballot, seeking approval from Garland ISD voters.

The CBC’s recommendation takes into consideration a recent assessment conducted by independent school facilities experts. More than 70 percent of GISD buildings are 24-77 years old, and the facilities assessment identified more than $1.7 billion in maintenance and construction needs throughout the district. This list does not reflect the routine maintenance GISD regularly performs on district buildings. It is a result of mechanical, electrical, heating and cooling systems reaching the end of their life cycles, as well as changing state and federal standards and regulation. Helping to determine priorities, the $448-million CBC proposal represents those needs deemed most critical–approximately one-third of the overall total.

The recommendation also considered GISD’s Strategic Plan, created this spring through the collaboration of more 2,000 students, staff, parents, clergy, business leaders and community members. A shared vision for the district’s future, the plan states GISD will provide a safe and secure learning environment, as well as equal access to quality educational resources that promote collaboration, adaptability, goal-setting, critical thinking and innovation.

With approximately $378 million reserved for building and technology upgrades, the remaining $70 million would fund educational opportunities for district students.

  • Garland ISD offers approximately 200 Career and Technical Education (CTE) courses at seven high schools and 12 middle schools. But available courses vary with each campus. A CTE facility would allow students to explore new interests regardless of their school. It would also provide the capacity to implement new programs or expand existing ones. Possible offerings include animation, architecture, business, computer maintenance, culinary arts, engineering, graphic communication, health sciences and photography. Classes would be offered in morning or afternoon sessions
  • Garland ISD received its fifth-consecutive Best Communities for Music Education designation in March. Expanding band and choir accommodations at the secondary level would allow for program growth and increased Fine Arts enrollment

If an election is called and voters approve the bond package, GISD would adopt a property tax rate increase in the future. This would have no impact on the homesteads of district residents aged 65 and older, because their tax rates can be capped once senior citizen exemptions are filed with the appropriate county appraisal district.

GISD estimates that its tax rate increase would be phased in over a six-year period, resulting in approximately $198 more in taxes for the owner of a $100,000 home. Because of the district’s strong fiscal management practices, GISD has been able to maintain the second-lowest property tax rate of the 16 school districts in Dallas County.

Visit the Citizen Bond Committee web page for more information.