Voters asked to approve $454 million bond in Leander ISD

Some students at Leander Middle School must use portable classrooms outside the main building, to deal with crowding. (KXAN Photo/Lauren Kravets)

LEANDER, Texas (KXAN) — Leander ISD hasn’t had a bond election in 10 years; since then the district has grown by 11,828 students. All of the growth is why the district says it’s asking voters to approve a $454.4 million bond program.

“Twelve-hundred new students are coming to our district every year, and that’s about the size of an entire middle school every year in terms of comparing that to what we have in the district,” said Leander ISD spokesman Corey Ryan.

The bond program includes:

  • Funding four new schools (three elementary, one middle school)
  • Expanding Vandegrift high school
  • Improving school facilities across the district
  • Adding Career and Technical Education (CTE) facilities at high schools
  • Refreshing outdated technology ($38.7 million)

The bond addresses crowding at Vandegrift High School (VHS), which will exceed 2,800 students. The plan is to give VHS an additional building with 14 new classrooms, increasing capacity from 2,400 to 2,900 students. The bond would also expand grandstands at Monroe Stadium.

The proposition includes $3 million for design and mitigation costs tied to the construction of an access road to improve safety into Vandegrift and Four Points Middle School.

The money would also pay for new secure entrances at some of the middle and high schools — leading guests into one main office. All the current elementary schools have this design. The upgrades would allow schools to lock down parts of their buildings.

Trustees added optional items from the BAC recommendation, including $6.9 million for agriculture facilities at Vandegrift and Glenn high schools, $674,132 for renovations at the Leander High School agriculture facility, $872,109 for additions to the JROTC building at Vista Ridge High School, and $1.1 million for Career Technical Education (CTE) classrooms at Vandegrift and Vista Ridge high schools.

If voters approve the initiative, the District will maintain its existing tax rate of $1.51 per $100 valuation. While the district tax rate won’t increase, most people will still see higher tax bills due to rising property values.

If the bond passes, the district will get a detailed construction timeline by the end of the year, with work on the first projects starting by summer 2018.

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