Majority of voters in favor of Eanes ISD school bond

 Voters approved a $52.5 million school bond to update Eanes ISD schools.

The Travis County Elections Office reports 65 percent of people who hit the polls voted in favor of the proposal.

"We're very grateful to the community for the support and confidence they've placed in us and we're looking forward to implementing the bond over the next couple of years," said Rob Hargett, president of the school board.

"The other side got their voters out and the people who may have voted for us in the last election, last year, may have voted for the bond this year and vice versa," said Al Cowan, former board president and opponent to the school bond proposal.

Last year, voters rejected the district's $90 million school bond. With a few changes to the proposal, the board was able to cut out almost $40 million this time around, but even with the cuts there was opposition to this year's bond.

"The district combined some things that I think everybody agreed on like keeping our roofs from leaking, keeping air conditioners working, but combined that with projects that we, like I said, didn't think we needed," said Cowan.

"The projects themselves are pretty much focused on critical needs things that will benefit the kids; everything from buses, to technology, to furniture in the classroom, to air conditioner units," said Hargett.

Another reason the proposal might have passed this time around, taxes. Proponents said the bond will not affect taxes, something opponents said is misleading.

"This bond will in no way increase the tax rate. By passing this bond voters are not going to increase their taxes. Taxes may go up irrespective of the bond, but not because of the bond," said Hargett.

"You have to have taxes to pay for bonds and when you add new bonds you've got to have new taxes. So there was a little bit of that, we think, a misleading use of tax increase and tax rate increase that was quite subtle and quite frankly a lot of voters probably missed or didn't understand," said Cowan.

Whether they missed the message or not, in the end, a majority of voters chose to approve the bond and breathe new life into the facilities at Eanes ISD.

The district will start planning for projects this week and hope to start work on facilities over summer break.

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