Opposition to Round Rock ISD $572 million bond

Round Rock ISD wants voters to pass a $572 million bond. But, some parents and taxpayers are calling it "wasteful." They launched a campaign Wednesday in opposition.

If approved, the district says it would address growth, safety and innovation - impacting all students. Not everyone agrees.

The fate of a $572 million bond package is now at the hands of voters. Three propositions - which includes a new elementary school, a new high school, additional classrooms on 6 campuses and a visual and performing arts center.

"When you loan money in the lending world, you have to have a plan for that project. There are no detailed plans whatsoever for any of the projects. So that's what troubles me a lot," says Edmund Buckley, Round Rock Parents and Taxpayers Association.

The Travis County Taxpayers Union was at Round Rock ISD headquarters Wednesday to launch a campaign in opposition. The Round Rock Parents and Taxpayers Association is also fighting back. They call the bond tax proposals: wasteful, questionable and dishonest.

"$45 million a year. Someone in the district is going to have to pay. That's not going to be just a couple of dollars per household. That is a lot of money," says John Gordon, prominent bond opponent.

Round Rock ISD firmly states that the added cost to taxpayers is $2.23 a month. They stress they are credible on how they forecast numbers and pay down debt.

"For example: we pay 56 percent of principal and interest on due debt in the first ten years of a bond. That means we are not paying as much interest in the life of that bond as you would. That allows us to pass on savings to the district and to our taxpayers in our district. One of the other strategies that we use is, we use multiple bond sales," sayd Corey Ryan, Round Rock ISD.

The bond addresses the needs at all 54 campuses. Issues were submitted by each principal. It was well over $900 million but those projects were vetted and they came down to the final figure of $572 million.

"When you have 48,000 students like we've got now, the next few years that's projected to be 52,000, the needs don't go away. So you can't just kick the can down the road," says Ron Buffum, chair, Citizens Bond Committee.

In the end, those opposed hope some type of agreement can be reached.

"We do support the schools but we need to vote this bond down. This has basically escalated costs and diluted benefits. So we need to vote the bond down and then we can go back, they can go back, to the drawing boards. We can come back with a slimmed down package," says Patrick McGuinness, Round Rock Parents and Taxpayers Association.

The bond election is set for May 6th.

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