LEANDER, Texas - For those who supported the Leander ISD bond proposals, the cold rain that fell Wednesday was a good reflection of their mood.
"We asked the community a question and they answered the question," said Superintendent Bruce Gearing,
The Tuesday election night disappointment, according to Gearing, will now require big adjustments. "So, we know we have to regroup, we have to understand what happened and how to go forward," he said.
Leander ISD voters rejected two bond issues, and approved one.
LISD Bond Election Results
PROP A $727.2 MILLION
- NO= 50.54%
- YES= 49.46%
PROP B $33.2 MILLION
- YES= 52.02%
- NO= 47.98%
PROP C $11.6 MILLON
- NO = 51.92%
- YES= 48.08%
The Prop B bond will purchase new technology. Performing arts centers were to be refurbished by the $11 million Prop C. The largest hit was on the $727 million Prop A.
The money from Prop A was for construction projects, such as replacing the district's small alternative school with a new brick and mortar campus and addressing growing enrollment, like what's happening at Larkspur Elementary. The entire 4th grade is in portable buildings and the school is only two years old.
The ballot box rejection for some is no surprise. The vote came during a controversial period facing many school districts. There have been recent protests by LISD parents who pushed back on mask mandates and have voiced concerns regarding critical race theory.
The turnout in the northwest part of Travis County with Leander ISD schools apparently flipped what first looked like a narrow win into a loss for Prop A and C. The Austin part of LISD produced a solid no vote. Ballot confusion involving Austin's police funding Prop A may have been a factor.
Steiner Ranch businessman Rick Nordin, however, had a different thought about that. "I don't believe so, I think honestly people are weary about spending too much money. The economy is still not as robust as people hope it would be, so keeping money in reserves is probably a better thing to do," he said.
The district issued a list of options on how to pay for essential projects which includes:
- using its fund balance (essentially the district's savings account)
- staff cuts or other types of adjustments
- redrawing attendance zones
- more portable classrooms
- calling another bond election
"I definitely think that we will consider that we will go back to bond in May," said Gearing.
The superintendent also made it clear job cuts are not high on his list of options. Voters like Paula Schwierking say they understand the situation LISD is in and supports the idea of another vote.
"Yeah, because they need the money, so yeah they should," said Schwierking.
Before any decision is made on what’s next, the Leander ISD school board will first have to certify the election results, a critical move considering how close the election was with Prop A losing by only 215 votes. The School Board meeting is set for the November 15.
Election Results: Prop A fails, state constitutional amendments pass
Voters to consider $772M Leander ISD bond in November election
Leander ISD school board votes to keep school mask mandate
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