Live Oak, Texas – Across Texas, making schools safer is on the ballot in this November’s election.
Judson ISD board members began discussing additional security measures after the Robb Elementary shooting on May 24.
The discussion resulted in a $345.3 million election bond, with a tax rate increase of $0.01.
“The board and I were very conscious of making sure that this was not a burden on our community and our stakeholders,” said Dr. said Jeanette Ball, Judson ISD Superintendent of Schools. “That $0.01 would be roughly $15 a year for a $150,000 home, so it’s a minimal tax increase.”
Voters will decide on two proposals, Prop A and Prop B.
Prop A, which would benefit 21 schools, addresses safety and security, including radios for police officers.
“We’ve all learned a lot from Uvalde and to be able to communicate and make sure we’re all on the same frequency,” Ball said. “(Prop A) includes everything from updating the fence, updating the cameras, updating the technology for the cameras (and) making sure we have a secure entrance.”
According to Ball, the cameras and security alone cost more than $3 million. But it’s not just to prevent shootings.
“It’s also about keeping our students safe, whether it’s fights or bullying,” Ball said. “The more cameras we have, the better investigations we can do, the better we can monitor our students, bring them up and see who’s really at fault.”
Prop A also includes installing air conditioning systems in some school gymnasiums.
“Six of our gyms don’t have air conditioning,” Ball said. “It’s very difficult to secure a gym when you have to keep all the doors open for ventilation. But if we want to air-condition our gym, we can close those doors and keep our students safe on our campus instead of leaving all the doors open.”
Prop B of the 2022 bond includes busing and new elementary and middle schools, as enrollment increases by 1,200 students this year.
“Our goal is not to be portable but to have a building where all of our students can live under one roof,” Ball said.
After last year’s failed bond election, Ball said the need and costs have also increased.
“Last year, we were going to build a middle school, and it was $70 million to build that exact middle school. Right now, it’s $120 million,” Ball said.
If the bond passes, Ball said the bidding process will begin immediately.
“We already have quotes,” Ball said. “We have things that we can take to the board, approve our bonds, sell the bonds and start making changes and changes right away.”
For more information about the 2022 bond, including campus-specific projects, click here.
Find the latest election coverage from KSAT and Voter Guides here
Copyright 2022 by KSAT – All Rights Reserved.