Winners & losers in Round Rock ISD school bond election mull future
The Round Rock school board is focused today on the end of the school year. But it will need to regroup after all three of their school bond proposals were voted down on Saturday
The district had half a billion dollars in projects riding on this vote. $572 million to be exact.
The district said the bonds were necessary to maintain what they have and position the district for the future. But opponents saw what to them appeared to be unlimited dollars with limited benefits.
Ask the people who were on the winning side on Saturday and they’ll tell you they won because their message had the widest appeal. Don Zimmerman heads the Travis County Taxpayers Union, one of the groups in the coalition. He says, “Everyone from liberal progressive democrats to conservative libertarian Republicans were opposing this. There was a broad base of opposition.”
The opposition managed to brand the bonds as waste. Zimmerman says, “I think people are upset with the wastefulness and the extravagance and they don’t agree with the strategic vision of subsidizing Round Rock city development.”
And at the top of their waste list was Prop 3 which included a new district swimming facility. Zimmerman says, “Swimming pools don’t educate kids. Then when the truth came out the pool was part of Round Rock’s city economic development and part of their strategic vision for growing the city of Round Rock, we said why are school taxpayers subsidizing Round Rock city growth?”
Meanwhile—Round Rock ISD says it’s focused on graduation; then they’ll look at what to do about the failed bonds. Spokesman Corey Ryan says, “Our top priority moving forward will be the $79 million for capital renewal and replacement that were in proposition one. Those are needed to keep our buildings working at a high level.”
A long term solution will take time. After all it took two and a half years to get these bonds before the voters. Ryan says, “Well you know our board has to take a good look at where they are at and where they’re feeling. They are our elected governing body here in Round Rock ISD. They’re an at large board.”
The at-large board may be the bond opponents’ next target. A unanimous school board approved putting the bonds before the voters. Saturday’s results suggest the members may be out of touch with at least some parts of the school district.