Round Rock ISD bond early vote begins; opponents challenge pro-bond donation

Early voting is now underway in Round Rock ISD where more than half a billion dollars is at stake. (CBS Austin)

Early voting is now underway in Round Rock ISD where more than half a billion dollars is at stake.

Supporters say that's what they need to address growth and to prepare for the future, but opponents are focused on getting the state to look into a late donation to the pro-bond campaign.

If all the bonds pass, Round Rock ISD will have $572 million to spend addressing growth and safety, implementing the district's innovation plan and upgrading fine arts and athletics facilities. And supporters of the bonds claim wide support. Catherine Hanna, a former Round Rock school board president leads Classrooms for Kids. She describes bond supporters as follows, "We are business people, we are community members, we are district volunteers, we are parents, we are taxpayers."

Both the Round Rock and Greater Austin Chambers of commerce back the bonds. Steve Stapp, incoming chair of the Round Rock Chamber of Commerce says, “One of the consistent responses we receive from the businesses that we recruit is that one of the primary reasons that they relocate to this community is the high quality education that the Round Rock ISD provides." And Will Coons with the Greater Austin Chamber of commerce chimes in, “Companies actually ask for Round Rock ISD schools by name."

But bond opponents worry businesses may have their own reasons for supporting the bond effort. Don Zimmerman, director of Travis County Taxpayers Union, says, “The largest donors who want to pass the bonds, they're the corporations that are going to profit from legal contracts, architecture contracts, construction, what have you."

And today the group took action against one $7,500 donation made by a political action committee months after the PAC was supposedly dissolved. Zimmerman says, “This ethics complaint against the Betterment of Round Rock Texas PAC is to try to discover where the $7,500 is coming from."

$7,500 Doesn't sound like much in a world where millions are often spent to sway your vote. But it's more than the bond opponents had planned to spend in the entire election.

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