AP NEWS

Conroe ISD lagging in early results

May 5, 2019

Early results show voters appear poised to strike down a $807 million bond for the Conroe Independent School district, according to preliminary results from the Montgomery County Elections office.

Roughly an hour after polls closed Saturday, nearly 53 percent of the votes were against the measure and 47 percent for it. Officials were seeking the money to build four new campuses, upgrade and renovate the 4,100-student Conroe High School, among other projects at seven other campuses.

Supporters argue the proposal addresses Conroe’s rapid growth in enrollment - projected to rise from 64,200 to 76,560 over the next decade; needed updates to several of its secondary schools. But opponents had said the tax rate, combined with rapidly rising property values, would overburden homeowners. They also considered some of the projects being unnecessary or that they should be paid out of other district budgets.

Voters in seven Greater Houston school districts were deciding Saturday whether to approve $3.6 billion in bonds to keep up with constantly-growing enrollments, renovate older facilities, among other upgrades.

Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District, the state’s third largest public school district, was seeking a $1.76 billion package out of which nearly $1 billion would go to building renovations. Another $250 million is for a new elementary and middle school, an administration building and a performing arts center. And $350 million to pay for technology, security and transportation upgrades.

The proposition was expected to pass as voters have approved all six bonds sought over the past 20 years and there was no organized opposition to this year.

In most cases, the bonds will likely result in tax increases for voters, though many residents would only see a nominally rise.

School districts use bonds to finance costs associated with facility construction, transportation vehicles, technology upgrades, and other capital purchases. The bond money cannot be used to pay for staff salaries, employee benefits or other day-to-day operation costs.

Jacob Carpenter contributed to this report.

perla.trevizo@chron.com