Friday, August 27, 2010

Big bond happening to the south

There's always been a bit of competition between sister cities Amarillo and Lubbock when it comes to the public sector. Sorta of what one does, the other will attempt to follow.

Red light cameras, of course, being an exception.

But the Lubobck ISD could be getting a big face-lift if voters in November approve a $198 million bond issue. The Lubbock school board accepted the recommendation of a citizens committee this week to call for an election that trustees say will improve every school in that district without raising taxes, the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal has reported.

One of the biggest items among the recommendations — and certain to be the most emotional for voters — is $34 million to build two new elementary schools that each would consolidate two existing schools.

The new schools are part of the school and academic improvements part of the bond package, which totals $106 million and makes up about 53 percent of the bond package. The rest of the improvements include general capital improvements and school expansions and renovations.

Another part of the bond package that is likely to be controversial is expansion of high school cafeterias to accommodate the students who now go off-campus to have lunch. High school lunch periods would be closed, and students would stay on campus to eat.

The arts and athletics part of the package includes new elementary school playgrounds, renovations to middle school and high school athletic facilities, renovations to Lowrey Field (let's hope that includes a new press box in place of the decaying one) and making the stadium compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, and renovations to all four high school auditoriums.

The final part of the bond package is instructional technology.

The aggressive manner the school district has paid down bond indebtedness in recent years is the reason the new bonds can be issued without raising taxes, school board president James Arnold said.

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