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School security upgrades, modernizing campuses part of $1.3 billion Garland ISD bond proposition

The district says the cost to the average Garland homeowner would work out to be less than $15 each month.

GARLAND, Texas — Garland ISD is an aging district, more than 100 years old and with a number of its buildings built before WWII.

So, district leaders are asking voters to approve a nearly $1.3 billion bond package -- the largest in district history -- to upgrade security, technology and buildings.

“When communities invest in their school district, their communities thrive,” Superintendent Ricardo López said on Inside Texas Politics. “And when communities thrive, cities just go through the roof. We see that across the DFW area.”

There are three propositions making up the package before voters, and residents from across the district helped select the improvements.

Proposition A is easily the largest, $1.1 Billion, and focuses on building and security enhancements -- including adding ballistic film on glass. This security feature has taken on new significance after surveillance footage revealed the killer in a recent school massacre in Nashville entered the building after shooting through glass doors and walking through.

“What we want to do is buy time, keep our kids safe and put a film on there that makes that glass not shatter as easily. It gets responders there with enough time to be able to mitigate any threat that we have,” López told us.

Other security improvements include new cameras, lighting and perimeter fencing around many exposed playgrounds.

And López says parents are also excited about getting rid of portable classrooms.

“We have 47 elementary schools and those that have portables with students are now going to have wings which provides a nice, safe and secure environment for our kids,” he said.

Part of the money would also be used to consolidate eight elementary schools into four larger campuses. Otherwise, it has become too much to keep those older campuses afloat.

“So, we’re looking at eight buildings to consolidate into four and create updated learning environments that are fiscally responsible, energy efficient and great places to learn for teaching and our students as well,” said the Superintendent.

Proposition B would build multi-program activity centers at all high school campuses that could, for instance, be used by a marching band during bad weather.

Proposition C involves technology improvements -- including new devices for students and teachers.

If all three propositions are passed, it’s estimated homeowners and businesses would see a 6.6 cent increase to their property tax rate. The district says that amounts to less than $15 per month for the average homeowner.

Early voting begins Monday, April 24.

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