Leander ISD to seek community feedback on bond plans

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Bond package planning for Leander ISD continues to advance, according to a district update during the board of trustees meeting Thursday night.

According to demographic data, the school district has grown by more than 5,000 students and is projected to grow by another 6,000 in the next five years. The district’s board of trustees formed a bond advisory steering committee in January to develop a three- to five-year facility plan, which is expected to include three elementary schools and one middle school.

If the district decides to hold a bond election in November, the trustees will have to call it by Aug. 21.

Chief Facilities and Operations Officer Jimmy Disler said the district’s steering committee, which has been tasked with accepting recommendations from subcommittees and administration on what projects the district would like to pursue over the next few years. Recommendations have focused on five interest areas—elementary needs, middle school needs, high school needs, technology needs and ancillary needs, which include athletic, science, arts and other support facilities.

The steering committee will present some of their preliminary thoughts to board members during the June 15 meeting, according to Superintendent Dan Troxell. Present for the meeting will be Robert Stein, a Rice University researcher working with the school district to analyze the bond research.

“Then he will go out to the community and survey our community based on the preliminary thoughts of both the steering committee and board comments that he hears,” Troxell said.

Stein will bring back feedback on what community members would like to see in a potential bond package, as well as what level of support there might be for a bond.

An official dollar amount has not yet been proposed, as Troxell said staff will likely not know the dollar amount until after community surveys are complete.

Troxell said he spoke with the steering committee during their meeting on May 31. He said they discussed ways the committee can prioritize projects, starting with looking at safety needs.

“It’s very easy to look at wants,” Troxell said. “There’s a lot of things that people want in a bond package. What we were trying to establish is what are the needs that we need in the next four to five years and get the community to think about it that way.”

Board trustee Trish Bode asked how a bond might impact tax rates for the community. Board Trustee Aaron Johnson said there is no formal commitment through a bond passage that “ties the district or taxpayers to any particular tax rate.”

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