Highland Park ISD $130 million bond to help expand and grow the district

VIDEO: Highland Park ISD $130 million bond to help expand and grow the district
Published: Mar. 31, 2023 at 6:04 PM CDT
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AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - The Highland Park ISD is proposing a $130 million bond to help grow the district’s facilities, and enrollment numbers this May.

“The district has lost some enrollment to the tune of about 130 students since the pandemic and the loss of students also causes a loss in in funding,” said Jimmy Hannon, Superintendent of Highland Park ISD.

The combined $130 million proposed bond will add a new elementary school, with after school care options, a career and technology facility, fields for baseball and softball. and upgrade tech for students and staff.

“We just want to find ways to be able to improve that and make Highland Park and make it more competitive with with our neighbors because we don’t want to end up in a situation where our kids are choosing to go somewhere else because they can access a better education in one of the neighboring districts. So again, we have to ask how do we make Highland Park more sustainable, How do we make it thrive and continue to serve future generations of kiddos,” said Hannon.

Highland Park’s superintendent believes expanding will help the district grow.

“We want to continue to grow the school and help it thrive into the future. But it’s how do we get from where we are today to three to five to 10 years down the road and hopefully be able to maintain that steady growth,” said Hannon.

Hannon added recent staff reduction and program cuts make bad timing for the election.

However, he says expanding and offering more opportunities is vital to keep programs running in the future.

“We see a potential for doubling or possibly more the enrollment in the district. And again with increased enrollment comes increased funding and more opportunities for our kids,” said Hannon.

Some parents and homeowners say they are “unsure whether or not they are for it.”

Others stand with the district, saying though they are “upset with the district’s decision they believe “the district wants to grow to its full potential.”

“It is a big ask for this school district. Increasing taxes to any extent we understand that no one wants their taxes to increase. We look at it as a potential long term investment in the school and obviously the kids for a number of generations to come,” said Hannon. “Growing the community, that’s something that this district has never really had, being able to have a community that is thriving and growing, that provides more opportunities for our kids, and hopefully more lifelong success for each and every one of them.”

If the bond passes, homeowners in the district will pay around 1$0 for a home valued at $100 thousand.

“We have a lot of business and industrial property currently. About 97 percent of this tax burden would be paid by business and industry. About two and a half percent would be paid by people that actually own a residence in the district or residential property. Then about a half a percent or so is agricultural property, our farmers and ranchers and people like that,” said Hannon.

Hannon says the district is also gaining five new businesses, which will add nearly 4,000 jobs.

He also added the land already the district has purchased north of the Amazon warehouse on Lakeside Dr. has plans to also create up to 800 new homes, which can help retain student enrollment and increase the number of homeowners, as it is currently less than five percent of the district.

Early voting begins April 24, and election day is May 6.

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