Voters have less than two weeks to vote “yes” or “no” for the Robinson Independent School District Bond.
Junior high teachers are begging Robinson homeowners to vote for the $31.5 million bond to build a new junior high school. They say the money would help them have basic things – such as real fire alarms, a main office to monitor who comes in and out of the buildings and new bathrooms that work.
“I have been in this building, let’s see……for 16 years,” says Amber Clemons, Robinson Junior High 7th Grade Math Teacher. “I’d just like for them to be able to have a building that you walk into and do kind of think, ‘This is where I go to school.'”
Clemons says the current building is not it. It was built in 1969.
“White floors, the cinderblock walls……We have a breezeway that covers, and you think, ‘Oh, when it’s raining you could just walk under the breezeway.’ But that’s really just an optical illusion,” Clemons says.
It is no argument this needs an upgrade. The bond would improve and repurpose the existing junior high campus and close off corridors to keep students under one roof – making if about half new construction and half renovation – all while school is in session.
However, it is going to be costly.
“I completely understand that when you’re talking about money that you’re working hard to earn that. You have to make very careful considerations,” Clemons says.
The $31.5 million bond would raise taxes by a little over 18 cents – meaning a home appraised at $125,000 would have a tax impact of $15.56 a month.
No one against the bond would talk with FOX44 on camera, but on a Robsinson neighborhood page some homeowners say the district is not clear enough on where every penny will go.
“We do still have bonds that were paying on, so I’ve heard lots of people actually say, ‘Can we wait til we get those paid off? That happens in five years.’ Well just a few years ago, we could’ve built an intermediate and a junior high for just a little bit more than what it would cost. So if we wait five years until those bonds are paid off, yes. You’re gonna save money in this immediate time because we didn’t pass a bond. But then if we do it in five years, that building that’s gonna cost us a little over $30 million now….it’s obviously going to cost a lot more,” Clemons says.
Some people still think the money could be misused. Texas state law says bond money can not be used for personnel or daily school operating costs.
“I understand that it’s a tough decision and that it means you’re gonna have to make sacrifices, but I just think the kids are worth it. They’re just worth it,” Clemons says.
Early voting starts on April 22. The election is this May. If it does not pass, the district would have to wait until November to put it on the next ballot.
There is another board meeting scheduled for this upcoming Monday.