Tuesday, November 11, 2008
DALLAS -- The $79.5 million school bond that would have built a new high school in Dallas failed by a resounding margin on election night.
The Dallas School District Board believed the construction bond request placed on the Nov. 4 general election ballot was the best way to relieve overcrowding in all of its schools. But opposition against the bond had been strong in the community.
The measure failed by more than a 2-to-1 margin, with 68.4 percent of voters saying "no" in final election night results.
"The failure of the school bond does not take away the need," Dallas School Superintendent Christy Perry said.
If the bond had passed, a new high school would have been built on the corner of Fir Villa Road and Ellendale Avenue, with a targeting opening date of fall 2011. The old high school facility would have been converted into the district's middle school, and the existing LaCreole Middle School would have become a fourth elementary school.
However, the bond would have added $2.42 per $1,000 of assessed taxable value to the 1993 district bond rate of $1.67 per $1,000 for a total maximum rate of $4.09 per $1,000. Once the 1993 bond expired in 2012, the total maximum tax rate of $4.09 per $1,000 would have continued throughout the life of the new bond.
Perry said she was not totally optimistic on election day, but did not expect the margin of defeat to be so wide.
As for the reasons why the levy failed, Perry said she expected that many residents believed building a new elementary school at less cost was the best option. Incorrect information circulated by some opponents and a tough economy may also be to blame, she said.
"I think it was the economic times and I really believe there was a good deal of misinformation," Perry said.
She said many saw the price tag and thought the district wanted to build an elaborate high school, but this was not the case.
"We want to build right and we want to build conservative," Perry said.
Now that the bond has been defeated, nothing is yet in the works to relieve the overcrowding, which is worst at the middle school and elementary school levels.
"The bottom line is the (outcome) doesn't take away the need," Perry said.