Huntsville Independent School District facilities could be getting several upgrades, including security and technology enhancements, if voters in the district approve Proposition A in the upcoming election next month.
The $127 million bond includes a $92 million proposition for academic facility enhancements and $35 million towards the construction of a new athletic stadium. Voters last passed a bond issue in 1998.
However, one of the most overlooked portions of the bond package is an increased focus on security and technology.
Proposition A will not only renovate the structural components of the district’s elementary and middle schools, but will also allow the district to reimagine its safety measures and upgrade its technology to 21st century standards at all campuses — something that lags on the older campuses.
“We’ve been able to do a lot of retrofitting when it comes to technology,” Huntsville ISD Superintendent Dr. Scott Sheppard said. “Technology is proudly one of the things that Huntsville ISD has been on the front edge of for quite some time, but aging facilities and aging infrastructure deteriorates everything from simple things like electrical capacity to the number of outlets available in a classroom.”
According to Sheppard, new school bonds could help pay for computing devices and internet connectivity that schools across the country needed to operate remote learning during the coronavirus pandemic. School officials say that even more technology will be needed over the next decade as learning transitions from books to interactive devices.
“This is another way that we can save current operation dollars, by moving some of our technology expenses over to the debt side of our budget,” Sheppard added. “That would enable us to keep more money in our operations budget for people and programs.”
Another focus with the academic upgrades will include multiple safety and security enhancements, building everything from new security vestibules to state-of-the-art camera systems.
“We know that in our current era safety and security is incredibly important and necessary, so in every campus we will make safety and security improvements to the physical building,” Sheppard noted.
Early voting in the 2021 Huntsville ISD Bond election will begin April 19 at the Walker County Storm Shelter, with Election Day on May 1. The deadline to register to vote is April 1.