We believe every student, regardless of their socioeconomic status, deserves a safe and modern school environment where they can learn and achieve at the highest levels. San Antonio Independent School District’s 2020 bond package is a bold step in the right direction to make that a reality for SAISD students. 

SAISD encompasses more than 90 schools and serves more than 48,000 students in the heart of our city. In recent years, the district has done tremendous work and made substantial strides in both the professional development of its teachers and staff and giving students the very best in academic opportunities both inside and outside of the classroom. 

We want our high-achieving teachers, staff, and students to be equipped with the buildings, facilities, and safety and technology components they deserve. We also can’t deny that neighborhoods within the district are steadily growing. An investment in our schools today will continue to attract families to promote even more growth in our city’s urban core. 

The bond package is comprised of two propositions, A and B, to completely renovate some of the district’s oldest and largest schools, finish out other schools that have received partial updates in prior bonds, and provide more than 90 schools with updated safety and technology systems.

If passed, both propositions will be implemented without a tax rate increase. The ballot language, however, will state otherwise because of the passage of House Bill 3 (HB3) in 2019. HB3, a robust bipartisan initiative, substantially increased state funding for public schools but, as a compromise for the increased funding, requires all bond propositions in the state of Texas to include the language, “This is a property tax increase.”

Based on current projections, voters will not see an increase to the tax rate from this election, but the statute nonetheless requires that the language be included. SAISD’s 2020 bond is the first bond ballot in the City of San Antonio to be affected by this new ballot language. A yes vote for both propositions gets our district one step closer to becoming a national model urban school district grounded in a commitment to equity and excellence for all kids in San Antonio. 

The bond package will touch buildings that have not been renovated in more than 50 years. Some buildings’ infrastructures are nearly 30 years old and some are even older. The Advanced Learning Academy at Euclid was built in 1886, Lamar was built in 1924, and Young Women’s Leadership Academy was built in 1935, just to name a few. 

As the buildings have aged, so too have their resources for the students that work, play, and learn within their walls. Because the district is made up of such diverse facilities, the financial impact of the bond plays a critical role in equalizing opportunities for students across campuses. 

To create a state-of-the-art district that gives all students an equal chance to succeed we must invest in our schools and our kids now. From an overhaul of original historic buildings, to modernizing classrooms (including math and science labs, music rooms, and theater arts spaces), to upgrading safety and technology systems, to developing more outdoor play areas, the need is substantial. And although the bond will renovate, finish out and upgrade facilities, it serves so much more than the infrastructure – it serves our students and provides a launching pad for their future success. 

We want the district’s facilities to be functional and sustainable so that our motivated students are given everything they need to succeed in the classroom and throughout their educational journeys. Technology is at the forefront of our ability to create those opportunities. With this bond, the district can install interior and exterior security cameras, implement high-speed connectivity in every classroom, install interactive smartboards throughout campuses, and offer more devices to students who wouldn’t otherwise have access. 

More than ever, we’ve seen disparity between communities, schools, and families, giving us even more reason to help our district and our students rise to the top. The bond will help schools move forward – it will help move more people forward, and we can’t let our students down. During times of need, it becomes even more critical to give all students equal opportunities to pave their own path and build promising futures. 

Education is the ultimate equalizer. It breaks systemic cycles for families and provides young people with countless opportunities to achieve, get ahead, and succeed. Schools play a critical role in that process. The SAISD bond package will deliver on the need to give all students the modern, safe, and technologically advanced resources they deserve. 

Let’s vote yes for both propositions listed at the bottom of the ballot on Nov. 3 to give students in San Antonio’s urban core an abundance of opportunities so they can achieve at even higher levels. 

San Antonio Report is a nonpartisan news organization and does not support or endorse political candidates or ballot propositions.

Mario A. Barrera is the co-chair of the San Antonio Independent School District’s Blue Ribbon Task Force and is co-chair of Citizens for Quality SAISD Schools. He is a district resident and practices...

Victoria Moreno-Herrera is the co-chair of the San Antonio Independent School District’s Blue Ribbon Task Force and is co-chair of Citizens for Quality SAISD Schools. She is an SAISD parent and district...