The school bond has passed. And voter turnout for RISD’s $174.6 million bond election in late September was twice the turnout for RISD’s last bond election in 1988.
“I was pleased that we had as many people vote as they did,” says Susan Dacus Wilson, RISD’s assistant to the superintendent for communications and community outreach.
“It shows there is a lot of interest in our school district.”
Just more than 5,000 people voted in the 1988 bond election, and 10,343 people voted this year, Wilson says.
The bond issue won with 59 percent, with 6,107 people voting for it and 4,236 people voting against it. The bond package will pay for needed building additions, upgraded technology and infrastructure adjustments for RISD schools.
A new magnet elementary school and ninth-grade center are planned for Lake Highlands. Construction is pending on the sale of the bonds, says Will Jacob, assistant superintendent for administrative services.
Currently, school board members are preparing for a bond rating from Moody Standard & Poors in early December.
The higher the bond rating, the less interest the school district will have to pay, Jacob says. If the bond rating is received on schedule, the district will sell part of the bonds in early January, Jacob says.
If things go as planned, the first construction to begin in Lake Highlands will be the ninth-grade center in April, Jacob says.
Currently, RISD has hired architects who are working on construction drawings for the new schools and building additions, Jacob says.
Residents will see noticeable changes made this summer, such as new air-conditioning and new parking lots, he says.