RISD bond meeting at LHHS Wednesday

RISD bond meeting at LHHS Wednesday

Richardson ISD officials have solicited community input via a 22-meeting 2016 Bond Listening Tour, they’ve worked for 6 weeks with a Growth Reflector Committee, and they’ve held community meetings in each of the four high school feeder patterns (the LH meeting was held Wednesday night). But stakeholders will have one last chance to give input to school board members before trustees finalize bond details. An RISD survey will go out Tuesday.

Most of what’s in the $437 million bond is set, but $41 million was set aside to handle rapid enrollment growth in Lake Highlands, particularly in the White Rock area. On Tuesday, the district finalized purchase of a $4.5 million property at White Rock Trail and Walnut Hill, but neighbors are balking at use of the site for an elementary school based on traffic and safety issues.

Others prefer construction of a 5th/6th grade school, something RISD has not previously done and will not match in other feeder patterns.

“When the reflector committee first came together,” explained RISD Deputy Superintendent of Instruction Dr. Jeannie Stone Wednesday, “everything was on the table.” In addition to building a K-6 or a 5th/6th, she said, two more “compliments to these options” are still being considered: building onto current campuses and having a magnet school in LH.

The wording of the survey will be finalized at Monday night’s board meeting, and RISD will distribute it widely via HOAs, their RISD.org website and their School Times electronic newsletter.

So what plan will trustees choose? Will they make a decision before Election Day May 7th?

“I don’t have a crystal ball,” said trustee and LH resident Justin Bono. “Frankly, I’m a little over-caffeinated from all the coffee I’ve had with PTA presidents and others, talking about all this. If it were an easy decision, it would already be made. As a board, we’re looking at a generational decision for our neighborhood. We’d love to have a decision by May 7th, but if we’re not ready, we’ll keep working. I’m excited to have placeholder funds there. I’m thrilled as a board member, but also as a Lake Highlands resident. I choose to see this as a positive – we have the money.”

“You’ve trusted RISD to educate your children, and we appreciate your trust,” continued Bono. “We are second only to Frisco in student growth in the Metroplex. We could rest on past successes, but that’s not what we plan to do. Hopefully you’ll see our call for this bond as our belief in the future and the future of our students.”

Early voting begins Monday, April 25th. Questions may be directed via email to bond@risd.org or 469-593-VOTE.