Houston ISD’s appointed board of managers signaled the district’s intention to move forward with a multi-billion dollar bond package this November. 

At its recent board meeting, the board members voted to allow Superintendent Mike Miles and his administration to use district resources that would be refunded to the general fund by future bond proceeds and to begin developing a November 2024 bond package. 

In 2012, voters approved a $1.89 billion bond for the district with projects finally wrapping up completion in 2019. That bond was intended to replace and repair 40 schools and ultimately ended up running $200 million over its projected budget.

A 2016 audit found that increased construction costs due to a building boom in Houston led to cost overruns, and there were still other issues like incomplete project assumptions, weak or nonexistent policies surrounding budget development, and inconsistent bid evaluations, as well as a lack of programmatic specifics, conceptual planning, and overall expectations. 

At the most recent board meeting, community members under the banner of “#NoTrustNoBond” showed up to testify against the tentative proposal and have also formed an online group to rally opposition as the district moves forward.

Since no bond details have been made public, most opposition was against Miles more than the bond itself. 

While the district hasn’t said how much a proposed bond would be, a local paper reported that a recent Moody’s investor service credit opinion said the district expects a package between $3.5 and $5 billion.

Charles Blain

Charles Blain is the president of Urban Reform and Urban Reform Institute. A native of New Jersey, he is based in Houston and writes on municipal finance and other urban issues.