In the small town of Rankin (estimated population less than 800), Rankin Independent School District is asking taxpayers to approve $123 million in school bonds, including a $12 million bond to buy the local golf course.
Located an hour south of Midland in the West Texas desert, Rankin ISD has two schools—an elementary school for pre-kindergarten through fifth grade and a high school for grades 6-12—serving less than 300 students.
Rankin ISD has placed four bonds totaling $123 million on the November ballot.
Proposition A – $105 million for new school buildings and renovations to existing ones, new buses and district vehicles, and upgrades to technology and security infrastructure
Proposition B – $12 million for buying, renovating, and equipping the county golf course
Proposition C – $2 million for new computers
Proposition D – $4 million for building teacher housing
If approved, Rankin ISD residents will have to repay these bonds, with interest, through increased taxes.
This wouldn’t be the first time a Texas school district buys a golf course (or builds teacher housing).
The notoriously corrupt La Joya ISD drew the ire of citizens when it used millions in district funds to renovate a 27-hole golf course and build a waterpark.
Oftentimes, the downfall of expensive district projects is the cost of the upkeep required to maintain the facility.
Currently, Golf Texas says the Rankin golf course is “not the stuff golf dreams are made of.”
If there is such a thing as a “ghost course” in the same sense as a “ghost town,” Rankin Country Club fits the image perfectly. Set on the east side of town, there are no fairways and the clubhouse looks like it hasn’t been used in a long, long, long time.
However, although the fairways “wasted away in the heat many moons ago,” according to Golf Texas, the greens “are in great shape.”
Rankin ISD wants to use the course to host tournaments and practices for their golf teams.
Across Texas, there is $15 billion in school bonds on the November ballot; the full list can be found here.
Early voting is ongoing and ends November 4. Election Day is November 8.
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