Abilene ISD Superintendent Heath Burns made his round Tuesday, providing information to potential voters on a proposed $87.7 million bond aimed at improving district schools.
Voters head to the polls in two weeks – on Nov. 5 – to decide the bond’s fate.
In addition to providing information during breakfast meetings with staff at AISD campuses, Burns is giving presentations about the bond at local businesses.
If approved, the school bond would replace and/or repair 11 campuses in AISD. It would cost taxpayers about $48 more per year for 20 years for an average priced home.
With voter turnout expected to be low, Burns is visiting businesses to rally voters to the polls. On Tuesday morning, Burns spoke with at Chamber of Commerce Small Business Development Center.
On Tuesday afternoon, Burns gave a passionate presentation at a “Brown Bag Lunch” public information meeting at Abilene Regional Medical Center. This was one of almost 75 meetings Burns has hosted. The superintendent can’t legally lobby for passage of the bond issues so his presentations are just informational.
"I am allowed to encourage you to vote, to participate,” Dr. Burns said. "Bring people with you to vote, and if it's no, if this issue doesn’t meet your expectations so be it,” Burns said. “Just don't vote alone."
Despite a small crowd, the debate about the school bond was spirited. At least one attendee was in favor of the bond.
“If we're asking our educators to do more with less, who are we really doing a disservice to,” Niccolus Moses said. “I personally feel that's our children."
Another attendee was on the fence and undecided about voting for the bond.
"I had doubts about it,” Jan Dagenhart said. “Are they foolish with the money? You have maintenance men in every school. Why didn't some of these little things get mended?"
"Whether or not the district could fund these types of improvements without necessity of a bond issue, folks I can tell you unequivocally it's not possible,” Burns said.
"You either pay now or you pay later, that's just the way of the world,” Niccolus said.
Burns will host three more meetings on Wednesday. “Breakfast with Burns” takes place before the school day for AISD administration and staff. Next, Burns will be at Rose Park Senior Center which is open to the public. He’ll end at McMurry University which with a presentation for education majors.