AMARILLO - Amarillo schools could see close to $100 million worth of improvements in the near future, but taxpayers first have to decide if they want to pay the price in a bond election next month.
Security and expansion are the two main issues this bond would tackle if passed.
The school board says the upgrades are vital and now is the best time to buy.
"This is an important bond that we feel needs to get passed," co-chair of Citizens for Our Schools, Our children, and Our Future Aaron Pan said.
$99,450,000 is the price Amarillo will have to pay in order to keep up with the steady growth of the city and keep children safe.
Pan is one of 25 people who determined what needs the school district had and found 13 elementary schools with insufficient security.
Almost $9 million of the bond would go to redesigning those schools' entrances and installing cameras and new locks.
"It not only helps expand security in our school district, but it also helps expand opportunity and allows for future growth and also sustainability," Pan said.
The district would get rid of its 156 portables and expand schools to make way for 87 new classrooms.
A new elementary school would go up by Caprock, and sixth graders at Austin and Bowie middle schools would get their own separate campuses.
School board member Jim Austin says the upgrades are necessary and now is the time to make them.
"Because the interest rates are at an all time low, this is the opportunity of a life time for the school district," Austin said.
If approved the bond would cost $17.50 per $100,000 of property value.
A bargain compared to the 2003 bond that cost more than twice that amount thanks to high interest rates.
"This allows us to take appropriate steps for growth in the future, which we feel like over the next five years it's possible that we could have as many as 37,000 children in our school district," Austin said.
Early voting starts April 29th, and election day is May 11th.
If you're not registered to vote you have until April 11th to do so.