One of the best sayings I've ever heard goes like this: "Education is simply the soul of a society as it passes from one generation to another." These words are as true today as they were in 1924, when G.K. Chesterton wrote them. I find this saying especially meaningful when referenced with the upcoming Robstown High School Improvement Bond Election.
Walking through the hallways of my old high school, one can't help but sense this 50 plus years old facility has seen better days, and truthfully, it doesn't meet the needs of 21st century students. Many parts of Robstown High School are comparatively "third-world" in nature and should not be tolerated by the community, much less the students who attend classes there. Fortunately, the voters of Robstown ISD have an opportunity to do something about this on Tuesday, November 6, 2012.
RISD voters are being asked to approve "the issuance of $12.5 million of bonds to construct, acquire, and equip school buildings, and levying the tax in payment thereof." If approved by voters, this money will be used to address three pressing needs at the high school: (1) new academic classrooms; (2) a new state-of-the-art library; and (3) a new, fully- equipped cafeteria.
A side benefit is that RHS will become a closed campus rather than the spread-out, out-door campus it's been for the past 50 plus years. This will be accomplished by building a multi-story facility that will house a cafeteria/library on the first floor, and academic classrooms on the second, and third floor. This concept has been tried and tested in other Texas schools, and will work well here.
Fortunately, this proposition comes at the right time. Interest rates are the lowest they've been in years-as are construction and labor costs-and, we can take advantage of state and federal assistance when repaying these bonds. No doubt, timing works in our favor; however, if this proposition were decided in May 2013, or at a later date, the district would pay higher interest rates, higher construction and labor costs, and, state and federal assistance may not be available.
One question being asked is, "Why don't we build a brand new high school?" Well, simply put, "We can't afford a brand new high school!" The 40 to 50 million dollars price tag of a new high school is far beyond our means. The $ 12.5 million dollars bond issuance voters are being asked to approve will sufficiently address our high school needs for years to come.
We don't need a new auditorium, gymnasium, baseball/football fields, larger parking lots, or additional administrative space. What we desperately need are academic classrooms; a 21st century library; and a comfortable, spacious, welcoming cafeteria. These improvements will make a world of difference to our students and community.
This election is a tipping-point for Robstown ISD. The question is, "Which direction are we going?" "Do we close our eyes to the wretched conditions at RHS?" or, "Does our generation pass on a better high school to following generations?" I have faith the voters of Robstown ISD will make the right decision and offer them my thanks for believing in our kids.
Osvaldo Romero, president
Robstown ISD Board of Trustees