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Keller ISD Eyes $169.5M Bond Package To Build More Schools

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KELLER (CBSDFW.COM) - Monday was the first day of Early Voting for the November election, and one issue in Keller has people taking sides.

The Keller ISD wants voters to okay its $169.5 million dollar bond package for new schools and improvements.

"I'm worried about the possibility of more portable classrooms in our district," said Holly Syrdal. She is a PTA mom who says you only have to look at Keller High School to see that portable buildings have been there for a decade. "I'm worried about the growth resulting in overcrowding in our schools and higher student-to-teacher ratios. I'm worried about the possibility of more portable classrooms in our district."

Expansion at the high school is one part of the proposed package; so is changing South Keller Intermediate School to a career training facility for high school students. Add in four new schools and an early learning center, figure in safety upgrades and technology infrastructure and the total package comes to $169.5-million. A tough number for some to swallow.

"If the amount proposed was lower, then I would be better with it," Kristen Mangus told CBS 11 News. She feels the projected costs are inflated. "It doesn't seem to be as fiscally responsible---they haven't had any bids on all these different things they've been proposing. If they had worked with local businesses and tried to get better numbers on things," she might give it a second thought, she said.

In another neighborhood, Marie Howard echoed the worries about fiscal accountability. "It makes us one of the ISDs that has the highest debt ratio," she claimed. She also feels spending money on a trade school in the Keller ISD is redundant. "It's kind of a double tax because we're already paying taxes to the Tarrant County College that has awesome trade school opportunities for students coming right out of high school."

But bonds supporters have the higher profile; promotional videos on the ISD web site, a second, independent website dedicated to promoting the bonds, and lots of yard signs. And people like Holly Syrdal. " I fully support Keller ISD. I know that they're fiscally responsible," she said, "And I don't think there is any fluff or fat in it (the bonds package) anywhere."

Click here for details about the bonds proposal.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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