An EPISD bond committee is working feverishly to pass the district's nearly $669-million dollar bond proposal. While the district has planned a series of community meetings between now and November, a group of taxpayers is organizing in opposition.
Daniel Lopez tells Abc-7 he and dozens of other taxpayers and homeowners do not plan to form a political action committee, they're just calling themselves a community group. Their message: this is the wrong time to pass the bond.
"It's a wishlist, this is Christmas come early for them. November will be Christmas if they get $669 million dollars," Lopez said. "Their number one concern is there's not an effort toward building trust. The fact that they're pressuring us to make this decision so quickly."
The group believes the district should have been more inclusive in the planning and let all voters have a say.
"80 people represent 0.13% of our children, not the voters," Lopez said.
Board member Susie Byrd says a diverse committee met several times and prioritized what was absolutely needed.
"It was a very hard decision making process, they spent four months, vetting, talking arguing, trying to come up with the right proposal," Byrd said.
The group's biggest concern is its price-tag, which Lopez says is an alarming number, he says a smaller amount could help mend broken trust.
"A smaller bond, smaller amount of money, address smaller components. And then when you succeed in that area, then come and ask us for more you don't give everyone all the money," Lopez said.
While the average homeowner will pay at least $212 a year, for those like Lopez, the impact will be bigger.
"I guarantee you, the majority of people in my neighborhood, on the Westside, our homes are worth more than $200,000 each, and so that number we're gonna have to pay is closer to $700 and not $200 or $300."
Byrd says ultimately, it's a taxpayer, by taxpayer decision.
"Where do I want to make public investments, how much can I afford, what are the most important things for us and particularly when you look at EPISD's tax rate,which is the lowest in the region, that we're long overdue for some investment."
Lopez says his group does not plan to publicize their meeting because they do not want the bond's PAC group to interfere with their efforts. Lopez says there will be a screening process for people who are interested in attending. They plan to meet Saturday where they will discuss outreach efforts. If you're interested, you can contact him at (915) 269-4232.