By: Mike Odom / Op-Ed in Round Rock Leader
During its February meeting, the Round Rock Chamber Board of Directors voted to endorse the Round Rock school district’s $572 million bond package. But despite the unanimous vote, it wasn’t without a great deal of discussion and debate.
While much of the public dialogue about new taxes is focused on the residential impact, the chamber must also carefully consider the business impact. Overwhelmingly, our board members believe this bond is a significantly positive outcome for the students and parents within the school district.
As we look at each component of the bond package, we see a dedicated effort to maintain the facilities and technology of a high-performing district while planning for a future that conservative estimates see eclipsing the 50,000-student mark within the next decade. We see a focus on producing a well-rounded and skilled graduate that can successfully compete in the global workforce environment against their counterparts from Boston, Berlin and Bangkok. We also see a large-scale set of needs being met with minimal impact on the taxpayer.
Finally, we see a school district supporting its visionary strategic plan with the capital investment necessary to make that vision a reality.
While there is much to like across each of the bond’s three propositions, we are particularly excited about a few specific aspects. One is the creation of a career tech high school. This innovative facility will provide our students who have an exceptionally strong interest in a specific area of study, whether it be robotics or plumbing, a dedicated environment to explore and foster that subject matter.
Another is design work for a permanent early college and health professions high school building, which will host programs allowing our students to simultaneously earn their high school diploma and up to 60 hours of college credit.
We are also pleased to see the district’s dedication to preparing for the coming growth. Projects like the sixth high school, the 35th elementary school, the technology refresh and the future land purchases are examples of the school board and district staff planning for tomorrow.
The chamber board endorsed the bond package because we believe it is the right thing for the entire district. We hope that all of those who care about student achievement and success will join us and support all of three bond propositions by voting “For” on May 6.
Mike Odom is president and CEO of the Round Rock Chamber. Before coming to Round Rock, he was with the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry and the Baton Rouge Area Chamber. Prior to that, he spent a decade in the casino industry in a multitude of marketing roles. He is a 1996 graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies.