Austin Local News
Property tax payers' dollars are funding some of the most expensive schools to build in the State
Several Central Texas schools topped the 50 most expensive schools to build in Texas list. Texas Comptroller Susan Combs released the data. It shows Round Rock ISD's Cedar Ridge High School costing almost $79,000,000. Others topping the list include Bastrop ISD’s Cedar Creek High School at $62,400,000, Georgetown ISD’s East View High School at $58,500,000, San Marcos ISD’s San Marcos High School costing $58,100,000, Leander ISD’s Rouse High School coming in at $54,100,00 and Vandegrift High School at $50,000,700. The prices were adjusted for inflation. Public school districts account for the largest share of most property tax bills in Texas. In fiscal year 2013, they also held more than half of all tax-supported outstanding debt issued by local governments — $64.8 billion. The State’s most expensive school was Burleson ISD’s Centennial High School which was built in 2010 for 1,880 students at a cost of approximately $109,000,000. The least expensive school was Hull-Daisetta Junior High School which cost $1,100,000 for a 186 student facility. Jarrell ISD’s high school ranked 8th on the list at $47,000 per student. According to Texas Bond Review Board (BRB) and Texas Education Agency (TEA) data, that's more than $13,000 for every student in a district with debt. The share of all public and charter school expenditures spent on debt repayment — largely for construction — has grown from 7.6% in the 2002-2003 school year to 10.8% in 2012-2013. During the same period, the TEA data shows debt service spending rose by 103%, while enrollment grew only 19%. The Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired carried the highest cost-per-student at $101,000 per student for the elementary facility and $85,000 per secondary student.