Westwood trustees Thursday approved putting a $40-million bond on the Nov. 5 ballot.

The 5-0 vote came after Michael Page, chairman of the Facility Advisory Committee, recommended that the board approve the plan.

Thursday's vote marks the start of the school board's second attempt to finance a construction plan that would improve campus security and student learning on three of the district's campuses.

The proposal is almost identical to the $39-million plan narrowly defeated in May, 410-415.

The $40-million bond would finance a new consolidated secondary facility and elementary campus, currently housed in buildings constructed in the 1950s.

The cost of the previous $39-million bond proposal rose by $1 million, due largely to inflationary costs, Westwood Independent School District Superintendent Wade Stanford told the Herald-Press Monday.

Overall, the owner of a $100,000 home – slightly below the Westwood average – would see a property tax increase of $23.02 a month, if the bond passes. That's actually down considerably from the $31-a-month increase district officials estimated last spring for the same home.

The reduction is due largely to a new state law, effective in September, as well as additional state revenue, that will reduce taxes for maintenance and operations.

Three of the 20 residents attending, however, opposed the plan, citing a lack of specific information on security measures and construction.

“What will they do with the $40 million? asked resident Marla Naylor, a Westwood graduate. “We don't want to write them a blank check.”

Another objection: The district's decision to keep the junior high and high school entrances combined. Responding to community concerns, members of the Facility Advisory committee looked into building two separate entrances; however, the additional $2 million would be prohibitive, district officials said.

The main entrance, designed for security, is not the only spot where junior high and high school students share space, Page said. The school bus, athletic facilities, band hall, and even some of the same classrooms are already used by students from both schools.

Students will be safer if they are in an enclosed building at one location with good visibility, Page said.