in Houston, Texas
Curious about HISD's building projects? See complete construction, renovation budgets for HISD's school building program.
Thursday, Dec 09, 2010, 02:37PM CST
By Lynn Walsh

First it was in the red, now it is millions under budget -- view the cost details of the projects in the Houston Independent School District’s $1 billion school construction program.

The bond program will build 23 new schools and renovate 134 others. Through state public information laws, Texas Watchdog requested detailed budgets of all of the construction projects and uploaded them here.
The best way to search: Use the search box located at the top of the page using HISD and the name of the school you are interested in. The page will have other documents on it as well so the fastest and easiest way to get the information is by using the search box at the top of the page. The best way to search is by school name and “HISD”

For instance, a search for Roosevelt Elementary will send you here. HISD will spend $16.1 million at the Greenspoint-area school, more than doubling its square footage.

The budget reports show the design fee the Houston district paid for the school ($840,000 at Roosevelt), whether land was purchased (for Roosevelt, it wasn’t) or how much HISD expects to spend furnishing the schools once construction is complete ($1.8 million in furnishings at Roosevelt).

Other details available in the budget documents for each school construction project include cost of a media centers, technology equipment and science lab upgrades, construction management fees, demolition costs and more.

Voters approved the bonds for HISD to build and renovate schools across the district in 2007. Since then, details about how much the district is spending, how much each project is costing and whether there would be enough money to fund the projects, has been fuzzy.

In July, a report from the nonprofit Council of the Great City Schools said the $1 billion construction program suffered from communication problems, lacked planning and was missing budget reports.

In August, HISD Superintendent Terry Grier said publicly that the program was $39 million over budget.  

But in October, an outside consultant said the HISD bond program budget was “healthy,and was $4 million under budget.

HISD trustees are expected to vote tonight on proposed changes to the budgets for construction projects at more than 10 schools. Details on what schools are involved can be found here.

Did something catch your eye while looking at the construction project details for a school? Think the amount being spent is a little high? A little low? Did the school just get a new science lab, gym or classrooms? Texas Watchdog wants to hear from you. Contact Lynn Walsh,, 713-228-2850 or on Twitter @LWalsh.

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Photo of 'hard hat area' by flickr user hummingcrow, used via a Creative Commons license.

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