Trustees of the Northside Independent School District last week set a May 8 election on a $535 million bond package that would build six new schools and upgrade district facilities.

About half the proceeds would fund projects at existing schools, with the remainder financing the construction of new facilities. Superintendent John Folks said about half of the district’s 100 campuses are more than 20 years old.

NISD, the largest school district in San Antonio, has almost 92,000 students and expects to have more than 100,000 students by fall 2013.

“I can assure you we would not be turning to the voters unless this bond issue truly was needed,” Folks said. “Going to our community and asking for money for our schools, particularly in these tough economic times, is not something we take lightly.”

The district’s debt has underlying ratings of AA from Standard & Poor’s and Fitch Ratings, and Aa2 from Moody’s Investors Service. Its voters have approved more than $1.6 billion of debt in the past 10 years, including authorizations for $495 million in 2001, $439 million in 2004, and $692.7 million in 2007.

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