DALLAS -- Northside Independent School District, the fourth largest independent district in Texas, will ask voters to approve $648 million of bonds May 10 to build six schools and renovate others.

Board members also approved a recommendation by a 250-member bond committee to build classroom additions, improve technology and upgrade cafeterias, libraries, science labs and fine arts facilities.

About 55% of the bond funds would be used to improve existing schools, about half of which are more than 20 years old, according to Superintendent Brian Woods.

District officials already have begun design work on the new high school. Bond proceeds would also be used to begin acquiring land for new elementary schools before land prices in the area increase, board members said.

Northside, the largest school district in the San Antonio area, is roughly 50% built out with the center of the district's boundaries near Helotes, Texas. The district covers part of San Antonio, as well as its suburbs.

With about $1.9 billion of debt outstanding, Northside carries underlying ratings of AA from Standard & Poor's, Aa1 from Moody's Investors Service, and AA-plus from Fitch Ratings. Outlooks are stable. The district last issued $83 million in October, 2013.

The district has enhanced triple-A ratings with a guarantee from the Texas Permanent School Fund.

In 2010, more than 65% of the district's voters approved a $535 million bond proposal. Voters in the district previously approved $692.7 million of school bonds in 2007.

Texas school districts can hold bond elections only in conjunction with local and municipal elections in May and the general election in November.

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