Black Leaders Denounce Houston's Massive School Bond Proposal

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HOUSTON (AP) - A group of community leaders in Houston says the black community should have more input into a school district bond referendum scheduled for a vote in November.

The $805 million bond referendum would build 24 schools and renovate 134 others.

The group, including the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and state lawmakers, says the district should rework the proposal with input from the black community and postpone a vote until May. Otherwise, they'll campaign against the referendum.

Superintendent Abelardo Saavedra recently announced changes in the proposal aimed at winning over support. That included nixing plans to create prekindergarten- through eighth-grade campuses in the Fifth Ward, a predominantly black neighborhood east of downtown.

District spokesman Terry Abbott says the ballot language is flexible enough to allow changes and improvements. He says the district doesn't intend to pull back the referendum.