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A look inside the TISD school bond proposal

POSTED: Tuesday, October 21, 2008 - 5:46pm

UPDATED: Wednesday, March 17, 2010 - 10:59am

TYLER - Student's in Mrs. Loper's music class at Orr Elementary weren't even in school when the 2004 bond election passed. It wouldn't have mattered anyway. Renovations at Orr weren't included in Phase One of the district's "multi-phase master plan" during the last election. However, it's very much a part of the plans this time around. "They have over 700 students at Orr," said Tim Loper, TISD Director of Facilities. "The original building was built for a capacity of 400." Loper admits there are other problems here and at additional elementary school buildings in Tyler ISD. According to the school district, the average age of the 10 remaining elementary school buildings in Tyler ISD that have not been renovated is 44 years, with the average age of the six buildings being considered in the second phase being almost 50 years old. TISD reports with the successful completion of Phase 1, the master plan has moved forward to present to the voters some of the campuses originally selected for Phase 2. With the rising cost of construction and materials, the District determined that a bond referendum to fund improvements to all of the remaining elementary schools would be too large of a strain on voters so Tyler ISD has decided to divide the remaining 10 elementary school projects. Phase 2 plans call for upgrading five elementary schools (clarkson, Griffin, Jones, Orr and Woods) and the St. Louis school for students with special needs. But it will all come at a price tag for taxpayers: the cost - $125 million dollars. "If we were to delay these projects longer," said Superintendent Dr. Randy Reid, "It would cost us more money in the future." Why? Inflation and rising construction costs. Dr. Reid says he realizes times are tough due to the economy - that's why instead of asking for all the money at once - TISD plans to divide it up. So, how much is it going to cost taxpayers? On Wednesday, we'll break it down and explain so tune in to KETK at 6 and 10 p.m. To learn more about the TISD bond proposal click here.

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