Texarkana Independent School District (TISD), the largest school district in our region, proudly features programs that encourage students to innovate, lead, and excel while in educational settings with the specific intention to prepare them for highest achievement as they enter the world following graduation.
On November 8, members of the TISD community will have the opportunity to vote for two school bond propositions. Both include renovations and additions to TISD facilities that were intensely studied and researched during TISD’s strategic planning initiative: Imagine 2026. More than 300 stakeholders began meeting in October 2021 and contributed in excess of 1,400 meetings and research hours to this significant undertaking.
In April 2022, the TISD Board of Trustees appointed a Long-Range Planning Committee (“LRPC”) comprised of 39 parents, community and business leaders, civic organization representatives, and elected officials. Its task was to develop a long-term Master Facilities Plan, and it reviewed a wide array of information including a facility assessment, demographic information, financial reports, and educational research.
After weeks of conscientious deliberations, the LPRC finalized the Master Facilities Plan and a school bond proposal which, when presented to the TISD Board of Trustees, was unanimously adopted and authorized for submission to TISD voters for their approval.
Approximately 7,000 students attend school in TISD every day, a 25% increase over the daily census in 2002. In 20 years, student enrollment has grown by almost 2,000 students, necessitating the addition of new facilities, including Waggoner Creek Elementary School, Martha and Josh Morriss Mathematics & Engineering Elementary School and Texas Middle School. Due to the popularity of TISD programming, the rigor of its curriculum, and the success of its students, the TISD family continues to grow. The bond issue proposals will permit TISD to address obsolete structures originally designed and built to prepare students for jobs and careers of the 1970s and 80s and other aging facilities which have not been remodeled in many years, almost 75% of which are over 65 years old. The three schools slated for replacement in the bond proposals average 82 years of age. Many TISD buses are also approaching the end of their useful lives, and the bond proposals are intended to ensure that TISD students have modern, well-running buses for safe transportation to and from campuses daily and on trips to scheduled events.
The bond is presented to voters in the form of two propositions, each of which offer an option to vote “for” or “against.”
Proposition A addresses continuing security upgrades needed at all campuses, aging facilities and aging buses.
If approved: safety and security at all TISD campuses will be upgraded. Some projects, such as access control, security fencing and security window film, are already being implemented. Texas High School will also improve some of its covered walkways.
Spring Lake Park and Highland Park elementary schools will be combined, and a new elementary school will be constructed to serve these students at the former location of Pine Street Middle School. This new facility will feature state-of-the-art classrooms and collaborative spaces, all with upgraded safety and security systems.
Paul Laurence Dunbar Early Education Center will be rebuilt at a central district location. The current building, originally constructed in 1953 for students in grades 1-12, requires immediate replacement. The new early education center will model contemporary and ultramodern design and technology and, when combined with the district’s other pre-kindergarten campuses, will allow TISD to serve more than 800 eligible pre-kindergarten students, double the amount current resources now afford. This new center will provide immersive learning activities to better prepare TISD’s youngest students for kindergarten.
Wake Village Elementary School has not been renovated since 1986. Along with a new, modernized front elevation, this school will receive updated classrooms and an addition to house the pre-kindergarten and first grade classrooms. The front office and cafeteria will also be redesigned and remodeled.
The fleet of TISD buses, which travel over 250,000 miles per year, will be upgraded. The district requires 18 new buses to maintain a regular replacement schedule.
Proposition B addresses the issue of no significant investment in many TISD buildings since 1968.
This is especially true of Texas High School and its career and technology facilities.
If approved: Texas High School will receive an expanded and renovated center for Career and Technology Education (CTE). Current facilities which house the many facets of the Ross Perot STEM Academy are located in numerous non-contiguous spaces throughout the school and across the campus. The new CTE addition will include learning spaces in one location for twenty-first century careers. These facilities will prepare students for those occupations and careers in highest demand today.
Should both of these propositions win voter approval, annual taxes on the average-valued home in TISD will increase by $13.18 ($9.06 for Proposition A, and $4.12 for Proposition B). Any approved tax increase will not affect those TISD taxpayers 65 years of age or older due to the Texas Residence Homestead Exemption (unless they make improvements beyond routine maintenance). TISD’s Board of Trustees has consistently lowered property taxes over the past four years and has not held a bond election in eight years.
Early voting from October 24 to November 4 will be available at First Baptist Nash, Sullivan Performing Arts Center, Oak Street Baptist Church, Christ Community Church, Pecan Ridge Apartments, Walnut Church of Christ, and the Southwest Center. On November 8, voting will be held from 8 am to 6 pm at all Bowie County voting locations.
A 1976 graduate of Texas High School, Freddy is a current member of the TISD Board of Trustees. He was originally elected in 1997 and re-elected in 2000. After taking a leave of absence when his term expired in 2003, he was re-elected in 2013, 2014, 2017 and 2020. He and his wife Martha (a graduate of San Angelo, Texas public schools) are the proud parents of three Texas High graduates: Ben (2014), John (2016) and William (2018).