LONGVIEW, Texas (KETK) – Longview ISD is calling for a bond election valued at nearly $230 million for later this May.
“Your tax rate will be unaffected if this bond passes or fails for the next 12 to 15 years,” said Dr. James Wilcox, Longview ISD Superintendent.
The value was initially announced at $227 million in a press release Monday night, but that had been changed to nearly $230 million by Tuesday due to a “clerical error,” according to the district.
The new amount is close to $230 million and breaks it down into four propositions. Below is the full statement:
Due to a clerical error, our department sent out the wrong grant total information in last night’s press release. These kinds of bonds are sold in groups of $5,000 and thus we had to round up the subtotals in each different proposition. In addition, these propositions are organized by letter on the ballot, and we have adjusted our information to reflect this fact.
• Proposition A
$178,185,000: Early Learning Center, Career Technical Education construction/renovation, Longview High School renovations, Early Grad H.S. renovations, and additional property acquisition.
• Proposition B
$40,795,000: Multipurpose Event & Indoor Practice Facility (band, baseball, football, and soccer)
• Proposition C
$8,565,000: Facility repairs, renovations, and updates to Lobo Coliseum and Lobo Stadium.
• Proposition D
$2,440,000: Facility repairs, renovations, and updates to Lobo Swim Center.
The LISD Board of Trustees approved the election order for four bond propositions during their Feb. 14 regular meeting. If approved by voters on May 7, the propositions will fund significant renovations to the Longview High School campus, a new Career & Technical Education facility, an Extracurricular Events Center, a new Early Childhood campus, and various other repairs and facility updates.
Dr. Wayne Guidry, Assistant Superintendent for Finance, explained that this bond would not include a tax, and the current rate would remain the same for LISD taxpayers.
“If approved by voters, Longview ISD would be utilizing a General Obligation Bond,” he said. “This is a debt of the school district that is payable from taxes against property within the school district.”
The release said that the proceeds the district would receive from the sale of the general obligation bonds would be used to pay the cost of the projects. Principal and Interest payments would come from an annual debt service property tax levy that is levied against all property within the boundaries of the district.
“It means no tax rate increase,” said Dr. Guidry. “These improvements and projects could be fully funded with zero increase to the current tax rate. If approved by the board and voted by the public, it would be a win-win for our students, staff and local stakeholders.”
Superintendent Dr. James Wilcox said LISD is unique in that the majority of the district was built during a three-year period.
“Longview ISD is in a position where we need to upgrade the faculties for all of our students,” said Wilcox.
In 2008, voters approved a nearly $267 million bond package that paid to build new campuses at Bramlette, Hudson PEP, J.L. Everhart, Ned E. Williams and Ware elementary schools, as well as Forest Park and Foster middle schools. The bonds also paid for renovations and additions to Johnston-McQueen and South Ward (now Bailey) elementary schools, Judson Middle School, and Longview High School.
In November and December, LISD contracted with Dr. Don W. Hooper, from the Granbury-based Center for Quality Leadership, to complete a facilities assessment and help develop a master plan for potential improvements, repairs, and upgrades needed at Longview ISD.
Dr. Wilcox said that without attention to the facilities, within the next ten years they will require extensive repair at the same time.
“We have a 600 student waiting list for culinary arts. That’s unacceptable to us. Those students the majority of them are going to go right into the industry here in Longview and help support, help our local industry grow and we want to meet that need.” Says Dr. Wilcox.
Dr. Wilcox said the administration will be forming an LISD Bond Committee that includes members of the community as well as district staff and trustees. This committee will help provide information to the community, as well as steer the direction of the project if approved by voters.
One of the issues the school hopes to fix is the drainage situation above the first floor dressing rooms in the athletic facility.
According to the district if the bond fails any emergency repairs that are imperative to student safety will be taken out of the school’s general operating budget. This money is utilized to pay staff members and for classrooms.
The last day to register to vote is Thursday, April 7. Early voting lasts from April 25 to May 3. Election Day is May 7. For any questions about the election please contact Gregg County Elections Office at 903-236-8458.
For more information about the proposed bond, click here.