2010-11-04 / Front Page

Voters approve one of two BISD propositions

Brownsboro Elementary School Brownsboro Elementary School A new Brownsboro Elementary School will be built, and other campuses will be renovated or expanded after voters on Tuesday approved one of two propositions in the Brownsboro Independent School District’s bond election.

“It’s hard to put into words all of the feelings I have from tonight, but I have to say I am proud of the community.” Michele Blackmon said. “The results show me the public was educated about the issues, and they were able to objectively look at each proposition and vote for what they thought would best serve the community and the kids.”

In what administrators and former members of the Citizens’ Facilities Advisory Comm ittee called “the most costefficient” plan, voters accepted Proposition 1.

At a cost of $27.2 million, it will build the Brownsboro campus 1.4 miles west of town and expand Chandler Elementary School, and parts of Brownsboro Junior High School and the current Brownsboro Elementary campus.

Technology upgrades will also be made at Brownsboro High School.

Proposition 2, however, was defeated. At a cost of $2.3 million, it would have built a 12,000-squarefoot fieldhouse at the high school, where 300 football players share one toilet, one urinal, and a small shower room.

Adequate storage space for equipment is not available, and the laundry room is in the same space as the varsity locker room.

Fifty-two percent, or 2,037, voted for Proposition 1. Sixty-five percent, or 2,575, voted against Proposition 2.

“I am disappointed Proposition 2 was not viewed as a necessity for our high school, but I am proud to say that the BISD community has chosen to “invest in a child,” Blackmon said.

Blackmon is a former member of the advisory committee, and is part of a committee that promoted the bond election.

The Board of Trustees in April approved spending $1.5 million in cash on hand to install artificial turf, add a new concession stand, renovate dressing rooms, add 1,360 seats on the home side of Bear stadium, build tennis courts, and install a new scoreboard.

Some voters took exception to spending that money on athletics, saying it should have been used on classroom space. The defeat of Proposition 2 appears to be the consequence of the trustees’ decision seven months ago.

“The BISD bond election makes it obvious the voters put the priority on education over extracurricular activities,” said Gene Giger, a Chandler City Council member and former advisory committee member.

Chris Frederick, another former member of the advisory committee, also said he has “mixed emotions” about the election results.

“I am extremely glad that Proposition 1 passed, but very disappointed that Proposition 2 failed. Students should be our No. 1 priority as a community. I am proud of all the people who worked so hard for our bond to pass.”

A renovated Chandler Elementary will include 12 new classrooms, cafetorium, administrative offi ces, HVAC system, and roof. Improvements would be made to restrooms, corridor, facade, library, and student dropoff and pick-up area.

At Brownsboro Junior High, some portable buildings will be removed, restrooms will be renovated, a covered walkway connecting that school to the current Brownsboro Elementary will be built, a new HVAC system will be added, and upgrades will be made to electrical and technological units.

The current Brownsboro Elementary campus will be converted to house more classroom space for juniorhigh students, and a new roof will be added.

Technological and electrical upgrades will be made at Brownsboro High.

All of the schools are at capacity, and two campuses have added portable buildings over the years to accomodate their students. Enrollment this year is about 2,880.

Candace Sessums of the Kickapoo Tea Party, an opponent of the bond election, said she was not surprised that Proposition 1 was approved.

“Obviously, I had hopes this election would turn out differently, but it shouldn’t be surprising considering the misinformation and propaganda we’ve seen,” she said. “Instead of encouraging the voters to truly analyze the costs of this indebtedness, we saw a determined movement to foist guilt upon the populace in the name of ‘our children.’”

The advisory committee’s recommendation was approved by trustees in July after more than four months of campus tours and hourslong meetings.

Texas School Planning was hired a year ago to consult the district on its bond election.

District officials have reported the student population has increased by about 60 percent over the last 20 years.

Growth in Smith and Henderson counties over the next 30 years is expected to be substantial, with the projected population in Henderson County by 2020 to be more than 90,000.

By 2030, the population is projected to reach 100,000.

Much of that growth will happen west and south of Tyler and will include Chandler, especially after the completion of Loop 49.

It is expected to take four to six months to design the new Brownsboro Elementary campus and another 14 to 18 months to build it.

Multiple administrators and others did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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