|Voters approve SSISD bonds|
|Kerry Craig | News-Telegram Assistant Editor|
Oct. 21, 2005 -- Voters in Sulphur Springs Independent School District gave approval to the issuance of $9.85 million in bonds to finance renovations, repairs and additions at the high school as well as the construction of eight new classrooms at the Early Childhood Learning Center.
Of a total of 1,968 votes cast on Proposition 1, a full 56 percent of the voters (1,119) supported the issue while 849 voted in opposition.
Proposition 2, which would allow the district to use bonds to re-fund $3.5 million in maintenance notes previously issued for repairs, also gained voter approval by a vote of 1,105 to 832.
Passage of the bond issue will mean an estimated 3 cent increase in the school tax rate, or about $2.58 per month on a $100,000 home, according to school data.
Proposition 2, which was only a financial management issue, will not affect the tax rate.
SSISD Superintendent Patsy Bolton was elated with the outcome of the election and said the vote was a step in the right direction.
"Quality facilities send a message to kids that education is important, and [the voters showed] that this community is willing to support that education," Bolton said.
School district officials were meeting with bond consultants Friday morning to prepare for an immediate sale of the bonds and begin the process of repairing structural problems at Sulphur Springs High School.
Water believed to be from a natural spring beneath the foundation causes the soil to swell, which shifts the foundation, making it unlevel in places. That, in turn, causes walls and other structural supports to shift, causing some cracking and breaking.
"They have already been doing the assessment and evaluation to determine the steps to take in getting moisture out from under the high school building and getting drains set up," Bolton said.
One major undertaking, however, cannot begin until the end of this school year.
"The asbestos abatement cannot be done when there are any students around," she said. "That will probably start at the beginning of next summer."
The process will require the entire high school building to be sealed for the removal, which must be completed before the other construction work can begin.
In the meantime, preliminary architectural work will begin for the science labs and fine arts facilities for the high school.
Work at the Early Childhood Learning Center can begin almost immediately because the construction is not tied to any repairs to the existing building.