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Marshall ISD calls $150 million bond election

By Austin King aking@marshallnewsmessenger.com
Feb. 25, 2014 at 10 p.m.

<p>Second grade teacher Jan Kale teaches in her classroom during a tour of South Marshall Elementary built in 1916 as Marshall ISD is calling a $165 million bond election to build and renovate various campus' in the district Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014, in Marshall. (Kevin Green/News-Journal Photo)</p>

Marshall ISD's board of trustees called for a bond election of no more than $150 million at a special called meeting Tuesday night. The bond was unanimously approved by the board.

"We have not had a bond election since 1986 for the ninth grade addition of our high school," said trustee Chase Palmer. "That is 28 years (ago).

"It's time for us to do this."

The bond calls for four new kindergarten to fifth grade elementary schools for an estimated total of about $66 million and a new middle school for students in sixth grade through eighth for about $38 million. Renovations to Marshall High School come in at about $30 million.

A new agriculture facility is also included with the bond at an estimated $2 million. District technology enhancements are estimated for $2 million as well. Renovations are also planned for South Marshall Elementary at an estimated $5 million. Finally, renovations for Maverick Stadium are estimated at $5.5 million. All together, the bond would cost about $150 million.

Earlier this month, MISD's bond steering committee recommended that the board call a bond for $165 million instead. Trustees opted for a bond election with a lower cost.

"We didn't want to put too much of a burden on our community," said board president Helen Warwick. "We want the best for our students. This is a way to get that for them."

In accordance with the bond election, trustees also decided to have the district's tax rate rise by 39.4 cents should Marshall residents vote to pass the bond. Currently, MISD's tax rate is $1.04 per assessed $100. Should the bond pass, the rate will be raised to a total of $1.434.

Some residents are excited at the prospect of new schools.

"I'm encouraged that the board has seen fit to call an election," said resident Misty Scott. "The new schools it can bring will create a better future for the community. The raise in taxes is well worth it to me because I believe it will bring a better Marshall, not just for my children, but future generations."

Also at the meeting, trustees approved the hiring of Underwood Law Firm to act as bond counsel.

MISD's trustees have considered a bond election for several months. As far back as October, the board has received ideas for what a bond could provide as far as new facilities goes. In January, a committee of 30 members began to meet to recommend a bond program for the board to call.

All of Marshall's schools are several decades old. The newest school, Marshall High School, is 33 and the oldest, Marshall Junior High, is 89 years old. The average age of MISD schools is 57.

The bond will be included on the May 10 ballot and requires a simple majority to pass.

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