TISD Planning Another Bond - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

3/3/04 - Tyler

TISD Planning Another Bond

Overcrowding and aging facilities are often mentioned as major problems at TISD. Teachers are holding classes on stage, in converted closets, and even in converted bathrooms. District officials say overcrowding is also the reason why more and more portable buildings are springing up on campuses across the city. In 2000, there were 138 classrooms in portable buildings. Three years later, that number grew to 177. It's only March, but this year, six more portable classrooms have been built, bringing the total to 183. But the district says portable buildings present a host of problems because they're not connected to the main school buildings. For example, just to go to lunch or the bathroom, students often have to walk in the rain, the cold, or any other severe weather conditions. To help solve these problems, TISD has hired the Staubach Company, a consulting firm based in Dallas-Fort Worth.

"Part of this pre-bond service is finding out what they need, what each school needs, and how the best way to do it in the most cost-efficient manner would be," Andy Bergfeld, the president of the TISD board, said.

In 2001, TISD proposed a bond that failed the following year.

"The ballot said, vote 'yes' or vote 'no' for $293 million," Gene Shull, former co-chair of the TISD facilities task force, said. "It didn't say how they were going to spend it. It didn't guarantee anything was going to get built."

Shull was one of the main opponents to the last bond package.

"While the needs are vast, you can't bite all this off in one chunk," he said. "You need to divide it up into a couple of bond proposals."

And that's exactly what TISD says it plans to do, along with giving the public a more specific plan. Whatever the Staubach Company ends up coming up with, TISD says it will listen to the community before deciding on its next bond. The Staubach Company has helped several other Texas school districts with this kind of work, including Fort Worth and Arlington ISD's.

Julie Tam, reporting.

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