Campaigns start for May TISD bond election -, Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News

Campaigns start for May TISD bond election

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The Tyler ISD school board approved adding a $160.5 million bond proposal to the May ballot just last week, and campaign season has already started for both sides of the issue.

The trees may still be bare, but the political signs are back up in Tyler.

"Maybe people have started seeing 'It's Time' signs around town, and that's us," said Tyler Proud vice president Leslie Strader. "That's our message, it's time for 21st century schools for Tyler."

Tyler Proud calls themselves a "positive, pro-TISD support organization." They formed as an organization last fall and currently operate out of an empty storefront - but as of mid-January, they're officially a political action committee running a big campaign.

"As a PAC, we can officially support an issue and as a nonprofit we couldn't," Strader said. "So it's a learning curve for all of us, like I said we're grassroots moms and dads and grandparents and none of us are political people, so we are learning and googling and talking to experts and people that have done this before."

Strader says the group has raised thousands of dollars so far to educate voters.

"We have questions all the time, why do we need new schools? How have the new schools affected education now? What's happening - how have the past bonds been good for schools today?" said Strader. "And so a lot of this is just educating people, just letting them know that yes, there has been a positive effect on academics in our schools."

But that's not how the "No More Excuses, Tyler ISD!" Coalition sees it.

"School buildings alone won't solve the problem," said group member Jo Ann Fleming.

Fleming says the coalition will also be filing political action committee paperwork in Austin this week in order to take their message to voters.

"The bottom line is this: The school board and the administration makes a lot of time to get around to the campuses to talk about new buildings, but they will not take that time to visit with parents and with teachers and with the community about why we're failing to produce outstanding academic results all across the district," said Fleming. "It's time to raise the bar."

Two groups campaigning against each other - both standing for the best result for Tyler's teachers and students.

The Tyler ISD bond election is set for May 11, and includes renovating Dixie and Rice elementary schools, building three new middle schools, and creating a Career and Technology Center for high school students.

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