TISD Says School Flooding Example Of Need For Bond - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

10/5/04-Tyler

TISD Says School Flooding Example Of Need For Bond

The moments were terrifying for both students and teachers at Tyler's Douglas Elementary as the school grounds flooded. A day after the deluge, they say it's another reason why the first phase of Tyler's school bond has to pass.

More than half of the school's kids are in portable buildings that today look even more weathered. Teachers there say a more severe storm might hurt students... or worse.

"[In] twenty six years, I never have seen damage like this," said principal Beverly Collins.

The water was so high that drains couldn't keep up and portable buildings looked like boats in a harbor.

"So, as we carried those children out [of the portables], we had everybody taken by the hand as we led them out. They were waist deep, and some children chest deep in water," said Collins.

Tuesday, the water is gone and the kids headed to their classes, most in the portables where the water line is still visible. The fear of those watery moments are still fresh in their minds.

Teacher Lori Busby relives the panic of Monday morning's deluge: "A boy about the size of me had a death grip on my hand, and then I had two girls that were really crying, so I had to pick one of them up and carry them out."

There are 760 kids at Douglas. About 460 of them are in portables. Teachers shudder to think how they'll get all the kids to the main building if a worse storm approached.

"[It would be] total chaos... total devastation. A tree fell on this portable last year and that was bad enough. I'd hate to see what a tornado would do," said teacher James Fulton.

"If we pass the bond, it would actually eliminate all of these portables," said principal Collins.

And it would put the kids in a classroom of brick and mortar Collins says, safe and sound.

"They get cold and wet, and I'm sure it contributes to children getting sick," she says.

Douglas and other elementaries would get new buildings if Phase One passes in November. Principal Collins says the kids could then just focus on their studies, not their safety.

"It would really make a difference if we had a school where children could be dry and safe," she says.

Voters will make a decision on the $96-million bond for elementary schools on November 2. It's just Phase One of the complete bond package to renovate some campuses and build several new ones.

Reported by Morgan Palmer.

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