Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

February 18, 2013

CISD Trustees approve $54 million bond for May ballot

By Bob Belcher
Corsicana Daily Sun

Corsicana — The Corsicana Independent School District Board of Trustees voted unanimously Monday to put a $54 million bond proposal before voters May 11.

The bond would provide funding for a new middle school campus, safety and technology upgrades to every campus in the district, extensive renovation at several campuses, and a renovation to the high school baseball field.

The proposal, if approved by voters, will also eliminate the 19 portable buildings now in use across the district.

The board took action Monday after reviewing final plans submitted by Superintendent Dr. Diane Frost Monday night. Trustees had considered several scenarios, including whether to construct a new middle school or intermediate school. They ultimately decided to go with a new middle school campus, to be built on district-owned land adjacent to Tiger Stadium.

Safety and security were main considerations for all the planning by the Facilities Review committee, Frost said. Each campus will be configured with a secured entryway allowing campus administrators charges of who has access to student areas. Technology also gets a boost district-wide, along with upgrades and additions to campus libraries as well, Frost said, creating “media centers” at each campus. Some improvements to the high school auditorium’s stage and sound and lighting systems is also included, Frost said Monday.

Corsicana High School will also see a change, with the addition and expansion of the passing hallway, one that today is somewhat crowded during passing periods.

As well, $1.3 million in the bond proposal would go toward improving the district’s administration headquarters, which could include the possibility of selling the existing buildings on North 13th Street and constructing or purchasing a facility that could house all of the district’s administrators, currently spread out over four locations. Plans for the administration facilities and the future use of the Drane Intermediate campus are still being studied, Frost said Monday.

Trustees decided to purchase new band uniforms and instruments and new busses for the district from fund balance, instead of incorporating them in the bond package. The purchase of the uniforms was approved Monday — band instruments and busses will be on the board’s March agenda.

“We are so excited to be able to provide such a positive improvement to our school district,” said Kerri Anderson-Donica, school board president. “Of course, the safety and security of our students and staff is foremost to us. What a blessing to be able to live in a community where every campus can be positively impacted.

“I hope the voters are thankful for the opportunity,” she added.

The cost to taxpayers for the proposal works out to approximately $135.20 annually for a home valued at $100,000 — about $11.27 per month, according to figures provided by the district and confirmed by the district’s financial advisor, Jeff Robert of First Southwest. Robert told trustees that the district could easily handle the additional debt based on First Southwest’s analysis of the proposal, and still have room for future funding needs for the district.

“This still leaves some capacity for the future,” he told trustees.

The measure will appear on the May 11 municipal and school district ballot, along with three positions on the CISD Board of Trustees currently held by Terry Seth, Scott Watkins and the Rev. Ed Monk.

In other action Monday, trustees approved the hiring of Jason Crow as a new associate principal at Corsicana High School. Crow was most recently principle at Kennard High School, and previously worked in Navarro County as girls basketball coach at Mildred High School.

Frost also told trustees the district has been working with other districts to study options for expanding dual credit courses at the high school level. She said the hope is to be able to have enough dual credit options available to allow students to graduate from high school with an Associate’s degree as well. She said more information would be presented to the board at a future date.

Frost also praised the district’s 5th and 6th grade math teachers for improvements in STAAR test scores in the district.

“In every area across the board we have exceeded state scores in 5th and 6th grade math, so I think that's something that should be noted and accolades given to these teachers for their hard work,” Frost told trustees.

“There are many other areas where we met or exceeded state scores, but this is one that is particularly significant.” Frost said a full report would be presented to trustees in March.

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Bob Belcher may be reached by email at bbelcher@corsicanadailysun.com. Want to “Soundoff” on this story? Email: soundoff@corsicanadailysun.com