The Sherman Independent School District's board of trustees approved a bond election for $176 million Monday night. This comes after their previous $308 million bond package failed to pass by a count of 144 votes last fall.
Editor's note: This article has been updated throughout.
The Sherman Independent School District’s board of trustees approved a bond election for $176 million Monday night. This comes after their previous $308 million bond package failed to pass by a count of 144 votes last fall.
The $176 million package will feature district-wide technology updates, a new high school facility, and the reconfiguration of the middle schools and elementaries in making use of the old Sherman High School building. The new high school will have a capacity of 2,300 students and will be over 453,000 square feet in size. The cost for the new facility is estimated at $157,871,390.
The Citizens Advisory Committee, staffed by district educators, elected officials, business leaders and Sherman residents, was originally assembled in the fall of 2016. Sherman ISD tasked the group with examining the district’s enrollment, demographics, finances and facilities before asking members to develop a bond package that would position the district well for growth and change over the next 20 to 30 years.
In the wake of the failed vote, Sherman ISD brought new members on board — opponents of the first bond among them — and the committee returned to the drawing table where it ultimately agreed that the new high school and technology updates were the minimum must-haves for the district.
“I’m really proud of our citizen’s committee,” SISD Superintendent David Hicks said. “A diverse group of people came together and dreamed about the future. They studied what our needs are and they looked for innovative solutions.”
In addition to the new high school being constructed, the bond package aims to convert the old high school into a middle school. Piner Middle School and the new middle school would then have room for 6th to 8th graders, thus allowing students to remain on one campus for a longer period of time than is currently possible.
The bond will be funded by a 21-cent increase in the tax rate. For those with a home valued at $100,000 this comes out to approximately an additional $17.50 per month. Tax rate increases were considered between 20 cents and 23 cents. The board settled at the 21-cent increase and said it would cover immediate concerns and allow some work to begin for the future.
SISD board of trustees President Tim Millerick said he believes the changes to the bond will allow more of the community to rally around it.
“The hopes are that it will pass, having made the changes we have made,” Millerick said. “We reduced the total package. We reduced the actual taxation but still protected the immediate educational environment needs. We would like to move quickly and swiftly into the designing phase.”
Millerick went on to explain that they intend to increase communication this time around.
“We have done a lot of reflecting about how we did with getting particular information out last time,” Millerick said. “We will do that better. We are still in the get-the-word-out, get-the-vote-out phase.”
Hicks agreed saying that they plan to do presentations for small and large groups in order to get the details out as widely as possible.
“That starts with informing and sharing information with the community,” Hicks said. “We will do presentations in the community for anyone that wants a presentation. We want to encourage people to go vote as we move towards November.”
The official bond election day will be November 7th.