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School bond to be put to Morris county voters one more time

By Marlene J. Bohr
March 1, 2012 at 3:22 a.m.

A bond election is once again on the front burner for residents in the Daingerfield-Lone Star Independent School District. At their Feb. 21 meeting, the board of trustees unanimously approved calling for a bond election this spring in the amount of $5.4 million.

The district qualified for $5.4 million in Qualified School Construction Bond funds in 2010, according to Superintendent Sandra Quarles. This program is a federal tax credit program in which school districts may issue low-interest bonds.

"The school received that $5.4 million bond offer two years ago and it was good for one year," Mrs. Quarles said. "The district applied for, and received, a couple of extensions. The interest rate could be zero or a very low interest rate. At one time you actually paid less than what you borrowed.

"The money could be used for new construction or for repair. It was originally written up for the junior high school and the high school. It could be used for other needs."

March 5 was the last day the board could call for a bond election.

A committee conducted a facilities study and presented the recommendations to the board for the use of QSCB funds. Mrs. Quarles said between 20 and 25 people met for committee meetings on two different occasions. They toured the junior high school and the high school and discussed needs and prioritized them. Spokesman for the committee, Mike Carter, read the priority list of needs, with the top five to be addressed first.

"School safety is at the top of the list for the high and junior high schools," Mr. Carter said. "We need to upgrade and/or install the fire alarm system for both campuses. The second on the priority list consists of plumbing issues at the junior and high schools and at West Elementary. We have been told that QSCB can be amended to include this need. A new roof on the wings at the high school was the third priority, and upgrades to technology and infrastructure were the fourth. The renovation of science classrooms and labs came in fifth."

Other things the committee looked at and reported on were renovating the food lab to the computer lab/technology classroom and if possible, tie them into the main building. Doors, locks, and exits at the high school were a concern and updating the lighting, sound, and window coverings at the high school auditorium. Window upgrades are needed on the sixth grade wing at the junior high school. Also at the junior high, upgrades to the girls' and boys' gyms are needed, plus dressing rooms for the girls and insulation and inside wall material with roof repairs for the boys. The band hall at the junior high school needs additional soundproofing in the practice rooms.

In an open forum, Mr. Carter said he would like to say that things on the list should have been corrected already.

"The $5.4 million bond can only be a band aid, and we will be right back in the same condition," Mr. Carter said. "I will, and others will, support the bond issue if we know how the money is being used."

The board also approved termination of the contract with Claycomb and Associates, the architect firm hired the previous year when a $28 million bond was on the table. The board instructed the superintendent to send Claycomb and Associates a letter to that fact.

"I had received a letter from Claycomb and they were not interested in working with us on this small bond," Mrs. Quarles said. "My question was if the district does another bond, are we obligated to use them? Quickly Claycomb sent me a letter terminating their series with us. We need your approval to send a letter to Claycomb terminating their contract."

The board approved calling for a trustee election for May 12.

After a two hour executive session, contracts for administrators were extended as recommended by Mrs. Quarles. Contracts were renewed for Lesia Lewis, Vicki Ochs, Linda Rhymes, Larry Miears, Aric Sardinea, and Vicki Lilley. No action was taken on Kay Handlin's contract.

Matt Dunn was hired as assistant principal at the high school to begin the next school year. Resignations were accepted from Andrea Love, a high school Spanish teacher, and Zack Love, a social studies teacher.



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