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Sabine ISD board ponders bond election

By Christina Lane
Nov. 28, 2012 at 11 p.m.

A bond election for a new elementary school could be in Sabine ISD's near future.

Superintendent Stacey Bryce said Wednesday that the Sabine ISD board of trustees and a bond steering committee each met Tuesday night to review results of a community survey that was intended to get a feel for how taxpayers would respond to a bond election.

"We had very positive results," Bryce said.

The bond steering committee was formed months ago to review needs in the district, he said. In May, the school district hired Huckabee Inc., a Fort Worth architecture, engineering and management firm that oversaw Longview ISD's 2008, $267 million bond election.

Huckabee conducted a facilities study at Sabine with results that showed the district's elementary school was an area of great need, Bryce said. The campus is aging and at capacity for students, he said.

"Currently, we have 668 students at the elementary school," Bryce said. "We are out of room at that building. It is also very old. It's been added onto several times. The very oldest part was built in the 1930s and it has been progressively added onto since then."

Sabine's last successful bond election passed in the 1980s, Bryce said. That election paid to build Sabine High School in 1984, he said.

Taxpayers rejected a $10 million bond proposal in 2009 that would have built a new elementary school and upgraded the middle and high school campuses.

Taxpayers turned down that plan by an almost two-to-one margin.

This time around, the bond steering committee decided to see what the community wants, and Bryce said the results of the 178 people surveyed were favorable.

"The district has had no bond indebtedness for about 22 years," Bryce said, adding that the district is in solid financial shape to take on a school bond.

At this point, the bond steering committee has not discussed what the tax rate impact would be of calling this bond election, Bryce said. The committee plans to meet next Thursday with a financial adviser to discuss the potential impact, he added.

The bond steering committee is expected to make a decision in December as to whether to recommend the school board call a bond election. Should the bond committee recommend the board hold a bond election, Bryce said trustees would likely wait until around February to officially make the call.



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