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Henderson school board to consider bond election

By Angela Ward award@news-journal.com
Feb. 24, 2013 at 10 p.m.

The Board of Trustees for the Henderson Independent School District will conduct a special meeting at noon today to decide whether to call a $27 million bond election in May.

The only two election times a bond proposal may be presented to voters are in May and November.

If the election is called, the main - and most likely only - project to be funded would be construction of a new Henderson Middle School.

While there has been some discussion of what should be done with the auditorium adjacent to the middle school, Superintendent Keith Boles has said he strongly recommends the bond issue focus on the middle school only.

The middle school was built in 1953 and houses 6th, 7th and 8th grades.

A similar proposal was narrowly defeated by voters in 2010 and 2011. In November 2011, the district's bond election failed by fewer than 100 votes: 1,854 in favor and 1,941 against.

The estimated cost for the new school is $27 million. If the bond is approved in May, construction would probably begin in January 2014, and the school could be ready for occupancy in August 2015.

If a bond election passes, taxes on a $100,000 home in the district would go up by about $4.88 per month. The district's tax rate is $1.18.

Stacey Sullivan, director of human resources for the district, said the big concern is the age of the building, which brings with it a host of other issues.

"Because it's an old building, there are security concerns and difficulties implementing 21st century technology," Sullivan said. "It's also at capacity now, and will not be large enough to house all the students when the children currently in the early elementary grades reach middle school age."

Also on the agenda is discussion, and possibly hiring, of a new athletic director/head football coach for the district.

Phil Castles has been named as the lone finalist for position.

Castles is a Kilgore native and has 22 years of coaching experience including being the athletic director and head football coach at Elysian Fields and Chapel Hill. He is currently the assistant athletic director and head football coach at Corsicana High School.



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