Thorndale ISD to offer three bond issues for May

Thorndale Independent School District decided to move forward with a new bond issue during a special meeting on Feb. 15.

The bond will be presented to the public in three different options. Proposition A, a $9.8 million package, will include a new two-story high school building, the conversion of the high school into a middle school library and administration building, the conversion of the middle school into a new fourth and fifth grade campus, cafeteria renovations and more. 

Proposition B,  a $2.4 million package, will include a new band hall addition, enclosure of the existing elementary pavilion, installation of an HVAC system in the middle school gym and renovations to the ag building. 

Proposition C, a $680,000 proposal, will resurface the existing track, construct 50 new parking spaces and purchase land for future construction.

Superintendent Adam Ivy gave a report concerning the status of the potential bond election during the board’s regular meeting on Feb. 12. He talked about the two community feedback meetings that took place recently along with the questions and comments from those meetings as well as from the Facebook live post that occurred.

Ivy said that there were approximately 30 people at the first meeting and around 40 at the second meeting along with several hundred that viewed the Facebook live video. He went over 39 different questions that were asked along with the answers that were given. The board discussed the specifics of the proposals that were being made and decided to ask for more information concerning the possibility of a land purchase for future use along with new price quotes for asphalt paving versus concrete paving. 

The board decided to call a meeting on Feb. 15 to discuss the issues further and potentially call for a bond election.

During the Feb. 12 meeting the board also discussed the May 5 general election for the purposes of school board elections. The board voted 7-0 to pass a resolution to authorize a joint election with the City of Thorndale to provide for election supplies; establish early voting and election day locations and procedures; designate election officers and set their pay rates; provide for the use of electronic voting devices; establish extended early voting hours; authorize a contract with Milam County for the use of equipment to program and tabulate election related documents and authorize a contract with Kevin Terry to perform technical election services for the May 5, 2018, election.

Administrator contracts were tabled until the March meeting. The consent agenda was presented and approved without any additional questions.

Ivy along with High School Counselor Megan Riggins and High School Principal Orlando Vargas made a brief presentation about a new program called OnRamps. They informed the board that OnRamps is a new dual enrollment option through the University of Texas that allows students to take a college course and the corresponding high school course at the same time. There would be a college professor working directly with the high school teacher and this would result in two separate grades. Riggins reported that this would allow students to take the college course in a rigorous environment without risking their future college transcript. Ivy said Thorndale had been working with several other local schools to encourage the use of this program and that there would be more information coming in the near future.

Riggins asked the board to create a new innovative Career and Technology course called Cyber Citizenship. This would be a one semester course that would usually be taken opposite Professional Communications. The board voted 6-0 to approve the course.

Ivy gave a report on the Texas Academic Performance Report for the 16-17 school year. He explained that the data in this report was a district snapshot and covered everything from STAAR scores ail the way to years of teacher experience. He explained that the academic data was the same data that the board had seen many times since it was first released.

Business Manager Rebecca Peel presented one budget amendment to allow for payment of architect fees for the design of the upcoming new maintenance and transportation facility. The board voted 6-0 to approve the amendment.