Lindale ISD Calls For $42M 2-Part Bond Election
By COSHANDRA DILLARD
LINDALE -- Lindale Independent School District board members Monday called for a $42 million, two-part bond election to be held Nov. 3.
Officials say an increase in growth trends and impending overcapacity of classrooms in the district prompted board members to call for the bond vote. School officials expect the Early Childhood Center (ECC) and Velma Penny Elementary campuses to exceed capacity this school year. Within four years, they say Lindale Primary and Lindale High Schools will also exceed capacity.
Historically, Lindale citizens have been supportive of school bond elections. Voters approved four bonds since 1998 for a total $40.7 million. The most recent bond debt will be paid off by 2023. The November bond proposal is the largest to date as the cost of construction continues to rise, school officials said.
"It's an exciting time for Lindale," said Texas Army National Guard Brig. Gen. James K. Brown, school board president. "We've worked on this for over a year in an attempt to make the correct decisions to present the right measures to voters."
He added, "We're always concerned about their tax dollars and we are very prudent in putting forth what we think the students need and what they deserve."
The bond includes two propositions. Proposition 1 is estimated at $32.1 million and would include the construction of a new junior high campus, additional classrooms at the high school and a new field house at Eagle Stadium.
The junior high campus would be equipped with 28 regular classrooms, four science labs, a computer lab, art, speech, theater and journalism classrooms, a cafeteria, gymnasium, multiple practice and competition floors, band practice rooms, outdoor practice fields, tennis courts and a six- lane track.
Proposition II is estimated to cost $10 million. Officials hope to build a 1,200 seat auditorium, a new baseball and softball complex, and have improvements to Eagle Stadium and tennis dressing facilities.
If approved, grade levels will be realigned on four campuses. Velma Penny and Lindale Elementary would house grades 1-3 on two campuses; Lindale Intermediate will house grades 4-6 as E.J. Moss Intermediate is merged with the current junior high campus. The newly constructed junior high campus would include seventh and eighth graders only. Students at ECC will have additional classroom space, although that project has already begun and is not a part of the proposed school bond.
City and school officials say attraction to the state-recognized school district and major city projects -- including a massive retail center, power plant and residential developments -- bring families to the area.
The average growth rate over the past seven years is 4.26 percent, according to the district's facilities study. Current enrollment is barely less than 3,500 and the district has gained about 1,000 students since 1999. By 2022, a conservative estimate of enrollment is expected to top 5,500. Student-to-teacher ratio in some classrooms are 21:1, pushing the state's maximum of 22:1.
A community forum to discuss the bond proposal will be held at 6 p.m. Sept. 10 at the E.J. Moss Intermediate School auditorium, 411 Eagle Spirit Drive. Another meeting is set for 6 p.m. Sept. 28 at the Lindale ISD administration office, 505 Pierce St.