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Marshall ISD bond issue divides community - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

Marshall ISD bond issue divides community

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Signs for both sides of the Marshall ISD bond issue are up in front of the Harrison County Election Office where more than 2,000 people have already voted. Signs for both sides of the Marshall ISD bond issue are up in front of the Harrison County Election Office where more than 2,000 people have already voted.
MARSHALL, Tx. (KTBS) -

Early voting is underway in Marshall, TX, and one of the big items on the ballot is a $150 million bond issue for the Marshall Independent School District to update the schools.

The average age of the ISD's 11 campuses is 57 years old. This is the first time the district asks for money since 1986.

The supporters of the bond say those numbers back their argument.

“We waited so long to do anything and we're really behind the 8-ball,” said Glenn Bickerdike, the chairman of Yes Matters in MISD. “We really have to act now before it gets to the point of where it can't be fixed.”

Bickerdike said thousands of people support the bond as part of the political action group.

The money brought in by the bond would build five brand new schools from the ground up while updating a few more, which Bickerdike said will ultimately save the district money.

“With the passage of this bond, we will reduce our number of campuses from 11 to seven,” he said. “So our repairs and maintenance budget will decline significantly and also have fewer campuses to maintain and just associated costs with them.”

Sherri Young and the group, MISD Can Do Better, oppose the bond. They think the process that came up with the $150 million price tag went too fast and did not include the right people.

“We think the estimates they received for these buildings are way over priced,” she said.

Young said they would like to see the projects broken up to separate bonds.

“This is money, that if it's not handled properly, that will be sucked completely out of the Marshall economy. Because we don't have any contractors, that I know of, that have the bonding capacity to even bond for one of those school buildings.”

If the bond passes, the Marshall ISD tax rate will go up 40 cents per $100 valuation. According to the district's website for the bond issue, the average homeowner will pay $12.80 more in taxes each month.

The designing of each project is set to begin in June if the bond passes.

Early voting on this issue ends May 6th and election day is May 10th.

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