The Tyler ISD Board of Trustees has voted unanimously to put a $198 million bond package to renovate its high schools on the May ballot.
Residents will vote on the package during the May 6 election.
The bond would fund renovations to Robert E. Lee and John Tyler High Schools, expanding their capacity, upgrading safety and efficiency features and improving traffic flow.
The bond was first proposed in November of 2016, with an original price tag of $209 million. The original proposal came with an estimated cost of $209 million. Superintendent Marty Crawford said the district was able to bring that total down through savings from previous bond packages.
The bond proposal would raise the tax rate by $39 annually or $3.25 per month for a home with a valuation of $155,000.
Tyler Proud President Mark Randall said his organization is excited for the opportunities new facilities will provide for their children.
“I’m the President of Tyler Proud, but who I really am is a parent of five children, four that are in TISD and one that graduated last year, who is at UT Austin,” he said. “What you’re looking at is the future of Tyler, today.”
Randall commended the board for taking a conservative approach to the cost of the package.
“I appreciate the fact you’re able to utilize facilities at both campuses to help with the cost to our community,” he said.
Tyler resident Bob Brewer said he could not support the bond package. He said recent preliminary Texas Education Agency letter grade results show that more work is needed and local control of the district be a priority.
“The process that we have and had is not working and should not be rewarded with 200 million tax dollars,” Brewer said. “ ... I can only support a building if we make positive outcomes and the education of our children first.”
Students from Tyler ISD also spoke. Lexie Thedford said it was hard for her to imagine that she would soon be roaming the same halls and sitting in the same class rooms that her parents and grandparents had.
Boulter Middle School student Adam Delgado said the new middle school has helped students focus and he believes the high schools deserve the same care and attention.