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New middle school on Henderson voters' ballots

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RUSK COUNTY (KYTX) -

Henderson ISD's bond proposal is in voter's hands following the start of early voting on Monday. The $27 million bond would replace the district's only middle school, most of which is 60 years old.

As the votes rolled in Monday, parents in the pick-up line at Henderson's Wylie Elementary School were already thinking about the future.

"They need a new school," Leasa Simon, the parent of a first grader, said. "They need something that the kids can learn in and not be scared that they're going to fall through the floor or the roof's going to fall on them."

Simon's first-grader would be one of the first to be able to take advantage of the new building.  Simon also went to Henderson middle school herself. She's not sure it's changed.

"I don't know!" she said when asked if the building had deteriorated much since her years there. "It was the same then as it is now."

"It opened in 1953," district spokesperson Stacey Sullivan said as she showed us around the building. "The classrooms also are not sized according to TEA standards. They're much smaller."

From the frequently-flooded boiler room on up, Sullivan said the need is clear. It wasn't long before we found a classroom boarded up.

The two former science classrooms were built between 50 and 60 years ago and you don't  have to go inside them to tell why they've been condemned. Near the top of the wall they share with a central hallway wall you can see where foundation problems have started to rip cinder blocks apart.

"It's like you're walking on different levels," Sullivan said of the crumbling floors as we walked through the room.

Sullivan said, no matter where you are in the building, WiFi doesn't work. That means the district's high tech programs are in place at every school except the middle school. Plus, with ten buildings and 44 sets of doors security is a challenge.

The new single building would change all that.

"I hope so," Simon said. "I'm voting for it."

The bond proposal would add 9 cents for every $1,000 in valuation to the district's property tax rate. If you factor in the district's home value deduction, yearly taxes on a $100,000 dollar home would go up by about 60 dollars.

This is the district's third time trying to pass the bond.

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