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Groom ISD $19.5 million Bond Election focuses on construction and renovations

New programs and space being needed are outlined in a proposed bond election by Groom ISD (Drew Powell ABC 7 News)
New programs and space being needed are outlined in a proposed bond election by Groom ISD (Drew Powell ABC 7 News)
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Registered voters inside the Groom Independent School District will decide the fate of a proposed $19.5 million bond on Election Day. Groom ISD has put forth a proposed building additions and improvements plan and has listed a number of priorities designed to improve the school and enhance security. Groom School was built in 1903 with 25 students attending the first year. In 2016, the schools enrollment is 150 students with 32 faculty and staff.

The main building of the current facility was constructed in 1951. The average age of Texas School buildings is 35 years according to a study from the University of Texas. In 2012, Groom ISD began to realize that renovations to the facility was approaching what superintendent Jay Lamb classified as a critical need. The district lacked the tax base to support a major renovation project.

Voters who will decide on election day have mixed views.

"I'm voting for it because I think we need to upgrade the entire school system," said Karen Brown, Groom resident. "There are some issues that need to be addressed."

"I'm going to vote no because that is to much money," said Cody Britten, Carson County resident. "I believe $19.5 million with a school population of 150 students and the wind turbine does not pay for 100 percent. If they pay 80 to 85 percent on $19.5 million that comes out to an estimated $3 million plus for our little small school."

"We have four active 313 agreements so we have two companies in wind energy with four different agreements," said Jay Lamb, Groom ISD Superintendent. "A 313 agreement is basically a tax limitation agreement. The limitation agreements limit the value of farms on the M&O side so the real advantage comes from the I&S side, the bond side where we get the full value of the tax base."

Speculation of putting in new artificial turf at the football field raised concerns over the amount of the bond. Committee members who worked on the bond tell ABC 7 News there will be no artificial turf just a number of cosmetic enhancements to the field.

"We are not going to be putting in artificial turf," said Tim Case, Bond Committee member. "That was dispelled and put down by the committee and also by the staff at the school."

Teachers tell ABC 7 News, they're hoping the bond passes so the learning environment comes up to date.

"Since I started teaching here I've watched the whole building have some deterioration problems," said Aimee Fields, teacher. "We deal with a lack of heating and air conditioning. There are cracks that have occurred over the last 25 years."

"It makes it easier to say hey your important rather than were getting by with stuff your parents or grandparents uses," said Larry Roskins, teacher. "Our stuff needs updating from the desks to the walls falling down."

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Election Day is Nov. 8. All previous bond elections for Groom ISD have passed according to school officials.

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