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Abilene ISD gives campus tour at last board meeting before $87m bond election

By Kristen Pope, Reporter, kpope@ktxs.com
Published On: Dec 24 2013 10:14:47 AM CST
Updated On: Oct 15 2013 08:56:46 AM CDT
ABILENE, Texas -

Abilene voters are roughly three weeks away from voting on an $87 million school bond.

Abilene Independent School District board trustees met Monday night at Mann Middle School for their monthly board meeting.

For the past two months, the board has met at different campus locations that are part of the $87 million school bond included on the November ballot.

Mann Middle School Principal Kim Farmer gave a tour to AISD Administrators and about a dozen people from the general public, which was a larger crowd than than previous meetings.

The middle school was built in the 1960’s and needs more classrooms to accommodate the growing population.

"We have a lot of students here," AISD Construction Coordinator Joe Humphrey said. “We do have portables that we use. I think there are four instructional portables here and nine of them at Madison. The wing would enable us to get rid of those."

There are also security issues to manage.

"Anytime you have pockets of students around a facility, that's always a safety concern,” Farmer said.

The portables mean communication delays and Farmer said major decisions need to be made for how to allocate space.

"Our students have to walk in the environment all the time, I think that that's difficult for them,” Farmer said. “It makes you really stop and think who do I put out there while the other students are sitting in a building, who has to walk out to the portable buildings and not have the same facilities as the rest.

"My hope is that even though sometimes when we have constitutional amendment elections and when we have bond elections as the primary focus of the election day that turnout is low--my hope is that people really show up and send a strong message to our teachers and to our students regardless of how they decide to vote in this issue,” AISD Superintendent Heath Burns said.

The last bond that passed in 2004 was for $76.5 million.

The current bond election is set for November 5th.  

AISD received a “superior” financial rating on its 2012-2013 Financial Accountability Report (School FIRST). The board also approved the 2013-2014 Campus Improvement Plans Monday as a state requirement.