Troup voters will determine the fate of a $22.6 million school bond placed on the Nov. 3 ballot, called for by the Troup Independent School board. Designated Proposition A on the both Smith and Cherokee County ballots, the bond equals a maximum increase of 27 cents per $100 valuation in property taxes.
The bond, TISD’s first in 15 years, will pay for necessary expansion and improvements to various facilities throughout the district.
“A lot of citizens probably don’t realize, but right now we’re at almost the maximum number of students we can hold,” said Shane Jasper, TISD board president.
He also stated it was likely the district would need portable buildings should the bond fail to pass.
“If we don’t do something to increase the class sizes, then we’re going to really be in a bind,” Jasper said.
The last TISD bond was held September 2005 for $5.7 million. The issues addressed at the time primarily regarded spacing.
“Nobody wants bigger taxes, but you have to invest in our kids,” said Clayton Vickers, board member. “If you don’t invest regularly, then you fall behind.”
Many of the issues with facilities have been discussed for years without any resolutions, according to Vickers.
“I’ve been on the board, this will be my fifth year, and we’ve been talking about updating our gym facility since before I was on the board. The ag facility has been talked about. My kids started in FFA in 2012 and they were talking about it then,” Vickers said. “It’s just stuff that’s been needed to be done for a long time.”
The bond provides for new construction or expansions of buildings on each campus.
A building will be erected to connect existing ones on the elementary campus and bring all students under one roof. A new library, secured playground, new cafeteria and a clearly defined, secure entrance
are included in the package.
The middle school and high school campus will add a new gymnasium to include expanded seating, a lobby area and concessions, meeting and training rooms, as well as offices and dressing areas. A new CTE facility will increase capacity from two to eight classrooms and expand the welding and the wood and metal shop areas.
Dining space in the existing cafeteria will be expanded to provide additional seating. Expansion of the current cafeteria saves money over new construction and avoids staffing issues, according to Superintendent Tammy Jones.
Each of the proposed projects aims primarily to provide space for the growing district that has almost reached capacity, a primary concern of the committee that researched school needs and presented a prioritized list to the school board.
“Unless you have a student that is on one of those campuses, you don't know all of the issues as far as spacing and spacing is our biggest thing,” said Ashley Frye, a member of the 20-plus committee.
Frye, a graduate of Troup High School with deep roots in the community, now has two students in TISD.
Although she stated board members were very receptive to their presentation, she described reducing the needs to a short list as “very difficult.”
“We just kind of felt like we had to go with the biggest issues and deal with the biggest problems first and fix those because we have issues right now,” Frye said. “If this bond doesn't pass, in two years or five years, we're still going to have the same issues, they're just going to grow. That's how we tried to narrow down, and it was tough.
“We have a very close-knit community that has supported our kids through the ups and the downs. We have celebrated our kids and we've celebrated our teachers, and we have a very good support system in Troup and I think our facilities need to reflect that.”
The Troup ISD website contains information regarding the bond, including architectural renderings, lists of upgrades per campus, sample ballots and even a tax increase estimator.
Visit troupisd.org and choose the Bond 2020 tab for all information regarding the issue.
A Facebook page, BacktheBond Troup, has much of the same information as the Troup website.