Clarksville ISD stock

Clarksville Middle and Clarksville High School

The future success of the Clarksville Independent School District is riding on the outcome of a $16.8 million bond election, officials say.

Voters in the district can have their say on the direction CISD will move by casting votes beginning Monday in the Women’s Exhibit building at the fairgrounds in Clarksville or waiting until the Nov. 2 election.

Bond passage would address several needs that the bond committee agreed on when they put together the current bond package.

Cheatham Elementary is the main focus of the bond.

Cheatham renovation would replace the wing of the building that contains small classrooms with a new wing that would meet Texas Education Agency’s standard of 700-square-foot classrooms and the addition of three classrooms. It would relocate the office to the front of the building and have a more secure entrance. The restrooms would also get upgraded.

“What the committee said is Cheatham is the primary issue,” Superintendent Kermit Ward said. “They wanted most of the bond money to go to Cheatham.”

The bond calls for $8.3 million to address the needs on the Cheatham campus with the balance of $8.5 millions going to other locations in the district.

Ward has spent the past few weeks writing columns for The Paris News addressing what the bond would do to improve the district.

“The needs of Clarksville ISD should be classified as extreme and in need of immediate attention. When I first arrived in Clarksville three years ago, it was immediately apparent to me that putting together a healthy, sensible and affordable bond package would have to soon be included in the scope of my work here. I inherited a district with an academic rating of a 67, and we now sit 12 points better at 79,” Ward wrote in a Sept. 16 column in The Paris News. “Succinctly put: Facilities matter and cannot be acquired without the majority of local communities making a bold statement by going beyond what is lawfully financially required of them and supporting kids attending their local school district.”

The bond would also allow the Cheatham campus to be more secure, he said.

“The classroom interior walls adjacent to the hallways are glass,” Ward said. “To get into the classroom all the intruder has to do is break the glass. It’s a longshot, but still is an area of vulnerability that needs to be addressed.

Some of the athletic facilities are also a problem area that would be taken care of in the bond package.

“The track is a huge issue,” he said.

Last year he declared the track unsafe to use.

That meant he had to find some place for the track team to practice. He got permission from DeKalb, but that was a temporary solution, he said.

“Each day carries a financial impact with busses, fuel cost and bus driver wages. Perhaps the biggest loss is time. The 30-minute trek to and from DeKalb delays our kids getting home from track practice by at least an hour which leads to an hour less of homework opportunities,” he said.

“Once the committee saw pictures of our track and learned of the DeKalb travel schedule, they were heartbroken and dismayed,” he said.

The bond issue basically comes down to a value, Ward said.

Should the bond pass, district residents whose homes have an evaluation of $56,817, which is the average evaluation of a home in the district, would pay $7.50 per month.

That is price of a couple of cups of coffee at some coffeehouses

“Are our kids not worth $7.50 per month or in other words a couple of cups of coffee,” Ward said.

David Money is the assistant managing editor for The Paris News. He can be reached at 903-785-6964 or david.money@theparisnews.com.

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