Tyler Chamber of Commerce moves closer to supporting TISD bond - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Tyler Chamber of Commerce moves closer to supporting TISD bond


Two committees of the Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce voted Wednesday afternoon to recommend their support of the May 11 Tyler ISD bond election.

It's the first of three steps the Chamber must take before it decides whether to support or endorse the bond.

Before they voted, members of the Chamber's Governmental Affairs and Education-HR committees heard presentations from Tyler ISD, Tyler Proud, and the No More Excuses, Tyler ISD! Coalition about the district's $160.5 million bond proposal, which would include remodeling Dixie and Rice Elementary schools, creating a Career and Technical Education Center, and building three new middle schools, including one in a new location in southwest Tyler.

"There are no middle schools outside of Hubbard on the south side of the loop, and it's a stone's throw from the loop," said superintendent Gary Mooring in his presentation. "So we have no middle school out in that direction where all the growth has gone."

In her presentation, No More Excuses, Tyler ISD! Coalition member JoAnn Fleming brought up discipline issues and low academic test scores as reasons to oppose the bond.

"It's absolutely unacceptable to keep saying, our district has more children who come from low socioeconomic backgrounds and that's the reason they can't perform," said Fleming. "That's insulting, and it's wrong."

Members of Tyler Proud argued that the district now holds 164 classrooms in portable buildings, saying they were unsafe and not conducive to learning - a point that was continued in open discussion.

"I taught in a portable here in Tyler and it wasn't fair for the kids," said Michael Lujan, who attended the meeting. "And it's just not fair to teach kids in substandard classrooms, in third-world country conditions."

"So what if we pass these bonds?" Fleming asked Lujan. "And so what if we're four or five or six years down the road and we still don't have improvement in academics?"

In the end, Chamber members said the fact the tax rate won't be increased and the safety and security measures new buildings would provide led them to recommend their support of the bond.

The Chamber's executive committee will take up the recommendation of support for the bond in a closed meeting next week.

The executive committee will then present its recommendation of support, opposition, or no position on the bond proposal to the Chamber board on April 16.

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