Texarkana, Texas Independent School District has approved a construction bid for the building of a new 22-classroom elementary school.The school board opened competitive, sealed proposals for the construction. TISD began taking bids on June 4 with proposals due by Thursday, June 25 at 1:30 p.m. Three companies submitted bids – Altech, Contech and The McDougal Group. The bid approved is with Altech for $11,100,000, which was the lowest bid by $547,000.

The new campus, approved in the November 2014 bond election, is slated for an August 2016 opening. It will be located on 15 acres off Gibson Lane near the southwest corner of the Encore Waggoner Creek Apartment Homes. With a total of 67,800 square feet, the school is expected to serve approximately 400 students in pre-kindergarten through fifth grade and will feature a pod design for extended learning spaces.

Included in the design are: 22 classrooms; research & design center/library; media center; art room; gymnasium; cafeteria and kitchen. The facility has been designed and positioned for add-on space for future enrollment growth, above the 400 capacity

Also, the 2015-16 budget and proposed tax rate were approved by Texarkana Independent School District’s Board of Trustees during its June regular session.

“This year’s $61.5 million budget is essentially break-even but allows for us to still include teacher step increases in salary, and a 3 percent of mid-point range for all other professional, paraprofessional and auxiliary employees,” said Deidra Reeves, Chief Financial Officer. “TISD continually strives to make the most of our taxpayer dollars and has been successful in effectively managing our annual budget and general fund so that we can offer these increases to our staff.”

Reeves further detailed that appraised values and TISD’s average daily attendance is predicted to remain flat. The proposed tax rate of $1.425 is represented by $1.17 for Maintenance & Operations (M&O) and $.255 for Interest & Sinking Funds (I&S), an increase of $.086 due to the successful passing of TISD’s November 2014 bond election.

The tax rate will be approved during the August regular session. According to Reeves, “No changes are anticipated.” Board members also approved a change to the 2015-16 school calendar for instructional purposes.

The May 27, 2016 Bad Weather Day will now be changed to Monday, May 16, 2016.

During last month’s Board meeting, Trustees approved the execution of a lease agreement with Texarkana College for housing of the OPTIONS Academic Alternative High School and Bowie-Cass Adult Education & Family Literacy Program. The facility, which previously housed Options and Adult Education at 3201 Lincoln Avenue, will now be home to TISD’s Secondary Disciplinary Alternative Education Program (SDAEP).

With the transition of programs being offered at this location, community members have recommended a renaming of the campus to the Goree Learning Center in honor of the campus’ original name. Opened on January 2, 1962, the Harrison G. Goree Elementary School contained 12 classrooms, an office, clinic, workroom, cafeteria and maintenance room. All grade levels, then being housed at the New Town School, moved to the new location. In 1912, Harrison G. Goree came to Texarkana, Texas from Atlanta Texas. He had been elected principal of Sunset Elementary School.

Goree later started the New Town School with permission of the School Board under Superintendent Uriah Carpenter. Mr. Goree resigned his position in 1916 and was succeeded by his son, Virgil G. Goree as principal in 1916. In September 1927, William H. Goree was elected Principal and served until his death in 1948. W.K. Hicks succeeded W.H. Goree followed by E.P. Pierre in 1959. It was during Principal Pierre’s leadership that the new facility was built and administration changed the name to the Harrison G. Goree Elementary School.