Facilities survey favors improvements
by Dolores Hamilton
Results of the Iowa Park CISD facilities survey are in, and indicate that the majority of those responding are in favor of major improvements in the school district.
Members of the school board and administration made the survey available in the Leader and on the school’s website, asking for direction on how to address facility needs.
The school board had received recommendations from the Facilities Task Force after it conducted several months of study. The group found the facilities to be in need of extensive updating, with the middle school and high school needing the most work. Many questions on the survey dealt with recommendations made by the task force.
Respondents to the survey gave the highest priority to improvements at the middle school and high school, and 51 percent thought the district should build a new high school and relocate the middle school to the existing high school building with renovations.
If a construction bond was presented to the voters, the largest number of those replying said the district should go for one large bond package for as many projects as possible and favored $20 - $30-million as a feasible amount.
If construction dollars are spent to renovate the athletic complex, the largest number of respondents said new restrooms and concession stands at Hawk Stadium should come first, with new stadium seating close behind.
The survey gave those responding an opportunity to make comments and share their thoughts on facility improvements. Following is a sampling of the comments:
“In the years that I have lived in Iowa Park, we have always viewed ourselves as a place where people would want to live and raise their family. In the past 5 years we have only put a band-aid effect on our schools. Other schools visiting our campuses have referred to some of our facilities as “white trash.” Our middle school is way behind in the times, we still operate as if it was 1960. It is hard to offer up to date technology when the buildings are not equipped with the needed room or materials to provide those services.”
“We need all we can get. I hope for the best. We are years behind all other districts in the region.”
“We are behind all other schools in facilities! We will not get quality move ins, coaches and teachers if we continue to have battered old facilities. We need to compete with the Bowies, Grahams, etc. who have new nice places. Most people in IP don’t see those facilities but if they ever did, and compared them to our own, they would be embarrassed!”
“I believe a bond should be well thought out. The bond should cover current needs and also look ahead to the future. We do not need quick fixes, we need a well thought out plan that will keep our facilities up to date and state of the art for many years to come.”
“All of our campuses need major improvements. I am embarrassed for other schools to come to the middle school facilities and high school, (including sporting events).”
“The age of the schools does not affect the learning abilities of the children. There are schools here and around the world much older than anything we have in IP (Old High for example and MSU another.) The professionalism and discipline along with higher expectations will impact the education standards here. Uniforms would be a good start.”
“Even though my taxes will not be affected by a bond issue, I know many young couples who are struggling just to make mortgage payments and buy food and clothe their children, as well as medical costs. This is not the proper time to add additional costs to their already stretched to the limit budgets. Why put a burden on our citizens? Improvements can wait, the same way we have to wait to improve our homes.”
“Glad you are trying to make this happen. Hopefully you will receive the support needed to make at least some positive changes. We need to upgrade. I agree that the best way to do that is to build a new high school and move the middle school to the current high school. The one question I would ask, is what will be done with the current middle school? People do not want to have another empty building sitting in the middle of our city. Hope this passes.”
“Restrooms and concession conditions at the stadium are quite embarrassing when we have visitors, not to mention archaic. Facilities are just not adequate to service the ‘masses’ when they attend games. Although updates are needed for athletic facilities, I believe the most attention needs to be to the stadium (since used by multiple schools) to include drainage issues.”
“I was unaware of the little cost of tax increase per household for the 20-30-million project. This should have been done a long time ago. The middle school is falling apart with the high school right behind it.”
“I think we need to open these schools up and let our community members take tours to see how badly the needs are.”
“We have got to make it a priority to update our schools and provide our students with every opportunity to thrive in society. We have been left behind in this area by many other districts who have already made updating their schools a priority. We have great students and teachers in IP and we should provide them with the best facilities to be the most successful!”
“School system is good enough. No more taxes, we are being taxed too much on schools now!”
“Iowa Park has drawn several new residents from the military base because of the scholastic accomplishments of the school district. With new facilities the community might draw even more new residents and tax revenue. It’s disappointing to drive through smaller communities around the area and see the brand new schools and then to come home and see the disarray of some of Iowa Park’s facilities.”
“I have waited a long time for these things to happen and even though I am not happy with the tax increase I understand that it is necessary for the education of my children. I hope we as a community can come together and understand that this must happen for our kids’ future.”
“Everyone is having to tighten their belts right now and some of us already have a large tax bill. This is not the time to ask for more.”
“I feel upgrades do need to be done to our school facilities. I am willing to have added taxes on my home in ord er to ensure our children have the best place possible to learn and grow.”
“Economic conditions at this time are uncertain to say the least. Jobs are not secure and incomes are not stable. If economic and financial improvements occur, I would then be in favor of supporting a school bond.”
“I support the school and would actually like to see us build a new high school, but my husband is out of work and our finances are really tight. I do not think we could tolerate an increase in our taxes at this time.”
“If you want Iowa Park to grow, the schools have to upgrade.”
Complete results of the survey may be found on the home page of the school district’s website, www.ipcisd.net.
School trustees are encouraging feedback from the public on the survey results. Those who want to express their opinion can do so by contacting a member of the school board: Mike Leamon, Steve Fairchild, Kari Collins, Robert Johnson, Mark Kyle, Merle Rodgers, and Greg Deatherage. Also, you may contact Superintendent Jerry Baird or Assistant Superintendent Steve Moody at the school administration office.