Bonham Independent School District will put a $40 million general obligation bond package before voters this fall so it can realign class space at a few campuses, add new science labs at all schools, and other renovations.

Trustees last week accepted a recommendation from a citizens’ committee to call for the Nov. 3 election, which would be the first in about 15 years for the rural district 70 miles northeast of Dallas.

Officials said they would move fifth and sixth graders to a junior high school and then expand facilities at that campus, including construction of a new cafeteria,  media center, and band room. Similar expansions to the district’s high school are also planned.

“Our four-, fifth- and sixth-grade campus, which is one of our oldest facilities, is just not adequate to provide the instructional services necessary for meeting the needs of our students,” said superintendent Sonny Cruse. “We’re tested competitively in science in fifth grade and there is not a single science lab in that facility currently.”

Bonham ISD serves approximately 2,100 students at its five schools and two alternative-education facilities.

Officials said approval of the bonds would increase the average homeowner’s property tax bill by nearly $150 annually based on a home value of $50,000.

Cruse said a group in favor of the bond package met last week to consider forming a political action committee to promote passage of the referendum, but he was unaware of any formal opposition.

“But I’ve been hearing the usual dissent that arises in a small community like ours ,and with today’s economic climate, it wouldn’t surprise me if a PAC does form against the bond package,” he said.

Bonham ISD’s debt carries an underlying rating of Baa1 from Moody’s Investors Service.

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