Bonham ISD asking taxpayers to vote 'yes' on $40 million bond election

By: Maddie Garrett Email
By: Maddie Garrett Email

BONHAM, TX - The 2009 Bonham Independent School District bond election could mean sweeping changes for the city's schools, if taxpayers vote yes. Superintendent Sonny Cruse says the improvements are badly needed in the district.

"I don't believe that anyone in our community can walk through our schools and leave them thinking they don't need better for their kids," said Cruse of the condition of the schools.

The price tag on that improvement is $40 million, which Cruse admits is a lot of money, but worth every penny.

"We have basically six instructional facilities in our district, four of those six are well over 30 years of age, a couple of them are over 50, so some of our facilities are not meeting the needs of our students," said Cruse.

Bonham resident Arthur Chaney says the school buildings are just like a house, after so much time there needs to be repairs and rebuilding.

"We've got to keep things up, we can't go on forever without some improvements," said Chaney.

Roughly half of the money will be spent on Bonham High School, expanding the campus, adding another gym, new library and science labs to meet state standards. Cruse also wants to get rid of all the portable buildings that are used at many of the district’s schools.

"I think it'll set us up really nicely in the future, it'll give us some room to grow, alleviate some of the overcrowding we have right now," said Cruse.

If approved, taxes will increase by about $30 per month for the average tax-payer. The question is... Will residents vote yes to paying more?

"We don't know if they will, but we won't know until we ask,” explained Cruse. “As superintendent and the board of trustees it’s our job to advocate for our children, and that’s what we’re doing.”

Cruse says the only way you can build schools is to ask your community to support you in that endeavor, and the only way to do that is with tax dollars.

And some residents in Bonham say they're willing to give their schools that support.

"We want our kids to have the best possible surroundings, you know, in order to feel safe and get educated. I think the better the surroundings the better the education will be,” said Elbert Burley.

No one we talked to today opposed the bond election, and most said they would vote for it. But for those who are still on the fence or would like to learn more about the referendum, there will be an open forum for the community next Monday, September 28, at 6:00 p.m. at I.W. Intermediate.

To see an online brochure overlooking the proposed bond, visit

Election day is November 3, 2009, from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Early voting runs from October 19 to October 30. The last day to register to vote on the bond election is October 5th.

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  • by School Issues Location: Nearby on Sep 28, 2009 at 06:49 AM
    That high school has had major structural issues almost since day one! For starters, who was "responsible" for building this to code and overseeing this project? Who, on behalf of the school district, went back on the builder to correct these known issues? And why, over the last 30 years, hasn't any of the taxpayer money gone towards fixing and maintaining this building? No excuses! Our money has been wasted! JUST SAY NO!!
  • by Bonhamite Location: Bonham on Sep 27, 2009 at 02:13 PM
    BISD can't seriously believe that when people are struggling to make ends meet, they can force through a $40 million bond. Yes, Bonham schools are some of the oldest in North Texas. Yes, the High School has MAJOR structural issues. Yes, Finley-Oates has 4 grades in a building designed to hold 3. But I have no faith that this money would be spend wisely when we have people on the school board who have no business or financial skills whatsoever!! Let's vote this down and in May 2010, vote onto the BISD board men and women who have an education in successful business/financial management. Spend a year seeing what fat can be cut and then let's talk about bond elections. We are never going to attract families to Bonham with this kind of "let's just raise taxes" mindset to all of our problems!!!
  • by Donny Location: Grayson County on Sep 27, 2009 at 08:06 AM
    As an outsider reading this article and comments, Bill brings up a very good point. Here in Grayson County, the school with the highest academic success across the board is Texoma Christian School (TCS) hands down! They put MANY more kids through college, have MUCH higher academic test ratings, and even excel in athletics. In basketball, they normally beat the local public schools and both their boys and girls are recent state basketball champs and are ALWAYS in the playoffs! Many kids from the local public schools try to go there in middle or high school but can't because they aren't at a high enough academic level to succeed there. Having said all of this, the TCS teachers make less money than public teachers and the school operates on a FRACTION of what a public school does. As Bill said, they do not have a pork barrel to get money from whenever they want it!! They should be an example for these public schools that waste, waste waste! VOTE NO TO THIS WASTE!!!
  • by Use What You Have Location: Near Bonham on Sep 26, 2009 at 07:26 AM
    I agree with the last 2 comments. They sucker a few parents into parading around town telling everyone basically "if you care at all about the kids you'll vote yes". Well, if they care about the kids and the taxpayers, they would spend the money wisely. It's ridiculous to say "it's all about the kids' education" and then build new athletic facilities, locker rooms, etc (especially after looking at Bonham athletic record recently). With 2000 students, I would love to know what Bonham ISD brings in annually between our tax dollars and state funding! Other schools seem to make it work so the Bonham admin needs to understand the bad economic times and spare their taxpayers the misery of yet another tax increase! C'mon Bonham admin - don't you care at all about the poor kids and their poorer parents??!!
  • by Bill Location: Ardmore on Sep 26, 2009 at 07:22 AM
    The school system is just another fine example of government run waste. How many districts are there in each county, and how many Superitendents are there. How many assistant Superintendents, Principals, and assistant Principals does Sonny Cruise have at his school. Private schools provide better education for 60 to 75 percent less money per student because they don't have a pork barrel budget that they they can draw from. They have to actually have to show something for the money they charge for tutition. Vote NO!! on this, just another tax increase that will cost you for ever, with very little in return.
  • by concerned taxpayer Location: fannin county on Sep 25, 2009 at 02:17 PM
    $30 a month tax increase,$20,000 a student(40million divided by 2000,BISD student population). What does a new gymnasiums have to do with all of this? Oh,and the $30 a month increase will be from now on for a 50 year old citizen. They will die before this is paid out. Cut the waste in the budget,buckle down and help teach our young that you cant just click your heals Dororthy and every thing will be fine. As for investing in the future, the School board has tried that and failed. Sell the investment property they bought and still have, and just look at the property that the City of Bonham bought from the BISD for a song and have now resold to Braums for a small fortune. Construction cost may be low(where)but with the uncertanty of the whole economy,now is not the time for such a tax burden.
  • by Not Passing the Problem On Location: Bonham on Sep 25, 2009 at 01:31 PM
    Tbe current buildings are sound, that is why BISD is opting to make repairs and renovations to them rather than one new school. The issue is space and the ability to utilize technology so that the students can learn. There are not any science labs for students. Band is in a portable building right next to the speech classes. At Evans & Finley-Oates the bookrooms are used to work with kids one on one when needed. Construction costs are at an eight year low--this means the money will stretch further. People over 65 have to apply for the exemption in order for their school portion of the taxes to freeze. $30 a month is SO unbelievably worth it for every single campus at BISD to be improved. Good teachers are important, but if there is no where to have labs for students, not enough plug ins & the fear that the school will burn because of too many computers plugged in, that is not smart ~ Bonham children deserve functional, safe facilities. VOTE "YES"!
  • by Mr. Reality Location: Bonham Area on Sep 25, 2009 at 12:20 PM
    It's SO funny to me how a few of these parents cry and whine about "its for the kids"....."don't you care about the kids"? For starters. the day their kids graduate, they will likely never show up there again or care what happens up there. More importantly, if these people TRULY cared about the kids, they would be up there at board meetings DEMANDING that they quit wasting taxpayer money! The key to education is good teachers - NOT new buildings! Also, the BS about seniors taxes not ever going up is a LIE! Seniors are not that stupid! The rate may freeze, but in almost every case, they will raise their valuations to compensate for it. The apprasial district and school know how to get it!! Be honest!
  • by really Location: bonham on Sep 25, 2009 at 10:25 AM
    I think that the concerned tax payer must be an official with the city, like the chief, who has never supported higher taxes. The philosphy of many in this town is to put a bandage on it and carry on. That high school and the rest of the facilites are terrible. Alot of the people, before moving to a town, look at all of the schools and the schools academic accomplishments. Why would you not put money back into your school district, now matter how sound the building. The only people who really want to fight the issue are the people who have alot of rental property. For once would you please think about the children and not your own persoanl agenda. Oh as far as your comment about a new school making a better education or better eduaters, it does make a difference when you are a student and you having that has been updated or from a teachers point of view, why teach at a school that looks like Bonhamn High School. WELCOME TO THE FUTURE.
  • by Taxed to Much Location: Bonham on Sep 25, 2009 at 10:01 AM
    For what the increase in taxes will be if this passes, my property taxes alone will be over $400.00 a month. Seems like I just need to rent an apartment, which I wouldn't have any school or property taxes, instead of owning property in Bonham and let my children go to school for free. Wonder why there are so many houses for sale in Bonham??? VOTE NO!!!!!!!
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