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Mart ISD proposes $20M bond to upgrade campuses, transportation and technology

Money would come solar industry tax revenue
Posted at 11:41 PM, Apr 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-16 00:41:48-04

MART, TX — Mart ISD is asking for $20 million in bonds created by tax revenue from local wind turbines and solar farms.

Officials say the money would go towards upgrading school campuses, buses, technology, and updating the 19-year-old elementary school with features like key card security.

"We just moved out of a school that was built in 1929. The way that school finance works, we're not given a lot to work with when it comes to updating infrastructure," explained Superintendent Betsy Burnett. "Anything that we can provide for them [students] to help them have greater opportunities to go on and succeed and hopefully bring it right back to their small town... that's the way of the future."

The district would also like to improve its athletic facilities and deteriorated track, as well as invest in infrastructure projects, like creating a sidewalk to campuses so students who walk to school can have a safer route.

"There is a horrible curve and a huge pasture. Right now, we have crossing guards, and everyone watching out for those students," said Burnett.

The bond is a zero tax rate increase bond, which means the Mart community won't pay more in taxes. Instead, the school districts would get money from the local solar industry.

"The school has done a great job educating kids, and it's time to use some money to help further educate them and give them a little extra amenities," said Mart City Manager Kevin Schaffer.

The bond will be part of the district election coming up May 1 for anyone who pays taxes to Mart ISD and is registered to vote.

"I can't imagine why anyone would be against this bond proposal. It's a great opportunity for the school. It's a great opportunity for the community, and it's only going to help further educate students of tomorrow," expressed Schaffer.

Staff says it's urgent this bond passes now because solar farms and wind turbines depreciate over time and any future bonds won't have as much money available.

Mart ISD posted a breakdown of the bond proposal on its Facebook page.

If approved, the projects will span over the next 10 years.

The election will be held on Saturday, May 1 at the Mart High School STEM lab from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Early voting begins Monday, April 19. Voters can cast their ballot Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the STEM lab.