MERKEL, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Voters will soon be able to vote yea or nay on a $27 million bond to benefit Merkel ISD.

In a press release Merkel ISD Superintendent Joseph O’Malley said, “this process has been a community effort over the last several months.”

The bond consists of two propositions:

  • Proposition A: $24,616,200
    • Elementary Renovation (Cafeteria / Dining Hall / Serving Line) 
    • 7th & 8th Grade Academic Renovation
    • Middle School Competition Gym Renovation 
    • Middle School Site Canopies, Sidewalks, and Parking Pavement 
    • Middle School Auditorium (Minor) Renovations
    • High School Agriculture Science Facility Renovations
    • High School Site Canopies, Sidewalks, and Parking Pavement 
    • A New High School (CTE) Continuing Education Facility
    • High School Baseball & Softball Site Improvements
  • Proposition B: $2,240,000
    • Football Stadium site improvements

One former Merkel ISD teacher and current realtor told KTAB/KRBC she would have liked more community involvement in the decision-making process.

“I was a CTE teacher and I taught over a decade at the high school out there,” Beki Kofoed said. “We just need more information before we commit to something that our grandchildren are going to pay.”

Now that Kofoed is a realtor, she said she knows firsthand just how the costs of materials and interest rates are increasing.

“I always tell my buyers the best time to buy a house is now because you can refinance later. But with a school bond, it’s different. I mean, with a school bond, you’re kind of locked in,” shared Kofoed.

On top of that, Kofoed said many are suffering from inflation, and that’s another concern of hers.

“It’s scary. I mean, my grandson is going to be paying off this bond. It’s a 30-year bond and I think, financially, I think that is a big ask for a community that’s dealing with a recession right now,” Kofoed explained.

On a similar side, current Merkel ISD parent Ashlei Marcikese told KTAB/KRBC with consideration to the size of the district, the cost seems steep.

“There is a lot that needs to be done for such a small town and such a small school, even the football stadium. But nowhere near 27 million dollars,” said Marcikese.

Both Kofoed and Marcikese said they wanted more effective communication for residents to be aware of where the funds are going.

However, there were remarks of excitement towards the bond in a Merkel community Facebook post. One in support of the bond reasoned with the rest by saying, “It’s just the cost nowadays.”

Below is Merkel ISD’s press release in its entirety:

On Monday, August 14, 2023, the Merkel ISD School Board voted to seek voter approval for a $27,000,000 bond issue. This process has been a community effort over the last several months with a Bond Planning Committee. The Committee included citizens, city leaders, board members, teachers, and parents. The Committee dedicated time to data collection, evaluations, and planning to put this bond package together. 
The district’s financial advisor has determined that there would be a school tax rate increase to finance this bond. This will include an increase to the district’s I&S tax rate of .26 cents. For voters over 65 or disabled and have an approved homestead exemption, your tax rate will not change. Under state law, the dollar amount of school taxes imposed on the residence homestead of a person 65 years of age or older cannot be increased above the amount paid in the first year after the person turned 65 or disabled. The bond measure will have two propositions and include the following: 
Proposition A: $24,616,200
– Elementary Renovation (Cafeteria / Dining Hall / Serving Line) 
– 7th & 8th Grade Academic Renovation
– Middle School Competition Gym Renovation 
– Middle School Site Canopies, Sidewalks, and Parking Pavement 
– Middle School Auditorium (Minor) Renovations
– High School Agriculture Science Facility Renovations
– High School Site Canopies, Sidewalks, and Parking Pavement 
– A New High School (CTE) Continuing Education Facility
– High School Baseball & Softball Site Improvements
Proposition B: $2,240,000
– Football Stadium site improvements
Merkel ISD residents will have the opportunity to vote on the bond beginning with early voting on Monday, October 23 – Friday, November 3, and on Election Day, Tuesday, November 7, 2023.