Mauricio Julian Cuellar Jr.

Orange Grove Journal

Only 24 Orange Grove ISD registered voters have gone to the polls as of Wednesday morning to cast their ballot either for or against the 2007 OGISD Bond Improvement Plan.

The early election on the Bond Improvement Plan will continue through Friday at the OGISD Administrative office.

The polls will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. for early voting.

On Election Day, Nov. 6, voting will take place with the county at the OGISD Special Programs Building from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

OGISD Elections Administrator and Director of Operations Dane Beasley said turnout has been low during early elections.

He said much of the low turnout could be due to the teachers and staff being out for the Jim Wells County Fair last Thursday and Friday, which led to low numbers.

"Lots of employees who would have voted were out," Beasley said. "Hopefully it will pick up this week."

There are 4,152 registered voters within OGISD. Beasley said that normally, the district has quite a few turn out on the day of the election.

During a school board election, he said a third of the votes usually come from early voting, and another two-thirds from Election Day voters, with 40 or so from the Sandia area.

The total cost of the Bond Improvement project is $6,813,730, with the bond amount at $6,560,000, and the district contribution at $251,325.

The district will seek an Instructional Facilities Allotment from the state to cover the majority of the bond issue. With IFA funding, the bond issue would only add $0.065 to the local tax rate. Without the IFA, the taxpayers would be looking at an increase of $0.312, which school officials said previously is too high a tax increase for OGISD residents. Officials are adamant that if the bond passes, but IFA funding does not materialize next summer, then the bonds will not be sold.

The preliminary plans include more than 12,000 square feet in new classroom construction, science support construction and renovation on the north end of Orange Grove High School.

There is also a planned 2,250-square foot expansion of the junior high cafeteria.

Four additional classrooms at OGJH and a corridor for 7,010 square feet of construction are also planned.

In addition, there are:

A total re-roofing of the junior high campus at $710,888. A primary school expansion of eight classrooms at 9,070 square feet for $1,451,200. An expansion of the Intermediate School library at $210,000. A re-roofing of the old primary building at $97,092, as well as the re-roofing of the maintenance, transportation and field house at $74,064.