Sherman ISD plans for enrollment surge - - Texoma news, weather and sports

Sherman ISD plans for enrollment surge

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Sherman ISD elementary schools are at capacity. (KTEN) Sherman ISD elementary schools are at capacity. (KTEN)

SHERMAN, Texas -- It was big news in October when Finisar Corporation announced it was taking over the abandoned MEMC facility on US 75 in Sherman.

It was even bigger news last month when we learned that Apple is investing $390 million in Finisar to help it build crucial iPhone components.

With new business and money comes growth, and that's a continuing issue the Sherman Independent School District is addressing. After a $176 million bond issue passed in November, the district is deciding the best financial route forward.

Finisar plays into the decision because the company will bring more than 500 jobs to the area. Those jobs mean families, and that means more students for the already overcrowded Sherman ISD.

Favorable bond rates could let Sherman ISD decrease the approved property tax rate from 20.9 cents to 20 cents.

"If we remain at the 20.9 cents, it allows us to pre-pay debt, to pay down that debt aggressively, so that we have additional bonding capacity for the future," explained Assistant Superintendent Dr. Tyson Bennett. "As we look ahead, we know growth is coming, and even more growth on the horizon."

And Finisar is a big part of that growth. With elementary schools in Sherman already at capacity, the district may need to plan for a new campus in the near future.

"There's going to be an increased need for housing, and with an increased need for housing you have children that come, so there will be an increased need for classroom seats," explained district spokeswoman Emily Parks. "The district has done a great job at strong financial management, and we're in a very strong financial position, and taxpayers can be very, very happy about that."

She added that keeping the rate at 20.9 cents will save taxpayers in the long run, and would let the district pay off current debt more quickly.

"We are in a great, great position, financially," Parks said. "We're saving money; we're able to plan for new schools, for new kids, and it's a fantastic time to be a Bearcat."

Sherman ISD says it will decide on the final numbers for that tax increase by the summer, just in time for Finisar to start distributing the components it is building for the iPhone X.

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