The Little Cypress-Mauriceville school district is looking at a bond election to pay for $56 million in school improvements at all six campuses. If approved, the owner of a median priced home in the district would pay about $25 a month in increased school taxes. School officials during a public presentation Monday night cited student safety as a key reason for the improvements. The district wants to close off ways for outsiders to enter the schools and create one central entrance at each campus. Visitors must identify themselves at the front door and be buzzed inside. Other reasons are to make improvements access to modern technology and increase learning opportunities.

Superintendent Pauline Hargrove said the school board will vote next week on calling the bond election in May. After a school board sets a bond election, school personnel are limited in what they can say about a bond issue and the needs, she said. The districtís bond attorney outlined to parents and teachers how political action groups may be formed in a community to either support or opposed a bond issue.

Major projects will be to renovate the LC-M High School campus to enclose all classrooms and hallways. The high school would also get a new library, new cafeteria, new kitchen and a new administration office that would allow for a central entry to the school. In a video shown to the crowd Monday night, Precinct 1 Constable Chris Humble said the public can enter the campus on all sides. That leaves students 'exposed and vulnerable,' he said. The school was built in 1970 and has open-air hallways. At Little Cypress Junior High, the district is proposing to tear down the existing classrooms and build new ones under one roof. The two gyms and the cafeteria will remain. Principal Mitzi Conn said the campus has 34 entrances and many doors canít be locked because the students travel back and forth between buildings. Similar improvements are set for the Mauriceville schools, the elementary and middle. The middle school would get a new gym, new band hall and new science labs. The elementary school would get a new cafeteria and classrooms would be enclosed. The video pointed out that a kindergarten student walking to the nurseís office would have to walk on a covered sidewalk a few feet from the parking lot where someone could come and grab the child. Principal Beverly Knight said the school has 22 exterior entrances.

Little Cypress Intermediate School on Allie Payne Road opened in 2002 and is the districtís newest school. The back of the school is adjacent to the back of Little Cypress Elementary on Meeks Drive. Besides making the campuses more secure from outsiders, the district is also looking at improving traffic around the schools with a new driveway for buses. The buses will be able to drop off and load students at both campuses from one bus stop.