Early voting for the May 5, 2018 Salado ISD bond election will begin this coming Monday, April 23.
The following are the answers to common questions regarding this bond election.
1. What is a bond?
A bond is similar to a home mortgage. It is a contract to repay borrowed money with interest over time. Bonds are sold by a school district to competing lenders to raise funds to pay for the costs of construction, renovations and equipment. Most school districts in Texas utilize bonds to finance renovations and new facilities.
2. How can bond funds be used?
Bond funds can be used to pay for new buildings, additions and renovations to existing facilities, land acquisition, technology infrastructure and equipment for new or existing buildings. Bonds cannot be used for salaries or operating costs such as utility bills, supplies, building maintenance, fuel and insurance.
3. What is a bond election?
School districts are required by state law to ask voters for permission to sell bonds to investors in order to raise the capital dollars required for projects such as renovation to existing buildings or building a new school. Essentially, the voters are giving permission for the District to take out a loan and pay that loan back over an extended period of time, much like a family takes out a mortgage loan for their home. A school board calls a bond election so voters can decide whether or not they want to pay for proposed facility projects.
4. Exactly how much is the proposed bond package?
The Board of Trustees called a bond election in the amount of $49.4 million to be brought before voters on May 5, 2018.
5. How was the bond package developed?
A Facilities Planning Committee was established to review and prioritize district needs relating to a growing student population, building age, safety and conditions, and evolving educational deliveries. The Committee represented a broad cross section of the community, including parents, business leaders, teachers, district administrators, and community leaders.
The committee met six times from September 2017 through January 2018. Upon completion of the Committee’s analysis, a recommendation was presented to the Board of Trustees on January 29, 2018.
6. How will the proposed bond election affect my taxes?
If voters approve the bond election, the estimated tax impact of this bond is anticipated to be 31.62 cents for a total tax rate of $1.54. For the average SISD home value of $238,848, this represents an increase of $56.35 per month.
7. How do I calculate my personal tax impact for the bond package?
To calculate your personal tax impact from the bond package, divide the taxable value of your property (less homestead exemptions) by 100. Then, multiply that number by .3162 for the annual impact of the total bond proposal. You can also use the tax calculator on the Tax Information page to calculate your personal tax impact.
8. What if I am over 65 years old? Will my taxes go up if the bond is successful?
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 – regardless of changes in tax rate or property value – unless significant improvements are made to the home, increasing the overall value.
9. What if I am over 65 years old and receive the “Senior Citizen Exemption” and my home value goes up, will my taxes increase?
The appraised value can change and the tax rate will change, but the amount of school taxes on your homestead cannot increase above the amount paid in the first year after turning 65. Normal repairs, maintenance and the economic impact of the market cannot increase the amount of taxes you will pay once a tax ceiling is in place on that homestead. Therefore, if this bond election is successful, it will not have an impact on the tax bill for homesteads that are receiving the senior citizen exemption, unless you make significant improvements to your home.
10. Where will the new Middle School be located?
The new school will be built on new, district-owned property adjacent to the current high school.
11. How were the project costs developed for the projects under consideration?
The costs associated with each potential project are total project costs based on accepting construction bids early to mid-2019. They are a turn-key number, which include: construction costs, soft costs (building permits, surveys, design fees), Furniture Fixtures and Equipment (applies to construction of new facilities and education spaces), technology (applies to construction of new facilities and education spaces), escalation (dollars of construction inflation that occur from today’s date until bid day) and contingency (emergency funds to cover unforeseen/unexpected items).
12. What is the projected growth for Salado ISD?
According to the district’s demographer, Templeton Demographics, we are projected to enroll an additional 444 students in the next five years and 962 students in the next ten years. Since 2012, enrollment has increased from 1,348 students to 1,854 students. This is an increase of 506 students or 38%, which is the highest percentage rate of all 81 school districts in the Waco Region 12 Education Service Center.
13. How has this growth impacted the district?
Based upon the number of classrooms and square footage, the elementary and intermediate schools are already over capacity, the junior high school is projected to be over capacity by next year and the high school is projected to be over capacity in three years.
14. What is Salado ISD’s transfer policy?
SISD school board members unanimously approved a policy change over a year ago, November 28, 2016, that effective January 1, 2017, we are no longer accepting new transfer students, with the following exceptions: children of employees, siblings of current transfer students, resident students that move out of the district, and children of active duty military and disabled veterans.
As a result, our number of transfer students lowered from 254 last year to 237 this year. Even though we have 17 less transfer students this year, we have 117 more resident students, for a net increase of 100 students this year. With the policy change, the number of transfer students will continue to decline and we will continue to see the resident student growth increase. Our enrollment projections are based on resident student growth only.
15. Who is eligible to vote in this election?
Any registered voter that resides within the school district boundaries.