2016 BOND background

The planning for the May 2016 bond election was a multi-year process and involved many levels of information gathering, research and community input.

 

In response to student enrollment growth and major capital improvement needs, Sealy ISD initiated a plan to address facility concerns. The planning initiative encompassed many pieces including selection of an architect, a district-wide existing facility assessment, a demographic study, financial analysis, study of grade level reconfiguration and appointment of the Long Range Facilities Planning Committee.

 

The Long Range Facilities Planning Committee, made up of local citizens, civic and business leaders, parents and school staff, met for four months to study and prioritize district needs. They toured every campus and studied the existing facility assessment, current capacity analysis and enrollment projections, input from staff, district financial information, tax impact scenarios and results from a community survey. They examined many different facility solutions and project costs, and worked to prioritize needs. Upon completion of the committee's analysis, a recommendation was presented to the Board of Trustees.

 

After careful consideration of the committee's recommendations, the Sealy ISD Board of Trustees unanimously called a bond referendum on February 17, 2016 which was held May 7, 2016, resulting in the passing of the bond with 67 percent in favor.

WHAT'S INCLUDED

NEW CONSTRUCTION AND EXISTING FACILITY IMPROVEMENTS

  • A new elementary school, the district's second, will be constructed on a new, centrally located site with the capacity to serve 850 PK-5 students.
  • The existing elementary school is over 30 years old and the intermediate and junior high schools are nearly 40 years old. With improvements, upgrades and repairs; these aging buildings can continue to serve students at a high level while keeping the cost low to taxpayers.

 

GRADE REALIGNMENT AND GROWTH

  • Sealy Junior High School will incorporate Selman Intermediate School to serve as one comprehensive Junior High School campus serving grades 6-8.
    • Renovations to the comprehensive campus include a reconfiguration of spaces to create science labs to serve 6th grade students.
  • Grades 4 and 5 will be moved to the elementary school level, eliminating the intermediate level resulting in less school transitions for students while creating needed capacity.

 

SAFETY AND SECURITY ENHANCEMENTS

  • Security improvements including controlled entry vestibules, surveillance and access control will be installed at Selman Elementary, Sealy Junior High School and Sealy High School.

 

ACCESSIBILITY UPGRADES

  • District-wide handicap accessibility improvements will be made to each school for those with disabilities.

TAX INFORMATION

 

Public school taxes involve two figures: Maintenance and Operations (M&O), used to pay for salaries, utilities, furniture, supplies, etc.; and Interest and Sinking (I&S), used to repay debt for capital improvements.

With the passing bond election, Sealy ISD’s estimated maximum tax impact is anticipated to be 17 cents to the I&S portion, resulting in a total tax rate of $1.43. This represents an increase of approximately $7.79 a month for $100,000 of taxable home value, after factoring in the district’s 20 percent local exemption for residence homesteads.

YEAR       M&O       I&S       TOTAL

 2009    $1.04    $0.193    $1.233

 2010    $1.04      $0.22      $1.26

 2011    $1.04      $0.22      $1.26

 2012    $1.04      $0.22      $1.26

 2013    $1.04      $0.22      $1.26

 2014    $1.04      $0.22      $1.26

 2015    $1.04      $0.22      $1.26

HISTORICAL TAX RATES

 MONTHLY TAX IMPACT

SEALY ISD TAX IMPACT CALCULATOR

TAX RATES AND AMOUNTS FOR

NEIGHBORING DISTRICTS

(BY TAX RATE)

TAX RATES AND AMOUNTS FOR

NEIGHBORING DISTRICTS

(BY TAX AMOUNT)

HOW DOES SEALY ISD COMPARE?

Sealy ISD provides an optional 20 percent local tax exemption for residence homesteads providing additional tax relief to homeowners.

IMPACT ON SENIOR CITIZENS' PROPERTY TAXES

Under state law, the dollar amount of school taxes imposed on the residence homestead of a person 65 years of age or older who has filed an exemption application, may not be increased above the amount paid in the first year after the person turned 65, regardless of changes in tax rate or property value. This excludes the value of any new improvements, such as additions or renovations that increase the value of such homestead.

Contact the Harris County Appraisal District with questions about the Over 65 Homestead Exemption. To download a copy of the Homestead Exemption form, click here.

BOND QUESTIONS

WHAT IS A BOND?

A bond is similar to a home mortgage. It is a contract to repay borrowed money with an interest rate 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.

 

WHY DO SCHOOL DISTRICTS NEED TO SELL BONDS?

Most school districts in Texas utilize bonds to finance renovations and new facilities. The district does not receive any money from the state for the construction of new school buildings or improvements. This bond allows the district to finance improvements and new schools without needing to cut regular budget items like school programs, teachers and staff. Since school buildings serve the community for 50 or more years, it is well reasoned that taxpayers would pay for them over a period of 25 to 30 years and not from the district's annual operating budget.

 

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 and large-ticket items such as school buses. Bonds cannot be used for salaries or operating costs such as utility bills, supplies, building maintenance, fuel and insurance.

 

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 to renovate existing buildings or build a new school. Essentially, it’s permission to take out a loan to build and renovate 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.

 

HOW WAS THE BOND PACKAGE DEVELOPED?

The planning for the May 2016 bond election has been a multi-year process and involved many levels of information gathering, research and community input.

 

In response to student enrollment growth and major capital improvement needs, Sealy ISD initiated a plan to address facility concerns. The planning initiative has encompassed many pieces including selection of an architect, a district-wide existing facility assessment, a demographic study, financial analysis, study of grade level reconfiguration and appointment of the Long Range Facilities Planning Committee (LRFPC).

 

The LRFPC, made up of local citizens, civic and business leaders, parents and school staff, met for four months to study and prioritize district needs. They toured every campus and studied the existing facility assessment, current capacity analysis and enrollment projections, input from staff, district financial information, tax impact scenarios and results from a community survey. They examined many different facility solutions and project costs, and worked to prioritize needs. Upon completion of the LRFPC’s analysis, a recommendation was presented to the Board of Trustees.

 

After careful consideration of the LRFPC’s recommendations, the Sealy ISD Board of Trustees unanimously called a bond referendum on February 17, 2016 to be held May 7, 2016.

 

HOW IS THE DISTRICT’S TAX RATE CONFIGURED?

A school district’s tax rate is comprised of two components: the Maintenance & Operations tax (M&O) and the Interest & Sinking tax (I&S). The M&O rate is used to operate the school district, including salaries, utilities, furniture, supplies, food, gas, etc. The I&S rate is used to pay off school construction bonds. Bond sales only affect the I&S rate.

 

HOW WILL THE SUCCESSFUL BOND ELECTION AFFECT MY TAXES?

The estimated maximum tax impact of this bond is anticipated to be 17 cents to the I&S portion, resulting in a total tax rate of $1.43. This represents an increase of approximately $7.79 a month on a home valued at $100,000.

 

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 .17 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.

 

WHAT IF I AM OVER 65 YEARS OLD? WILL MY TAXES GO UP AS A RESULT OF THE BOND?

If you have applied for and received the Age 65 Freeze on your homestead, by law, your school taxes cannot be raised above their frozen level, unless new improvements are made, such as additions or renovations that increase the value of the home.

 

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. 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 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.

 

WHAT IS THE DISTRICT’S PROJECTED GROWTH?

The school district’s student population has grown by over five percent in the past five years and is projected to continue to grow one to three percent every year for the next 10 years. That equates to one to three additional classrooms of students each year.

 

WHY IS REALIGNING THE GRADE CONFIGURATION PART OF THE BOND?

Building a second elementary school, along with subsequent grade realignment is a cost effective way for the district to use its current schools to lessen the burden of capacity issues. By eliminating the intermediate level and moving 4th and 5th graders into the elementary level, the district will create needed capacity for 6-8 graders at the junior high school. In addition, as a result of the grade realignment, students will face less school transitions, which has been shown to provide a myriad of benefits. It provides more consistency for the student resulting in better discipline and performance, as well as provides a stronger alignment for instruction, testing and teacher collaboration.

 

WHERE WILL THE NEW ELEMENTARY SCHOOL BE BUILT?

At this time, a site has not been selected for the new school. The district is currently seeking a piece of land in or very near to town, but not in a place that would make traffic congestion worse.

 

WHAT ALL IS INCLUDED IN THE COST OF THE NEW SCHOOL?

The project has been proposed with a turnkey budget of $29,484,000. The budget for the new school is based on the program of spaces (what is to be included in the building) and the level of quality and material types (50 to 75 year building). In addition to the construction cost, the total budget amount also includes escalation to account for rise in construction costs between now and when the project actually bids, contingency, fees, permits, surveying costs, furniture, fixtures and equipment. Also included in the cost of building a new elementary school is the site development and utilities for a new, centrally located site. It is a turnkey budget to get the school up and running. Should the bond election be successful, the design phase would begin. Then, once the architectural drawings and plans are completed, the project will be competitively bid to multiple contractors to assure that the district is getting the best value. Should the project come under budget, the district does not have to sell those bonds.

 

 

 

 

 

©2016 Sealy ISD