A bond is similar to a home mortgage. It is a contract to repay borrowed money with a stated interest rate over time. In Texas, most school districts utilize bonds to finance construction, renovations, and equipment.
- To reduce overcrowding and prepare for enrollment growth.
- To improve campus safety and security.
- To expand Career and Technical Education program space.
- To reduce maintenance and operational expenses.
The District added 200 students in the past 5 years. An additional 300 students are projected for the next 5 years.
For the past year, a Citizens Advisory Committee comprised of parents, teachers, and community leaders have studied facility assessment data, reviewed enrollment numbers, toured all campuses, and prioritized $78.8 million in facility improvement projects. The Board of Trustees accepted their recommendation and called for the November bond.
The original middle school building is 52 years old. As buildings age, they become more expensive to maintain. The roof, plumbing, HVAC, and electrical systems need replacement. The classrooms don’t meet current size or technology standards. After reviewing these factors, the CAC recommended replacing the oldest portion of the campus with new construction and re-using the newer portions of the campus.
A school district’s tax rate is comprised of two tax rates: 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 bonds. Bonds only affect the I&S rate. The District’s total tax rate for 2019-2020 is $1.015, which is 14.5 cents lower than last year’s tax rate.
No. The square footages and estimated costs have been determined, but the design would happen after voter approval with teacher, staff, and administrator input on how to best implement Lumberton ISD’s program goals.
No. By law, bond money may not be used for recurring expenses, such as salaries, utilities, and daily supplies.
No. By law, if you receive an Age 65 or Older Exemption, your homestead taxes cannot be raised above the frozen level unless you make significant improvements or additions to your home, such as building a swimming pool or adding a garage or game room to your home.
Anyone at least 18 years of age and living within the boundaries of LISD is eligible to vote. You must be registered by Monday, October 7 in order to participate in this election.
You can check your voter registration status at www.votetexas.gov. Residents can also call the Hardin County Tax Assessor-Collector at (409) 246-5180.
The ballot will read:
“THE ISSUANCE OF $78,800,000 OF LUMBERTON INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT UNLIMITED TAX SCHOOL BUILDING BONDS AND LEVYING THE TAX IN PAYMENT THEREOF TO PAY FOR AND FINANCE THE CONSTRUCTION AND EQUIPPING OF NEW SCHOOL BUILDINGS AND THE RENOVATION, UPGRADES, EXPANSION AND EQUIPPING OF EXISTING SCHOOL BUILDINGS, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, ADDITIONS AND RENOVATIONS TO THE EXISTING EARLY CHILDHOOD CAMPUS, DEMOLITION OF BUILDINGS, CONSTRUCTING AND EQUIPPING TRAFFIC CIRCULATION IMPROVEMENTS AT THE PRIMARY SCHOOL AND INTERMEDIATE SCHOOL, CONVERTING INTERMEDIATE SCHOOL TO MIDDLE SCHOOL INCLUDING CONSTRUCTING AND EQUIPPING OF A MIDDLE SCHOOL MUSIC BUILDING TOGETHER WITH RENOVATIONS, UPGRADES AND ADDITIONS TO BOTH THE MIDDLE SCHOOL AND INTERMEDIATE SCHOOL AND DEMOLITION OF A PORTION OF THE EXISTING MIDDLE SCHOOL, ADDITION OF A CAREER AND TECHNOLOGY BUILDING, RENOVATIONS, UPGRADES AND ADDITIONS TO SAFETY AND SECURITY, PARKING LOT IMPROVEMENTS AND INFRASTRUCTURE IMPROVEMENTS THROUGHOUT THE DISTRICT.”
Voters will vote “for” or “against” the proposition.
It usually takes about 2 years from bond passage to move-in.
The duration of the bond will be for twenty-five years. As property values increase throughout the years, the tax impact will continue to drop.
We will not know the interest rate until the bonds are sold; however, with the tax rates at a low level, the opportunity for a low interest rate is possible. The preliminary tax rate analysis that was prepared by our financial consultant based the conservative assumption of 4%. The District’s financial consultant, US Capital Advisors, will market the bonds and will present the best opportunities to our school board to select the entity allocating the funds. This cannot be determined until after the bond election.
If the existing bonds will be paid off in 2020, won’t there be a resulting budget surplus? Where will that money go?
School district tax rates are based upon two entities, Maintenance and Operations (M&O tax) and Interest and Sinking (I&S tax). Bonds relate to Interest and Sinking tax rates. Since the bonds will be paid off in 2020, Lumberton ISD citizens will experience a decrease in their I&S tax rates for this next year. For the past several years, the I&S rates were set at .12 cents; however, this year the I&S tax rate is .045 cents. The I&S tax rate will fluctuate based upon the current property values, so when a bond is paid off the opportunity to have a budget surplus diminishes. I&S tax money can only be used for bond debt services and may not be used to operate a district.
For the information listed on the ballot, the vote will be for the entire package. However, the scope of work will be prioritized and be completed on an established schedule that creates minimal disruption to the learning environment.
Prior to calling for a bond election, the Citizens Advisory Committee heard information related to the energy costs to our buildings. The current middle school is one of the highest energy costing buildings the district possesses. Energy saving costs factors will be considered in the design phase for our buildings and will look for ways to decrease the overall cost of these buildings for the future. As with any bond process, maintenance costs for newer buildings generally decrease the overall impact to the district since the equipment is new.
What mechanisms are in place to maintain transparency with regard to contractors, bidding, and cost overruns?
The district will continually update the community throughout the building process if the bond passes. Transparency is of utmost importance. As for the bidding process, bids must be accepted by the school board before any building process begins and a limit to cost overruns will be established prior to the building process.