View the full Blue Ridge ISD Bond Presentation for a complete overview of the bond facts and information below.
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. This bond would allow the district to finance improvements and new schools without needing to cut regular budget items like school programs, teachers, and staff. Since school buildings sometimes 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.
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, 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.
WHAT IS A BOND ELECTION?
The Board of Trustees called a bond election in the amount of $25 million to be brought before voters on May 4, 2019.
HOW MUCH IS THE BOND AMOUNT?
Working with Board of Trustees, teachers and administrators from across the district, the long range facilities planning committee developed a list of requested items to consider for inclusion in a 2019 bond package. Blue Ridge ISD has been evaluating current facilities and equipment, ongoing enrollment growth and district priorities with the Board of Trustees.
HOW WAS THE BOND PACKAGE DEVELOPED?
WHO MADE UP THE LONG RANGE FACILITY PLANNING COMMITTEE?
During the fall, Mr. Wink began inviting community members, business owners, staff, and administration to attend the Long Range Facility Planning Committee meetings. The first meeting was held on October 4, 2018, with three additional committee meetings to follow.
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. The tax rate is projected to increase $9.85. This is an estimated $16.42 a month for the average household in Blue Ridge ISD.
HOW WILL THIS IMPACT TAXES?
NO TAX INCREASE FOR 65 & OLDER
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 a person turns 65 or is disabled. This rate stays in effect regardless of changes in tax rate or property value, unless there are new improvements to the homestead that increase the value of the home. You must apply for this exemption.
HOW DO I APPLY FOR THE OVER 65 NO TAX INCREASE EXEMPTION?
To apply for the 65 or older exemption through the Collin County Appraisal District, Click Here to visit their Over 65 Exemption web page and download the application, or visit CollinCountyAppraisalDistrict.org.
IS BRISD GROWING?
Blue Ridge ISD is growing - The elementary school is at capacity now and the high school is projected to be at capacity by fall of 2019 school year. The middle school is projected to be at capacity by 2025.
HOW MUCH MONEY IS ALREADY AVAILABLE FROM PREVIOUSLY PLANNED GROWTH?
The district currently has a fund balance of $1,157,000 in our Interest & Sinking account. This fund balance can be used for payments on bond debt only.
DOES THE DISTRICT CURRENTLY PAY ON A BOND? IF SO, WHAT IS THE TERM ON THE NOTE, THE REMAINING BALANCE, AND WERE ALL THE FUNDS USED OR ARE THERE ANY AVAILABLE FUNDS?
The district currently has an outstanding principal balance of $13,300,000. These outstanding bond funds were used to build the High School, High School gym/band hall wing, Middle School, and Elementary. The current term would end in 2040. There are not any bond funds left over from this bond.
The Long Range Facilities Planning Committee has proposed repurposing the current elementary campus (capacity 396 students) as the middle school campus. The current middle school campus has been proposed to become a wing of the high school campus, bringing the high school campus capacity to 550 students. This plan was proposed by the LRFPC. Recognizing the bond capacity of the school district and the recommendation from the LRFPC, the Board of Trustees approved placing the bond on the May ballot.
WHAT ARE THE PLANS FOR EXISTING BRISD FACILITIES?
We are currently projecting an estimated cost of $23.1 million for the new elementary facility, $1 million for the athletic facility, $500,000 for existing facility renovations, and $400,000 for the new Ag barn.
HOW WILL THE $25 MILLON BE ALLOCATED?
Based on the location of the construction site for the new elementary building, there would be funds available to improve traffic flow and expand parking options within the district. Funds may also be used to complete updates to the existing elementary school in transition to becoming the middle school.
WHAT ARE THE IMPROVEMENTS MADE TO EXISTING FACILITIES?
Due to a growing athletic program, the addition of a weight room facility will provide additional opportunities for our athletes to access the weight room equipment. This building will also include a locker room to be used by visiting teams as well as additional lockers for BRISD athletes. The addition of a concession stand will be to replace the older concession stand as well as provide additional restrooms for the athletic facilities. The existing concession stand will be repurposed at a later date using district funds.
SOME OF THE BOND DETAILS SEEM TO BE FOR THINGS IN PLACE, LIKE THE WEIGHT ROOM, CONCESSIONS, ETC?
At this time there are no conceptual drawings of new facilities but there are general specifications such as square footage, gymnasium with a storm shelter, and number of classrooms with a core capacity of 700 students. Key components were developed through working with the Board of Trustees, teachers, administrators, and the Long Range Facilities Planning Committee. So that no district funds were spent prior to the outcome of the bond election, the district made the decision to wait to develop drawings.
ARE THERE ANY CONCEPTUAL DRAWINGS WITH THE VISION FOR WHAT IS PLANNED IF THE BOND IS SUCCESSFUL?
The plan for current gear/equipment is to utilize as much as possible in the new facilities and add additional gear/equipment as needed. Current equipment within each campus will remain with that campus, with some items being relocated to accommodate district needs.
WHAT IS THE PLAN FOR EQUIPMENT THAT IS ALREADY IN EXISTING FACILITIES?
WHAT SCHOOL YEAR DO YOU ANTICIPATE THE NEW ELEMENTARY TO OPEN, AND WHERE WILL IT BE LOCATED?
We anticipate the new elementary school to open August of 2021. If the bond election is successful, the Board of Trustees will work with the architectural firm to determine possible locations for the elementary school on land already owned by the district.
WHAT ARE THE PLANS IF THE BOND DOESN’T PASS?
If the bond does not pass, the district will begin looking into alternative solutions to house students such as portable buildings for each campus.
Increasing class size, traveling teachers, teacher who share classrooms, installing portable buildings, other options may become available through discussion with the board.
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