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?
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.
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.
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?
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