SBISD Trustees Reaffirm Bond Election as Commitment to Community
12 Oct, 2017
The Board of Trustees and district leaders are moving forward with the previously announced Nov. 7 Bond election. The Spring Branch ISD Board of Trustees called an $898.4 million bond election on August 21, 2017. The bond will appear on the November 7, 2017 ballot.
“We called this bond election based on approximately $1.4 billion in identified needs and after almost two years of assessment and study,” said Spring Branch ISD President Karen Peck. “Our financial advisors have advised us that even after Hurricane Harvey, we can sustain the proposed bond program without a tax rate increase.
The proposal only authorizes the school district to sell bonds; it does not compel a timeline for the issuance of bonds. We retain the flexibility to manage the timeline in a manner that works best for this community over time in light of the challenges presented by Hurricane Harvey.”
Financial and bond advisors told Trustees during a Sept. 18 workshop that while Harvey has created hardships, history shows that SBISD property values have remained strong over time, including after other hurricanes and floods. After Harvey, conservative financial models continue to support a bond package with no expected tax rate increase, as well as one with flexibility in project timing and scheduling.
The Board and Superintendent Dr. Scott Muri discussed at length how to move forward in Harvey’s aftermath. Should the bond pass, SBISD may consider modifying the bond program schedule to ensure the original proposal. “We are committed to implementing the bond program so that the tax rate will not increase if voters approve our bond election on November 7,” Dr. Muri said.
Trustee Pam Goodson expressed the Board’s concern for all who were impacted by Hurricane Harvey, then reinforced Dr. Muri’s message. “Harvey put us all on our heels, but as Trustees we have to consider the long-term health and effectiveness of our schools, which is why this Board unanimously voted to have this bond election,” Goodson said. “Needs have not changed. We have to move forward with our long-range plan, but we can do that carefully and with sensitivity to the recovery efforts occurring throughout our community.”
The bond proposal includes rebuilding nine of the district’s oldest elementary schools as well as Landrum Middle School, constructing a new, multi-story Memorial High classroom building, replacing the auditorium at Stratford High, renovating the library/cafeteria at Spring Woods High, building a flexible new classroom wing at Northbrook High, upgrading safety and security, major systems and technology district-wide, and replacing the district’s oldest buses. The bond would also fund Career and Technical Education classroom equipment upgrades, new band/orchestra instruments and uniforms at all secondary schools, and athletics upgrades.
“The physical condition, safety, security, and flexibility of our facilities to accommodate evolving programs all impact the quality of education students receive in Spring Branch ISD,” Board President Peck said. “This bond will touch the lives of our youngest by rebuilding elementary schools and creating equity in facilities across SBISD. We are also very focused on our older students by beginning the work of rebuilding and making key improvements in our secondary schools. The Board is intent on preserving the district’s standing as a great school district, and a big part of that is making sure we have well-maintained and functional school buildings that support the outstanding educational opportunities that SBISD is known for.”
The district does not expect any tax rate increase as a result of this bond election if passed by voters. District homeowners have the third lowest school tax burden in the area. The annual SBISD tax bill on a $500,000 home is currently $5,229, compared to $5,400 in Cy-Fair ISD, $6,982 in Spring ISD, and $7,204 in Katy ISD.
By state law, there would be no tax increase for senior citizens 65 or over as a result of this bond election. The school tax rate and the amount paid are frozen when a taxpayer turns 65 years old.
Visit www.springbranchisd.com/bond2017 for more details.