What is a bond?
A bond is similar to a home mortgage. It is a contract to repay borrowed money with interest 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. Most school districts in Texas utilize bonds to finance renovations, equipment and new facilities.
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 for projects such as renovation to existing buildings or building a new school. If voters pass the referendum, they essentially give the district permission to take out a loan 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 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/furniture for new or existing buildings. Bonds cannot be used for teacher salaries or operating costs such as utility bills, supplies, building maintenance, fuel and insurance.
What is the length of the bond terms?
The maximum term for bonds allowed by law is 40 years. Most of ours are 30-35 years. For projects with a shorter life expectancy (i.e. technology, athletic supplies, etc.), bond terms are matched with the life of asset. This ensures we do not end up paying for items that we are no longer able to use.
What is included in the 2017 bond package?
The 2017 bond package is designed to address growth in our community and updates to facilities. The 2017 bond will fund High School #4, a replacement school for Wayside Middle School, updates to safety & security systems, the replacement of aging and inadequate facilities, and more. Visit the Bond Projects page to learn more.
How was the 2017 bond package developed?
The EMS ISD Bond Steering Committee reviewed and prioritized district needs relating to student population growth, building age, safety and conditions, and evolving educational deliveries and program needs. The 17-member Committee represented a broad cross section of the community, including parents, community and business constituents, and campus and district staff. The committee met five times and made a unanimous recommendation to the Board of Education on July 17, 2017.
Exactly how much is the proposed 2017 bond package?
Voters in EMS ISD authorized a bond amount of $524.7 million on November 7, 2017.
What is the projected growth for EMS ISD, and what is the potential impact on campus capacity?
EMS ISD is expected to have an increase of approximately 3,300 students during the next five years, and is projected to enroll more than 26,500 students for the 2026-2027 school year.
The 2006 and 2008 bond projects yet to be completed will address growth at the elementary and middle school levels.
All three high schools will be at or near capacity in the next four years.
How soon would the District build additional schools?
The district can’t build all of the schools at once. The district carefully plans and analyzes a number of factors including student enrollment, housing projections, TAVs (tax assessed valuations), interest rates, and construction prices before it decides when to build a new school. EMS ISD will sell bonds in increments over time to match the execution schedule of voter-authorized projects.
I see a proposal to replace Wayside Middle School. Where will the new school be built?
The district is considering a couple of options, including building on the existing Wayside site or purchasing land within a couple of miles of the current campus to build a new school. Several considerations such as costs and land availability will factor into that decision. Once the decision is made, that information will be communicated to our parents, staff, and community. Regardless of location, the district intends to maintain Wayside in the Boswell attendance boundary.
What is the primary goal of the Boswell High School athletic area expansion?
The goal is to expand capacity at Boswell and create facilities that best support current programs, creating spaces equitable to the district’s newest high school.
What is the primary goal of the Saginaw High School athletic area expansion?
The locker room and weight room project would expand both areas, making the size more equitable to the district’s newest high school. At the Saginaw stadium, the proposed work is primarily to address sidewalks improvements around the facility.
Which projects remain from the 2006 and 2008 bond programs?
There are four projects remaining in the 2006 and 2008 bond programs:
· Marine Creek Middle School (middle school #6) – This school is under contract and about to begin construction,
with scheduled opening in August 2019.
· Elementary School #16 – Planned opening 2020 on northeast side of the district.
· Elementary School #17 – Planned opening TBD.
· Elementary School #18 – Planned opening TBD.
All of the improvement projects in the existing bond program were completed several years ago.
Why did the District call another bond election if you’re still working on construction projects from the 2006 and 2008 bond programs?
Why would bond programs overlap?
In fast-growth school districts, it is common to have bond programs overlap because facility needs change as more students enroll in our schools. The last bond election was in 2008, nearly 10 years ago. At that time, the bond program was designed to accommodate the significant growth in student enrollment we have experienced in the last 10 years. The 2017 bond is designed to address growth as well as projects for safety and security, equity, and inadequate and aging facilities.
What are the factors that impact the project timelines?
Student growth, construction costs, interest rates, tax assessed values, and the opening of High School #4 are all significant factors in determining when we can issue bonds and begin the projects. We estimate that High School #4 could open in August of 2024.
What are the school district’s plans for attendance boundaries and feeder patterns?
EMS ISD officials have a long-term goal to implement pure feeder patterns. This means that, at build out, each high school would receive students from two specific middle schools, and each middle school would receive students from three specific elementary schools. Students leaving 5th grade from the same elementary school would not be split among different middle schools, for example. With the addition of Elementary Schools #16, #17, #18, Middle School #6, and High School #4, EMS ISD will be “built out” and District officials are working toward having pure feeder patterns at that time.
Since the 2017 bond election was passed by voters, will there be a change to the tax rate?
No, the tax rate will remain the same. Due to sound financial management, the district has enough bonding capacity to be able to issue future bonds for these projects within the existing tax rate.
How does the EMS ISD tax rate compare to surrounding school districts?
At $1.54, our overall tax rate is comparable to other fast-growth districts in the area. To see how EMS ISD’s tax rate compares to other area school districts, see the table below. Also, keep in mind that the tax rate will not increase if a bond is approved by voters.
Current Tax Rate
Should items with shorter life spans be in the bond program or paid with the general maintenance and operations (M&O) budget?
The capital project budget varies every year depending on the budget cycle and current state funding allocations. Each year, the district must prioritize their most urgent needs within their annual budget. The district’s M&O tax rate is at the state’s maximum and the majority of these funds are used for salaries and reoccurring operating costs. Bond funds would allow the district address some of the aging and failing projects that have been delayed due to budget constraints.
Who was eligible to vote in the 2017 bond election?
Any registered voter who resides within the school district boundaries.
How can I register to vote in future elections?
The Texas Voter Registration Application can be found online here, or applications can be picked up at any EMS ISD school as well as any Post Office, Library or DPS location.
After I have registered, when will I receive my Voter Registration Certificate?
You should receive a Voter Registration Certificate within 30 days. On Election Day, please bring your certificate to your local polling place if you have it. However, all that is required is a valid driver’s license. For more information about required ID, click here.
EMS ISD HOMEPAGE