SABINE ISD 2013 BOND

 

The bond proposition to construct a new Sabine Elementary School was passed by voters on
May 11, 2013, with 66 percent of voters in favor. The 2013 bond will address:

• Aging campus for grades Pre-K through 5

• Undersized classrooms

• Safety and security, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), fire code and building code deficiencies

• Insufficient technology and electrical infrastructure

• Traffic congestion

 

 

NEW SABINE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL ($19,830,000)

 

A new Sabine Elementary School was built to replace former elementary school building.

 

CURRENT FACILITY

 Facility is deficient in areas such as building, electrical and fire code requirements, technology and ADA

• There are multiple buildings on campus with unsecured access points, creating safety and security issues

• Building systems, such as HVAC, plumbing, roof and windows, have exceeded their life expectancy

• Some classroom sizes are below state requirements

• The current facility has undergone eight different additions or renovations, which has resulted in a disjointed and inefficient building layout

• The campus is experiencing drainage issues

• Limited parking and insufficient space for bus and parent drives create traffic congestion along city streets

NEW FACILITY

• Capacity of 740 students to be built on land owned by the school district that is bordered by CR 3634 Access Road, Rice Road and FM 1252.

• Classrooms for grades Pre-K through 5 that meet state size requirements, with capabilities to support current and future classroom technology

• Computer and science classrooms, art room, music room, library, cafetorium, kitchen, activity center and playgrounds

• Access control system for campus security and visual control of classroom wings

• Separate drives for bus and parent traffic

• On-site parking for staff and visitors

NEW SITE

It is planned for the new elementary school to be built on approximately 12 acres of the 54 acres

that the district owns that is bordered by CR 3634 Access Road, Rice Road and FM 1252.

 

2013 BOND FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

1. What is a bond?

A bond is similar to a home mortgage. It is a contract to repay borrowed money with a low-cost 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. Most school districts in Texas utilize bonds to finance renovations and new facilities.

2. 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.

3. 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 to renovate existing buildings or build a new school. Essentially, it’s permission to take out a loan to build and 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 that voters can decide whether or not they want to pay for proposed facility projects.

4. Exactly how much is the District asking for?

The Board of Trustees called a bond election in the amount of $19,830,000 to be brought before voters on May 11, 2013 to construct a new Sabine Elementary School.

5. How was the bond package developed?

The bond package was developed by a Bond Steering Committee consisting of local citizens, business leaders, parents and school staff. The committee met over the course of several months and studied the district’s community survey results, the current educational facilities, facility options and cost estimates from the District's Architect, financial information from the District’s Financial Advisor and input from campus/district staff. The committee then developed a recommendation for the Board of Trustees to consider. The recommendations were presented to the Board on January 14, 2013. The Board voted on February 12 to call the bond election as presented by the Committee.

6. What does the proposed bond election address?

The proposed bond election addresses an aging campus for Grades Pre-K through 5, undersized classrooms, security and safety issues, Americans with Disability Act (ADA), fire code, building code and technology deficiencies and high traffic congestion.

7. How is the District’s tax rate configured?

 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 construction bonds. Bond sales only affect the I&S rate.

8. What are the historical tax rates of Sabine ISD?

9. How does Sabine ISD’s tax rate compare to other school districts?

10. How will the proposed bond election affect my taxes?

If the bond election is approved by voters, the estimated maximum tax impact of this bond is anticipated to be 27.8 cents for a total tax rate of $1.318. For a home value of $100,000, this represents an increase of approximately $15 per month. This is based on the conservative assumption that there will be zero growth in taxable values within the district. If the district grows, the tax impact will be less.

11. What if I am over 65-years-old?

Will my taxes go up if the bond is successful? No. If you have applied for and received the Age 65 Freeze on your homestead, your school taxes will not be raised above their frozen level.

12. When will construction of the new elementary school be complete?

If the bond is approved by voters on May 11, the design and planning process will begin immediately and be completed by August 2013 when construction of the new elementary school will begin. The new school is planned to be complete in August 2014 in time for the 2014-15 school year.

13. Where will the new elementary school be built?

It is planned for the new elementary school to be built on approximately 12 acres of the 54 acres that the district owns that is bordered by CR 3634 Access Road, Rice Road and FM 1252.

14. Why was this tract of land chosen?

The Bond Steering Committee recommended building on this site versus the site of the existing elementary school because:

• Construction will not disrupt the existing campus or require students to be relocated to portables.

• It allows for construction to occur more quickly because the construction work will not need to be phased on an existing site.

• It is estimated to be $846,607 less expensive to build than building on the existing site.

• The new site allows for better traffic flow than the existing site.

• The new site provides more outdoor space for playgrounds and physical education than the existing site.

• The new site includes more land for future expansion than the existing site.

• The new site allows for a 1-story plan, whereas the existing site limits the design to a 2-story plan.

• The new site allows more flexibility in siting and placing building to maximize site efficiency than the existing site.

15. When did the school district purchase the land and how much did they purchase it for?

The Board of Trustees approved the purchase of this land in 2009 using its general operating fund for $813,641, approximately $15,000 per acre. As the Board considered the purchase of this particular tract of land, they took into consideration cost, usability, location and the cost to prepare the land for future construction.

16. Why did the school district purchase the land?

The Board of Trustees approved the purchase of this land to prepare the district for future expansion needs. In addition:

• The purchase price was 37 percent below appraised value as reported by an independent local appraiser.

• The land was deemed usable as reported in an environmental study performed by Sphere 3 Environmental and by an independent,
   third-party architectural firm (not the current firm the school district is working with on the bond program).

• The land has road frontage on three sides of the property, allowing the district to better plan for and control the flow of traffic around a future campus.

17. What will happen to the existing elementary school building once the new Sabine Elementary School opens?

Once the new elementary school building opens, immediate plans for the existing elementary school building include utilizing the administrative and classroom space for the Gregg County Special Education Shared Services Agreement that is operated by the school district. The gymnasium would continue to be used for both district and community activities. Future discussions will occur on how to maximize both the building and the land of the existing elementary school to best serve future student growth.

18. What is the current enrollment at the elementary school, and how has it grown over the past several years?

The Sabine Elementary School Fall PEIMS enrollment over the last six years is as follows:

19. I want to vote but am not registered. Where can I register?

Stop by your local post office and pick up a registration card or register online. You must register 30 days before Election Day to be eligible to vote in this election.

Your last day to register is April 11, 2013.

20. 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.

21. If I turned 65 in 2005 back when the district’s tax rate was $1.50 and applied and received my 65 and over tax freeze, does that mean that my tax ceiling is set at $1.50 and, with the passage of this bond, my taxes could increase?

No. In 2006, the Texas Legislature passed House Bill 5 that implemented an amendment to provide for the reduction of tax ceilings for Over-65 or disabled homeowners. Based on this legislation, when the district’s tax rate decreased to $1.04, your new ceiling is set at that “compressed” tax amount based on the new lower rate of $1.04. The law directs that the new ceiling remains on the home until the residence is no longer the owner’s homestead.

 

Please reference the state Property Tax Code, Section 11.26 for official language:

“If the individual qualified that residence homestead for the exemption after the beginning of that first year and the residence homestead remains eligible for the same exemption for the next year, and if the school district taxes imposed on the residence homestead in the next year are less than the amount of taxes imposed in that first year, a school district may not subsequently increase the total annual amount of ad valorem taxes it imposes on the residence homestead above the amount it imposed in the year immediately following the first year for which the individual qualified that residence homestead for the same exemption, except as provided by Subsection (b).”

22. Should there be a concern for chemical spills from accidents on the Interstate that could cause evacuation of the new school?

Many schools throughout the state of Texas are located along or near main highways and interstates. The district has conducted research with the Texas Department of Transportation, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and the US Department of Transportation Office of Hazardous Materials Safety. Open records requests were filed with each of these entities to determine what, if any, incidents have occurred along Interstate 20, from Old Hwy. 135 (Exit 582) to Hwy. 42, which have resulted in an evacuation in the past ten years. The results from all entities showed that zero incidents have resulted in an evacuation.

23. Where specifically on the site will the new school be located?

The 54 acre site is large enough that the school and its associated infrastructure (drives, utilities, etc.) can be placed almost anywhere on the site and leave enough room for functional future use of the remaining acreage. However, at this time, it is premature to determine exactly where on the site the building should be placed. In order to successfully address site planning, the architect will need to receive an accurate site survey indicating topography, easements, utility service points, etc. The architect will also need to acquire geotechnical information about the site in order to understand bearing capacities of the underlying soils.  The funds to pay for these surveys and reports are included in the proposed bond amount. Therefore, they will not be completed until after the bond election, should it be approved by voters. At that time, the architect will study them carefully and work with the district’s administration to site the building where it makes the most functional and economic sense to do so.

 

©2013 Sabine Independent School District