Frequently Asked Question
The Board of Trustees unanimously approved to call a bond referendum to address aging school facilities, classroom spaces that are smaller in square footage than the state requires, and energy efficiency. These issues cannot be addressed through the district’s Maintenance and Operations tax revenue and the state of Texas does not provide any additional funding for school facilities. The only way to pay for these projects, is to levy a tax that specifically pays for capital improvements through a bond election.
The proposed bond package is $107M. The projects will benefit every student in Dumas ISD and addresses aging facilities, small classrooms that do not meet state square footage requirements, and energy efficiency.
The proposal was developed by the Facility Advisory Committee consisting of citizens from across the district, including parents, students, and community members. The committee met over a five month period. They spent more than 820 hours studying, evaluating, touring schools, and prioritizing the district’s critical needs. Many project proposals were considered before the Committee ultimately made a recommendation to the Board of Trustees, which led to the calling of the bond election.
Bond elections are presented to voters in the form of a ballot proposition to either approve or deny the district the ability to issue and sell an amount of bonds. If approved by voters, the district can issue and sell an amount of bonds, in one or more installments, to construct, renovate and equip facilities within the district. Bonds are offered in the public market to potential investors at competitive market rates. The proceeds from the bond sale are deposited into a construction fund to pay for the construction and related costs of the proposed projects.
HB3 did provide the district with increased funding. However, the increase was intended to provide additional compensation for teachers and staff, as well as provide additional funding for targeted programs including At-Risk students, special education, and full-day Pre-K. The bill did not provide increased funding to be used for facilities improvements and construction.
The district has included in it’s projected bond total the amount to remove the existing buildings from their sites once they’ve been replaced. We are currently working with the City of Dumas on a plan for the existing greenspace.
If the voters approve the bond, construction planning will begin immediately. It may take up to 12 months of planning before actual construction can begin on the construction of new elementary schools. Construction can begin within 1-2 months for some of the other projects listed.
A bond election is a vehicle to raise funds for the building and maintenance of school facilities and associated infrastructure. A successful bond election grants school leaders permission to sell bonds to investors, which generates the funding for construction. Investors are paid interest over the life of the investment.
The law restricts how a school district can spend bond revenues. Bond revenues can only be used for capital equipment or improvements such as new construction, renovation projects, furniture, library books, computers and network technology, and similar items. By law, bond proceeds cannot be used for recurring costs such as teacher salaries and benefits, utilities, insurance or other operating expenses. The bonds are repaid through a portion of the taxes paid by property owners.
Your tax rate and dollar amount are frozen if you are 65 years of age or older. If voters approve the bond proposal it will not affect your tax bill. If you’ve turned 65 years old since 2008, your tax rate and dollar amount you pay would have been frozen the year you turned 65, if you filed for your senior citizen exemption with the County Appraisal District. NOTE: Senior citizens must request this status to qualify.
First, the district will analyze the results of the failed proposal and determine if another election can be successful in May of 2020. Regardless of the outcome of the proposed bond, the district is still obligated to search for efficiency strategies, which may include consolidation of current elementary schools. Our highest priority will continue to be addressing the needs of the district.
The district has created a comprehensive website with bond information and resources and consistently shares this information through district social media sites. Interested residents can follow the district’s Facebook and Twitter pages or visit the bond webpage at www.DumasISD.net/Bond2019 for the latest news and information.