Bond Steering Committee
What is the Bond Steering Committee?
A group of community members that have come together to evaluate the district’s projected growth and other aging and evolving facility needs in order to provide facility and equipment recommendations to the EMS ISD Board of Education in creating and maintaining learning environments that provide all students with great opportunities for success.
Why is EMS ISD forming a Bond Steering Committee?
The District wants input in evaluating its facility needs and by forming a Committee it allows the district to hear from and incorporate many different perspectives from people in the community. Committee participants reflect larger community values, needs, and desires.
Are only EMS ISD staff on the committee?
No. The Bond Steering Committee represents a diverse demographic makeup of EMS ISD residents, including parents, non-parents, local civic and business leaders, as well as school staff working alongside one another to prioritize and build a recommendation to the Board of Education that best represents the values and perceptions of the entire community.
What documents and data does the committee review to determine the needs
of the school district?
The Committee will study existing facility conditions, enrollment projections, financial data, and results of a community survey in order to form their recommendation. EMS ISD will make any other relevant data or requested data available to the committee that should aid them in their decision-making.
When is the deadline for the Board to call a bond election?
August 21 is the deadline to call an election for November 7, 2017.
If a bond election is passed, will there be a change to the tax rate?
No, it is the district’s intention to issue any future bonds within the existing tax rate. The tax rate would remain the same.
What would be included in the bond election?
The Bond Steering Committee made the following recommendation to the Board of Education on July 17: call a bond election in the amount of $524,755,863 to prepare for growth in our community, to update safety and security features, to have resources available to replace aging and inadequate facilities, and more.
If a bond election is called, who can vote?
Any registered voter who lives in the Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD boundaries. If someone is not already registered to vote, they must register with Tarrant County by Tuesday, October 10, to vote in the November election.
What is the difference between how bond funds can be used and how Maintenance and Operations (M&O) funds can be used?
M&O funds are capped at $1.04 (or $1.17 max with a Tax Ratification Election) and are used for day-to-day operations of the district. The day-to-day operations includes payroll, facility repairs and maintenance, utilities and fuel, school supplies, and other consumable materials.
Bond funds are part of the Interest and Sinking (I&S) budget, which is capped at $0.50 and used to fund debt repayment for “big ticket” items including new building construction, existing building renovations, land purchases, technology, etc. These funds CANNOT, by law, be used for salaries or operating costs.
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 chart below. Also, keep in mind that the tax rate will not increase if a bond is approved by voters.
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.
As new schools are built, will the district have the funds to operate these campuses?
Yes, the district has planned for the expenses. A new campus will not be built unless we can afford to operate and staff it within the district’s annual budget.
If there are still funds from the existing bond elections allocated for a new building to be opened in 2020 and other projects, why is there a need to have another bond election now?
It is common for bond programs to overlap. The existing bonds planned for future growth projected at that time. However, the district only builds new schools when the student enrollment growth requires them. When the housing market slowed approximately eight years ago, the district paced the construction of new schools accordingly. The remaining voter-approved funds are being used as the growth requires additional elementary and middle school campuses to be built. The potential 2017 bond would address continued and future projected growth by purchasing future sites, adding a fourth high school, and it would address aging/outdated systems by replacing equipment and renovating facilities.
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.
What is EMS ISD’s current projected bonding capacity?
The district has a current estimate of $379 million worth of bonding capacity based on today’s taxable assessed values. Currently, $158 million is already approved by voters to fund schools to accommodate elementary and middle school growth. To issue any amount above $158 million, the district must seek voter approval. As the district’s taxable values grow, its capacity to sell more bonds increases as well. Based on conservative growth assumptions, it is estimated EMS ISD can issue the total recommended amount for a new bond program of $524+ million over the next eight years while maintaining the existing tax rate.
Growth and New Schools
What is the projected growth for EMS ISD?
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 existing bond projects yet to be completed will address growth at the elementary and middle school levels. By 2019, two elementary campuses may be over capacity, and four campuses will be nearing capacity. Also, two middle schools may be over stated capacity and two may be nearing capacity.
All three high schools will be at or near capacity in the next four years.
Does the estimated cost for the new high school include anything other than construction?
Yes, the cost includes everything: fees, permits, design, construction, infrastructure, furniture, fixtures, equipment, contingency, and inflation to account for a rise in construction costs between now and when the project is built.
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 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 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.
I did not know administration was spread out among so many buildings and sites. That makes it difficult for them to be efficient and do their work effectively. Should the timeline for the administration building be moved up so it opens sooner?
Capacity is running out and the multiple locations does present challenges. Eventually, with continued enrollment growth, more space will be needed for district personnel and centralized services, but administration can continue to be effective for a number of years. The bond phasing option presented to the committee shows the new administration building would possibly open in 2025. District administrators have always put student environments first, and those areas should be prioritized.
Will carpet at the administration building be replaced if a new building will be built?
Yes, the current carpet, which is now 16 years old and past its life span, will be replaced at the current building. The current building will continue to be occupied for approximately eight or more years.
Could a new Saginaw Elementary be built and the current building converted into an administration building?
It would be too costly to renovate Saginaw Elementary into offices and replace the elementary campus in a new location. Additionally, the administration recognizes that Saginaw Elementary is a legacy school with generations of sentimental attachment, community pride, and historical significance.
System Life Spans
Should items with shorter life spans be in the bond program or paid with the general maintenance and operations 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.
Does the district automatically replace systems that have reached their life span?
No, the district waits until there is adequate funding and prioritizes projects accordingly. Currently, we have tennis court surfaces, sound systems, gym floors, and carpet that are several years past the recommended life span. In the next year, we will also have track surfaces and synthetic turf that will reach its life span.
Copyright Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD 2017