10 New Buses; Updates At Bush, SSES Also Included In Nov. 8, 2022 SSISD Bond Proposal
The $81.5 million bond election called for Nov. 8 by Sulphur Springs ISD includes some of the same proposals outlined in the $93 million bond proposal which failed on May 7, but some notable differences, according to a press release distributed by SSISD Superintendent’s Office Monday afternoon, Aug. 22, 2022.
Several projects in the prior plan, according to school administrators, are being postponed due to inflation. The district, however, would take advantage of “potential improved bond capacity” if the bond passes in November.
The $81.5 million SSISD bond election called for Nov. 8 still calls for a new campus for Travis Primary, but the notice did not specify where the new campus would be located or approximate cost. In the May 7, 2022, bond election, officials and the building improvement committee proposed updates at SSES, as well as constructing a new campus to serve elementary students on the site of what currently serves as a track at the far end of the SSES campus. The spring bond proposal allocated $35 million for the new Travis Primary Campus.
The Nov. 8 bond proposal calls for 8 additional classrooms, additional cafeteria space to accommodate campus needs, as well as improved pick-up and drop-off areas at Bowie Primary. During community meetings for the prior May 7 bond election, officials reported the campus was one of the few that has room to expand out further onto the property across or near the current playground and open field often used by community leagues for sports activities. The campus was allocated $6,000 for improvement on the May bond proposal.
Under the Nov. 8 bond plan, security would be updated by reconfiguring the entrance and front office area at Sulphur Springs Elementary; the building would also get a new roof and upgrades as needed. The prior plan allocated $3 million to SSES for renovations.
On the Nov. 8, 2022 election ballot, as proposed, will be improved parking and upgrades to Barbara Bush Primary, including an improved intercom system. Previously, the district had allocated $1 million to Bush Primary for improvements.
The $81.5 million bond proposal includes upgraded security at Sulphur Springs High School, which would be achieved by creating new front office space; SSHS has also been tabbed in the Nov. 8 election for additions to fine arts spaces, a new roof, as well as painting and parking upgrades as needed. The prior May 7 bond proposal allocated $10 million in renovations at SSHS, as well as a $12 million CTE Center (to house culinary arts, auto shop, health science technology, construction trades and robotics programs) and $12.5 million for fine arts.
As proposed in the Nov. 8 election, the district would finance 10 buses over 5 years, which is half the number proposed in the spring, when costs were projected at $2 million for buses.
Also listed separately in the spring bond proposal as capital improvements across the district was $9 million for roofing and HVAC work. In the fall bond proposal which voters will determine on Nov. 8, roofing work is included in plans listed for SSES and SSHS.
Among the items proposed on the May 7 ballot that the Nov. 8 proposal does not include were $2 million in renovations at Douglass ECLC and $500,000 in renovations to Austin Academic Center/DAEP.
The bond would add 1 cent per $100 property value to SSISD taxes. That would go onto the I&S indebtedness side of the tax rate. The district on Monday, prior to calling for the Nov. 8 bond election, also approved a tax rate of $1.1651 per $100 property valuation. The tax rate is composed of two parts, the maintenance and operations tax rate or M&O tax rate, which is used for salaries and daily operations. The second part of the tax rate is the issuance and sinking or I&S which is the amount levied to pay of bonded indebtedness.
The M&O tax rate passed by the school board on Monday, Aug. 22, 2022, for tax year 2022-2023 was set at $0.85460, which is actually a 1.7 cent ($0.017) per $100 property valuation decrease in the M&O tax rate, in accordance with the state set formula. The I&S tax rate adopted Monday, Aug. 22, 2022, was $0.3105 per $100 property valuation. Should the Nov. 8 $81.5 million bond proposal pass, that 1 cent would be added to the I&S tax, increasing it to $0.3205 per $100 valuation, which would still be a $0.007 per $100 property valuation decrease in the overall tax rate, Superintendent Michael Lamb explained Monday, when presenting the scaled back bond proposal to the school board for consideration.