Sulphur Springs ISD Trustees Call For $81.5 Million Bond Election

Maintenance Portion Of Tax Rate Is 1.7 Cents Lower; Bond Would Increase Debt Service Part Of Tax Rate 1 Cent

Sulphur Springs ISD Board of Trustees Monday morning called for an $81.5 million bond election to be held on Nov. 8, approved budget amendments, a tax rate that is 1.7 cents lower on the maintenance, for the upcoming tax year as well as a balanced budget.

SSISD Board of Trustees during an Aug. 22, 2022, special board meeting

The school board first approved a total tax rate of $1.1651 per $100 property valuation, that includes a maintenance and operations (M&O) rate of $0.85460 and an issuance and sinking rate (I&S or the amount raised to cover district indebtedness also called debt service portion of the tax rate) of $0.3105. The M&O rate is set by the state the state, and is 1.7-cent lower for the 2022-2023 tax year than the 2021-2022 tax year, but the I&S tax rate is not impacted by the state compression.

If approved, the bond would pay for facilities improvements and be paid back over 30 years using the 1 cent per $100 property valuation collected on the debt service potion of the tax rate. Overall, that’d still be a decrease in the overall tax rate of 0.7 of a cent.

“We’ve had different conversations since our last bond to get to this place where we’ve trimmed it down. As you realize inflation has taken its toll. when you look at some things and the prices go up, but we’ve trimmed some things out. As far as the bond goes, there’s just buildings we fell like we have to have to move forward,” SSISD Superintendent Michael Lamb said. “We feel like we’ve listened and heard from our community based on what we tried in May, and this one I feel like is much more palatable.”

Lamb said some of the needs still exist, but they were removed from the $93 million bond proposal which included construction of a new elementary campus as well as CTE at the classroom and improvements throughout the district. The first bond proposal was voted down by district residents 54.47% (1,191 votes) to 44.51% (956 votes) on May 7, 2022.

“We are just trying to bite as much of this apple as we can at a time and get down the road, this being 81.5 million dollars; its supposed to have a 1 cent tax impact,” Lamb said.

So essentially, while the overall tax rate decreased $0.017, if the new proposed $81.5 million bond is approved by voters during the Nov. 8, 2022, election, it would increase the I&S tax by $0.01 to $0.3205. That’d still be a reduction of $0.007 in the overall tax rate, Lamb noted, when presenting the $81.5 million proposal to the school board for consideration.

Travis and other elementary campuses would all receive upgrades with the bond money. The front of Sulphur Springs Elementary would undergo safety improvements and front entrance of Sulphur Springs High School security improvements, Lamb said.

All of the matters proposed were approved by unanimous approval of the six board members present at the Monday morning meeting; John Prickette was not in attendance.

The district was expected to post a release later in the day Monday with additional information regarding the bond proposal.

Author: KSST Contributor

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