Making a Difference
On Nov. 8, 2016, San Antonio ISD voters approved two separate ballot propositions to support school building renovations, 21st-century classrooms and increased academic support.
Both the $450 million bond and the Tax Ratification Election (TRE) to raise the District's Maintenance & Operations (M&O) tax rate by 13 cents passed with more than 70 percent voter approval.
The bond will fund major renovations for 13 schools, replacing infrastructure systems that, in most cases, are more than 40 years old, upgrading science labs and expanding other classroom spaces to meet recommended state guidelines.
The increase in the M&O tax rate will bring in an estimated $32.1 million in additional annual operating revenue, $15.6 million from local taxes and an estimated $16.5 million from the state. The additional revenue will support increased academic offerings for students, technology for the classrooms and upgrades to the learning environment.
Just as homeowners borrow money in the form of a mortgage to finance the purchase of a home, a school district borrows money in the form of bonds to finance construction of new schools and renovation projects. Both are repaid over time, but in order for a school district to sell bonds, it must go to the voters for approval. By law, bond funds may not be used to finance daily operating expenses, which are paid from the district's M&O budget.
The bond includes extensive renovations at 13 aging schools, including replacing infrastructure that, in many cases, is more than 40 years old. That includes HVAC, electrical, plumbing and other infrastructure needs. In addition, the bond would fund upgrades to science labs, expansion of other classroom spaces to meet recommended state guidelines, and accessibility upgrades.
The schools that would receive extensive renovations are: Brackenridge, Burbank, Edison, Fox Tech, Sam Houston, Lanier and Jefferson high schools, Davis, Irving, Rogers and Tafolla middle schools and JT Brackenridge and Bowden elementaries.
All of the high schools received some renovations, but not to the areas that would be renovated under Bond 2016. Most of the high school renovations under Bond 2010 focused on new career and technical education buildings or additions, while most projects under Bond 2016 will focus on the main school building, which was not previously renovated.
Much was accomplished through Bond 2010, but future bonds are needed to renovate additional aging buildings. Back in early 2010, following an extensive study of the condition of all SAISD facilities, a community-based committee developed a long-range master plan that would involve three consecutive bond programs to update and bring all schools up to standard. Bond 2010 was the first bond.
A general schedule for major projects includes a year of design, three months of bidding and award to contractors and two years of construction. Some projects may require as many as three years of construction due to phasing to ensure safety and limited disruption to students and staff.
Yes. Current codes, including energy codes, will be complied in order to improve energy and utility efficiency, including upgraded insulation of exteriors such as roofing, walls and windows; efficient air-conditioning and heating equipment; efficient lighting and sensors and use of low-flow toilets and urinals.
The Board of Trustees is in the process of appointing a Citizens Bond Advisory Committee to monitor and report to the Board and the public on the progress of the bond program's implementation.
Bond 2010 is substantially complete. Highlands High School, the most extensive, and the final project, is expected to be completed in spring 2017. Construction has been done in phases to minimize disruption to staff and students. The bond is on track to come in just under budget, and has been financed by a property tax rate that has, through effective financial management, been consistently lower than what was originally projected.
It's also called a Rollback Election.
Any Texas school district that adopts a Maintenance & Operations tax rate above $1.04 must hold a Rollback Election, also known as a Tax Ratification Election, to provide voters the opportunity to approve, or ratify, the higher rate. If voters approve the increase, this additional tax effort on the M&O tax rate generates additional funding from the state for daily operating costs.
Technology including computers, handheld learning devices and interactive whiteboards.
Improvements to the classroom environment, including additional data ports and outlets to support increased technology and interactive furniture that facilitates student collaboration.
It will generate an estimated $15.6 million in additional annual revenue, which the state would then more than match with an estimated $16.5 million contribution, for an estimated total of $32.1 million.
The increased operating revenue will assist the District in creating 21st-century classrooms throughout SAISD, paying for technology, including handheld learning devices and interactive whiteboards, as well as other classroom enhancements. The money also will provide additional funds for teacher compensation for after-school and summer programs that target the approximately 40 percent of students in need of additional academic support, as well as expanded extracurricular offerings for students.