Voters in the S&S Consolidated Independent School District have the opportunity to vote on the district’s $20.5 million bond election next week. Here’s a look at what voters will consider.
Why was the bond election called?
The bond election was called to fund a new middle school campus. The new campus would serve fifth through eighth grade.
The current middle school was first constructed in 1939 with an addition in 1955 and another addition in the 1960s.
The new campus will include a storm shelter and room for future expansion. The current middle school was built to hold 225 students with a current total of around 200 students. The current middle school is large enough for the district’s current needs.
However, the elementary campus located in Southmayd is over capacity. The new middle school would be large enough to house fifth through eighth-graders instead of the current sixth through eighth grade campus. This would take the fifth graders out of the overcrowded elementary and move them to the new campus.
Why is there no architectural rendering of the proposed middle school project available?
S&S Superintendent Roger Reed said the rendering of the middle school would require the use of tax dollars to pay for the architectural fees. The CISD, therefore, intends to wait to see if the bond is passed before investing funds for design.
Reed said residents who wish to be part of the design process would be welcomed to join a Facility Design Committee following the election. The committee would be charged with providing input on designing and planning the new facility.
The estimated cost is based on the construction of a quality facility spanning approximately 73,500 square feet with 20 core classrooms and a maximum capacity of 500 students. The functional capacity for the building would be closer to 375.
The campus would be self-sufficient and include a gymnasium, band hall and other necessary facilities. The building would also allow for the separation of fifth and sixth graders from seventh and eighth graders.
How will the bond be funded?
The bond will be funded by an increase in the interest and sinking portion of the tax rate from the current 13 cents per $100 of taxable assessed valuation to 45 cents per $100 of taxable assessed valuation. For homes with an appraised value of $100,000, the monthly impact will be about $20.25. The monthly impact is an estimate and based on expected bond market conditions at the time of the bond issuance.
Where would the facility be located and why?
The facility will be located adjacent to the current high school off of FM 901 in Sadler. The location was chosen to reduce expense as it is already owned by the district, Reed said. Convenience also played a role in the selection. The site is already home to the current extracurricular facilities such as the football stadium, track and football practice fields.
The proximity to the high school would allow staff to easily travel between the two campuses. This is important specifically for athletic coaches as it allows them to work with both middle school and high school athletes, Reed said.
How do transfer students affect the district’s funding?
The S&S CISD student population is comprised of 22 percent transfer students. Approximately 200 students out of the total 923 student population transfer in from other districts.
Transfer students undergo an application process that evaluates grades, discipline and conduct. Students must continue to apply each year.
As property values rise and thereby tax income increases, state funding declines. This means that although more money is received from taxes, less money is received from the state.
The only way to increase the amount of money received from the state is to increase student population. According to the district, the estimated income from transfer students for S&S CISD this year is over $1.2 million.
Reed said there are a number of variables in calculating the cost of educating a student. The district estimates it costs approximately $800,000 to educate its 200 transfer students. This means transfer students still bring in $400,000 more than they cost to educate.
“A lot of the costs that we have are static regardless of whether or not we have transfers,” Reed said. “There would still need to be three campuses. We would still need a principal, counselor, librarian and secretary for each campus.”
Early voting runs until Nov. 3. Official election day is Nov. 7 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. For more information on the bond and to find your specific tax impact using a Tax Rate Calculator visit http://www.sscisd.net.