BOND FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is a bond?
A bond is similar to a home mortgage. It is a contract to repay borrowed money with a stated interest rate over time. In Texas, most school districts utilize bonds to finance construction, renovations, and equipment.
Where will the proposed high school be built?
The District is currently negotiating land behind the E.C.A. Puls Farm Heritage Center. Relocating the high school to a new site will relieve traffic congestion and reduce drop off/pick up times at the Elementary and Intermediate campuses.
Where would the proposed elementary school be built?
The District is using demographic data to select a site located near active and future subdivisions.
Have the schools been designed?
Not yet. If voters approve the bonds, designers will meet with teachers and staff to get end-user input on how the school should look and function.
How was this bond developed?
A Facilities Committee was formed to study updated demographic data, enrollment projections, and current campus capacities. Staff gave input on academic and extracurricular facility priorities. The Committee considered all this information and recommended the bond proposal to the Board of Trustees.
How much growth is projected for NISD?
Demographers forecast 350 - 500 new homes a year for the next 3 - 5 years. This would mean an additional 1000 NISD students within the next 5 years. You can see the demographic study here.
What happens if the bond fails?
The Board would revise the facility proposal and try again in the future. In the meantime, the administration would develop plans to address facility needs as enrollment requires. More portable classrooms will be purchased.
What about rising property values?
NISD does not determine property values. Instead, the law requires County appraisal districts to appraise properties at least 95% percent of market value. If they do not, the appraisal district fails the Comptroller‘s ratio study, and the State reduces funding to local schools. Keeping Guadalupe County property values in line with the Comptroller’s guidance ensures that NISD retains funding for our schools.
How is the District’s tax rate configured?
A school district’s tax rate is comprised of two tax rates: the Maintenance & Operations tax (M&O) and the Interest & Sinking tax (I&S). The M&O rate is used to operate the school district, including salaries, utilities, furniture, supplies, food, gas, etc. The I&S rate is used to pay off school bonds. Bond sales only affect the I&S rate. NISD’s current tax rate is $1.1852, which is $0.0771 lower than last year’s rate.
If the 2021 Bond passes and the predicted growth doesn't materialize, will the school go bankrupt?
The District would not go bankrupt. The District’s tax rate and local funding has two components: the Maintenance and Operations (M&O) and the Interest and Sinking Fund (I&S). The 21-22 School Year Tax Rate is $.9452 for M&O, $.24 for I&S, for a total of $1.1852. The M&O portion supports the basic operation of the District and the I&S only supports the bonded debt of the district that is approved by the voters.
In order for the bonds to be issued and the District to receive the funds, the bonds must be approved by the Texas Attorney General’s office. The Texas Attorney General requires the District to show that it can repay the debt based on a $0.50 I&S tax rate and on the current taxable assessed value. If future growth should stop, the District would just not be able to issue any additional debt whether the voters approved it or not.
What will this bond cost taxpayers?
The bond will be 2 propositions. On a $250K home, Prop A would cost about $34.32 a month and Prop B would cost about $7.92 a month.
Will this bond increase taxes for over-65 voters?
No. If a homeowner receives the Age-65 Freeze on his or her homestead, the school taxes are frozen and cannot be raised above the frozen level unless significant improvements beyond normal repairs or maintenance are made to the home. Examples of a “significant improvement” would be adding a garage, building a game room, or adding a swimming pool to your property.
Can bond money be used to pay teacher salaries or give teachers a raise?
By law, bond funds cannot be used for payroll expenses.
Who can vote in this bond election?
Anyone at least 18 years of age and living within the boundaries of NISD is eligible to vote. You must be registered by Monday, October 4 in order to participate in this election.
How do I know if I’m registered to vote?
You can check your voter registration status at www.votetexas.gov. Residents can also call the Guadalupe County Elections Department at (830) 303-6363.
How will the ballot be worded?
There will be 2 propositions on the ballot. Voters will be asked to vote “for” or “against” each one. Go to our Bond Ballot Language page to learn more.
Community Question: On the Facility Planning webpage from the December 2020 Facilities meeting, it states that we have a current high school capacity of 881. Why would we build a new high school for 1000 students?
The capacity numbers for the high school that were shared in the December facilities planning meeting came from an old facilities study. In March of 2021, a new study was started and capacity numbers were updated.
The previous study gave us a capacity at the High School of 881. The updated data shows capacity at 650. This updated capacity of 650 also aligns with past facilities studies.
Once this discrepancy was brought to our attention, we investigated why the numbers were drastically different.
Upon further investigation, it was discovered that the previous capacity study (from the December Facilities Meeting) used a method called Gross Building Square Footage. This is the method of taking the square footage of a building and dividing it by the general square footage per student.
The updated data uses a method called Functional Design Capacity. It determines the maximum population for instructional spaces based on best practice allocation of square footage per student. (This basically means that each useable classroom was counted instead of just overall square footage).
After continuing coordination and evaluation with Claycomb Architects, we can increase the size of the new high school to hold 1100 students comfortably within the current bond amount. Comfortably meaning, that classes will be 25 students or less per class. If need be, the school could hold more students but have larger class sizes than we desire.
We are sorry for the confusion and hopefully, this clears up the question about capacity.