Round Rock ISD seeks hefty $572.09 million bond package, but district says tax impact minimal

Round Rock ISD's proposed sixth high school was a major part of the district's failed bond election.

Round Rock ISD's proposed sixth high school was a major part of the district's failed bond election.

Updated April 5 at 7:04 p.m. to clarify information regarding the proposed indoor aquatics center in north Round Rock. 


Voters in Round Rock ISD will decide May 6 whether the district can increase its tax rate to pay for $572.09 million in bonds to fund new school construction as well as a plethora of improvements and upgrades in existing schools. 


“This is a historic time in the district,” RRISD Superintendent Steve Flores said Feb. 16, just before the district’s board of trustees voted 7-0 to call the election. “We have put a lot of thought [into the proposal], and this board has done its due diligence.”


The bond election is split into three separate ballot propositions: One emphasizes growth, renewal and safety; a second focuses on innovation and classroom expansion; and a third deals with fine arts and athletics projects.


If voters approve all three, property tax payments will increase by $2.23 per month—or $26.74 per year—for an average RRISD home valued at $290,000, according to the district.


Early voting runs April 24-29, May 1-2.



Focus on growth


RRISD board President Diane Cox said in an interview that the May bond package is one of the most unique bond proposals to be sent to voters during her tenure. Cox is the longest-serving active RRISD trustee, having been first elected in 2005.


She said the bond addresses anticipated growth in RRISD’s student enrollment over the next decade and also manages exiting growth-related issues.


Cox said new construction projects —including proposals to add an elementary school in northeast Round Rock and a new high school on Pearson Ranch Road in Austin—as well as plans to use bonds to fund portable classroom replacements at Forest Creek and Brushy Creek elementary schools are examples of the bond package’s dual priorities.


“We are able to address our growth moving forward but also address some issues with growth that have been kind of long-standing that we finally realized an opportunity to go back and to look at,” Cox said.   


In RRISD’s most recent bond election in 2014, voters approved $299 million toward improvements at McNeil and Westwood high schools as well as new auditoriums at Cedar Ridge and Stony Point high schools. The 2014 bond package also paid for Joe Lee Johnson Elementary School and the future Pearson Ranch Middle School, which is scheduled to open in August.



Project highlights


Corey Ryan, RRISD’s executive director of communications and community relations, said Proposition 1 includes the highest-priority projects, including the district’s proposed sixth high school, which at $150 million is the bond package’s big-ticket item.


The school would be designed to support up to 2,600 students, according to RRISD. If construction were to begin in August, students could attend the school by the start of the 2019-20 academic year.


Ryan said the new high school would help alleviate overcrowding at Round Rock High School, which had 3,134 students enrolled during the 2015-16 school year. Without overcrowding relief, the district’s projections show Round Rock High School’s student enrollment increasing to nearly 4,000 by 2021.


RRISD’s total student headcount was 47,645 in 2015-16 and is projected to approach 52,000 within the next decade, according to the district. Schools have seen rapid enrollment growth since the early 1990s, and today RRISD enrolls between 300 and 500 new students each year.


Another notable project in the bond package includes a proposed indoor aquatics center in north Round Rock across from the Texas A&M Health Science Center. RRISD has worked the city of Round Rock, CHASCO Family YMCA and the Avery family to assess a possible partnership on the center.


Proposition 3 contains a proposed $22 million for the center. The money would allow RRISD to build a facility to meet its needs identified through that assessment process while continuing to consider a partnership with the other entities, according to the district.



RPH-2017-04-01-4The price tag


The district’s proposal would gradually increase RRISD’s tax rate over the next five years from $1.3325 to $1.3426 per $100 of property valuation as bonds are sold to fund projects. The increase would come from the debt service portion of the district’s tax rate, which would increase from $0.2925 to $0.3026.


RRISD taxpayers' monthly bills would increase by an average of $0.84 for every $100,000 in home value and increase the annual total by an average of $10.10, according to RRISD.


The final price tag is greater than the $530.1 million package recommended by a citizen bond committee in January. Committee members arrived at their proposal after considering a wish list of bond projects totaling more than $900 million.


“This process was just so thoroughly vetted,” Ryan said. "When we look at the totality of this bond, we’re looking at an impact of just over two dollars per month for the average taxpayer. … I think that this bond was done mindfully and was done in a way that was purposeful for a district of our size that has seen the growth that we’ve seen.”


Throughout the bond-planning process, several RRISD trustees expressed concern that the dollar amount of the bond package, which is about four-fifths of the total of the city of Austin’s $720 million mobility bond that voters approved in November, could turn away some voters simply from “sticker shock.”


The recommendation to split RRISD’s bond proposal into three propositions came from the citizen bond committee.


Ron Buffum, the committee’s chairman, said dividing the bond package was a strategic move, and the projects “naturally fell into those categories” contained with the ballot propositions.







The ProjectsSuperintendent says 'due diligence' done on $572M RRISD bond


Round Rock ISD’s bond package contains project proposals at schools and facilities across the district. Further bond information is available on the district’s website: https://bond.roundrockisd.org.



Proposition 1: $381.66 million



  1. Anderson Mill Elementary School, $2.7 million: electrical, fire alarms, flooring and ceiling, HVAC, interior, playgrounds, plumbing, roofing

  2. Berkman Elementary School, $1.6 million: electrical, fire alarms, HVAC, interior, playground, plumbing, roofing upgrades

  3. Blackland Prairie Elementary School, $2.8 million: electrical, elevator, fire alarms, flooring and ceiling, interior, plumbing, roofing

  4. Bluebonnet Elementary School, $767,165: electrical, fire alarms, interior and plumbing

  5. Brushy Creek Elementary School, $400,000: electrical, fire alarms, flooring and ceiling, interior, playgrounds, plumbing

  6. Cactus Ranch Elementary School, $1.2 million: electrical, elevator, fire alarms, HVAC, interior, playgrounds, plumbing, roofing

  7. Caldwell Heights Elementary School, $2.5 million: electrical, elevator, fire alarms, flooring and ceiling, HVAC, interior, playgrounds, plumbing, roofing

  8. Callison Elementary School, $194,000: playgrounds

  9. Canyon Creek Elementary School, $1.1 million: electrical, fire alarms, interior, playgrounds, plumbing, roofing

  10. Caraway Elementary School, $4.5 million: electrical, fire alarms, flooring and ceiling, HVAC, plumbing, roofing

  11. Deep Wood Elementary School, $306,385: electrical, flooring and ceiling, HVAC, interior, plumbing, roofing

  12. Double File Trail Elementary School, $1.6 million: electrical, fire alarms, flooring and ceiling, interior, playground, plumbing, roofing

  13. Fern Bluff Elementary School, $4.5 million: electrical, fire alarms, HVAC, interior, parking lot resurface, playgrounds, plumbing, roofing

  14. Forest Creek Elementary School, $1.2 million: electrical, fire alarms, flooring and ceiling, interior, playgrounds, plumbing

  15. Forest North Elementary School, $3.2 million: electrical, fire alarms, flooring and ceiling, HVAC, interior, parking lot resurface, plumbing, roofing

  16. Gattis Elementary School, $797,865: electrical, fire alarms, flooring and ceiling, HVAC, interior, plumbing, roofing

  17. Great Oaks Elementary School, $610,535: electrical, interior, plumbing

  18. Jollyville Elementary School, $559,240: electrical, fire alarms, flooring and ceiling, interior, plumbing

  19. Laurel Mountain Elementary School, $1.3 million: electrical, fire alarms, flooring and ceiling, HVAC, interior, plumbing

  20. Live Oak Elementary School, $585,695: electrical, fire alarms, flooring and ceiling, plumbing, roofing

  21. Old Town Elementary School, $843,845: electrical, fire alarms, interior, playgrounds, plumbing, roofing

  22. Pond Springs Elementary School, $398,125: electrical, fire alarms, interior, playground, plumbing

  23. Purple Sage Elementary School, $1.3 million: electrical, fire alarms, flooring and ceiling, HVAC, interior, playground, plumbing, roofing

  24. Robertson Elementary School, $1 million: electrical, fire alarms, HVAC, interior, plumbing, roofing

  25. Spicewood Elementary School, $3 million: electrical, fire alarms, flooring and ceiling, HVAC, interior, parking lot resurface, playground, plumbing, roofing

  26. Union Hill Elementary School, $979,425: electrical, elevator, fire alarms, flooring and ceiling, interior, playgrounds, plumbing

  27. Voigt Elementary School, $1.3 million: electrical, elevator, fire alarms, interior, plumbing, roofing

  28. Wells Branch Arts Integration Academy, $1.4 million: electrical, fire alarms, HVAC, plumbing, roofing

  29. Canyon Vista Middle School, $15.7 million: electrical, elevator, fire alarms, flooring and ceiling, HVAC, interior, plumbing

  30. Cedar Valley Middle School, $2.8 million: electrical, elevator, fire alarms, HVAC, interior, plumbing

  31. Chisholm Trail Middle School, $394,730: electrical, fire alarms, flooring and ceiling, interior, plumbing

  32. Deerpark Middle School, $4.7 million: electrical, elevator, fire alarms, flooring and ceiling, HVAC, interior, plumbing, roofing

  33. Grisham Middle School, $1.69 million: electrical, fire alarms, interior, parking lot resurface, plumbing, roofing

  34. Hernandez Middle School, $4.8 million: electrical, fire alarms, flooring and ceiling, HVAC, interior, plumbing, roofing

  35. Hopewell Middle School, $1.2 million: electrical, fire alarms, flooring and ceiling, HVAC, interior, plumbing

  36. Ridgeview Middle School, $1.6 million: electrical, elevator, fire alarms, flooring and ceiling, HVAC, interior, plumbing

  37. High School No. 6, $150 million: comprehensive high school on Pearson Ranch Road to address enrollment growth at Round Rock High School and auditorium to serve community

  38. McNeil High School, $30 million: design and master plan Phase 2

  39. Stony Point High School, $12.3 million: electrical, elevator, fire alarms, flooring and ceiling, HVAC, interior, plumbing, roofing

  40. Westwood High School, $22 million: master plan Phase 4, design for auditorium and parking solution


Proposition 2: $133.6 million


41. Brushy Creek Elementary School, $13.3 million: 12 classrooms and core addition to address growth


42. Caraway Elementary School, $7.5 million: three classrooms and cafeteria expansion for a stage to address growth


43. Forest Creek Elementary School, $7.5 million: eight classrooms to address growth


44. Sommer Elementary School, $11 million: 12 classrooms to address growth


45. Canyon Vista Middle School, $7.5 million: six classrooms and athletics expansion to address growth


46. C.D. Fulkes Middle School, $45 million: master plan Phase 2 to open visual and performing arts academy


47. Stony Point High School, $2.5 million: cafeteria expansion and courtyard amphitheater cover



Proposition 3: $56.83 million


48. Chisholm Trail Middle School, $415,000: athletic training facility


49. Grisham Middle School, $415,000: athletic training facility


50. Hernandez Middle School, $3.9 million: track and gym additions


51. Round Rock High School, $3 million: design for auditorium and parking solution


52. Westwood High School, $3 million: design for auditorium and parking solution







District Facilities


Proposition 1:




  • Technology infrastructure and device refresh, $44.8 million

  • Elementary School No. 35 (NE Round Rock), $32 million

  • School bus replacement and additions, $9.4 million

  • Public address (PA) system update, $4.6 million

  • Parking lot resurface, $4.4 million

  • Access control badging system, $1.8 million

  • Bus/fleet management (GPS) system, $1.7 million

  • Video surveillance system, $1.3 million

  • Two-way communication system, $1.3 million

  • Bus video surveillance system, $1.2 million

  • Burglar alarm/intrusion detection system, $989,000

  • Access control system for door alarms, $542,000

  • Student badge system, $133,000

  • Visitor management system, $100,000


Proposition 2:

  • Career tech high school, $25 million

  • Early college/health professions high school, $2.5 million


Other Facilities


Proposition 3:

53. Dragon Stadium, $1.8 million:
upgrades to the press box for accessibility and enhancements for hosting varsity competitions, including football, band, cheerleading, track, soccer and lacrosse


54. Proposed indoor aquatic center,
$22 million:
competitive swimming center to address needs of swim programs, create safe swim program and allow for special education therapy


55. Proposed outdoor athletic facility,
$12 million:
renovations and additions to Cedar Ridge stadium for hosting varsity events, including football, band, cheerleading, track, soccer,and lacrosse




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