Voters in Northwest ISD will have a number of decisions to make come November after the NISD board of trustees voted unanimously Aug. 10 to approve elections for multiple board positions, a voter-approved change to the district tax rate and four district bond referendums totaling $986.6 million.
“We discussed pushing [the bond] to May, but we’re already behind,” said Tim McClure, NISD assistant superintendent for facilities. “Some older schools that were identified in the long-range planning committee call for replacement, and we’ve asked to move those up in the schedule.”
District officials expect zero tax impact to occur because of the bond as home building continues within district boundaries, McClure said. The district will also delay the sale of bonds for various projects until it is necessary, he said.
“There’s this protective housing bubble, and for lots of different reasons, people are still buying homes and moving into those houses,” McClure said. “That’s dollars saved for our taxpayers, and we’re talking about replacement schools, so we’re not just relying on population growth.”
To comply with state law, the district’s 2020 bond will be split into four referendums, officials said: school facilities and capital improvements; other recreational facilities; renovations to stadiums; and technology devices.
A referendum for facilities improvements will total $937,702,000 and will include construction of seven new schools, an expansion of Northwest High School, acquisition of land, and other projects.
Work on other recreation facilities, such as tennis courts and football fields, will cost 23,573,000; stadium renovations will cost $8,840,000; and upgrades to technology devices will cost $16,485,000.
NISD voters will also have an opportunity to ratify the district’s new effective tax rate of $1.4663 per $100 valuation.
The maintenance and operations portion of the tax rate will increase by seven cents to $1.0463, and the interest and sinking rate will decrease by three cents to $0.4200, officials said.
“From the state point of view, our revenue is going to be limited, and we need to protect our programs and the services we have,” NISD Superintendent Ryder Warren said. “No school district can operate with a loss of as much revenue as [House Bill] 3 has forced on us.”
The House Bill 3 school finance bill has prompted the NISD board to compress its maintenance and operations rate in recent years, and the district is still paying money to the state through recapture, Warren said.
If the change in tax rate were not approved by voters, the M&O portion would revert back to $0.9163, and there would be a negative impact on the district, NISD Chief Financial Officer Brian Carter said.
“We are looking at 7% or less in growth for taxable [home] values in the next five years,” Carter said. “We are lowering the [interest and sinking portion], which still allows the district to take care of debt.”
In addition, NISD voters will decide Nov. 3 between Lillian Rauch and Jennifer Zazula for Place 6 and between Ron Hastings and Jennifer Murphy for Place 7. Current Place 5 trustee Steve Sprowls is running unopposed.
NISD bond proposals will appear on the ballot as Propositions A, B, C and D, according to district officials. The voter-approved tax rate will appear as Proposition E.
Early voting will take place from Oct. 13-30, and Election Day will be Nov. 3.
For more information on 2020 NISD bond referendums, click here. For more information on the 2020 NISD board election, click here.
Northwest ISD approves November elections for 2020 bond, board of trustees, tax rate
NISD voters in November will decide on multiple board positions, a voter-approved change to the district tax rate and four district bond referendums totaling $986.6 million. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)