Clear Creek ISD fielded questions and comments from possible voters July 27 as part of a campaign to inform people about a potential $600 million bond and voter-approved tax rate election, also called a VATRE.

The gist

The July 27 meeting was the fourth of its kind CCISD has held in an effort to pitch to its constituents a VATRE and a $600 million bond, both of which could appear on the ballot in November.

The meeting is one of several and is part of the district’s campaign, titled “Power of Pennies,” that is aimed at educating voters on what the district could ask for in the coming months.

In addition to a phone survey going on until July 30, a couple of more meetings are scheduled for August as well.

The district is planning to use the feedback gathered from these meetings to vote on whether or not to move forward with a VATRE and bond in August, which could then be on the ballot in November.

The cost

The VATRE, if approved, would add about $17.5 million to the district’s fiscal year 2023-24 budget, which would allow them to break even on this year’s budget.

Homeowners with a $350,000 house can expect to save about $917 on their tax bill thanks to recent property tax legislation passed by the state Legislature.

If the VATRE were to pass, it would mean $70 less in savings to those homeowners, according to district documents.

The other item discussed was the bond, which includes three possible options, according to district documents. Assuming the VATRE is approved, those options would look like:
  • $248 million of the bond with the rest deferred until another time, costing nothing additional to taxpayers
  • $394 million in November with the rest deferred, costing $68 additional to taxpayers
  • the entire $614 million on the ballot in November, costing an additional $168 to taxpayers
Each option would still see taxpayers save money on their overall bill but could see less savings depending on which option is chosen, documents show.

What they’re saying

Along with constituents who spoke and asked questions, several who gave comments were part of a committee created by the district that was tasked with recommending the possible bond.

One of those committee members, Alison Putman, was against the bond as proposed due to its cost and also questioned the validity of some of the numbers since they don’t account for increased value in homes from the past year.

“It is everything and the kitchen sink,” Putnam said of the bond. “Do we need to do all that stuff right now?”

On the other side, Kayleigh Hoffmaster, a teacher at CCISD and member of the committee, said at the meeting the district is “running a really lean, tight ship” and explained how hard it is to get some things because of budget cuts.

“I know it sounds like a lot of money, and it is. I’m not saying it’s not,” Hoffmaster said. “If this is going to give my kids and my community a brighter future, I’m going for it.”