Clear Creek ISD officials in November are asking voters to add millions to the district’s revenue. The largest portion of that comes from a proposed $302 million bond, which has drawn both worry and support from the public.

The overview

A majority of the bond is focused on improving technology and district infrastructure, as well as increasing campus security, said Paul Miller, assistant superintendent of support services.

Upgrades to the district’s facilities typically carry CCISD a few years into the future, Miller said. That means many upgrades are needed now since the last bond was passed in 2017. If passed, the new bond should carry CCISD out to 2028.

“[The bond in 2017] was only really taking care of infrastructure through 2020,” Miller said. “So we’re already well behind schedule on some of those critical infrastructure items.”

After months of discussion and public feedback, CCISD’s board of trustees Aug. 21 unanimously approved adding the bond to the Nov. 7 ballot, split into two propositions.

Originally, trustees looked at a $614 million bond. About half of that total package is up for a vote in November, with the rest being put off until a possible 2024 or 2025 election.

The backstory

The original $614 million recommendation came out of a Facility Advisory Committee, which consisted of 80 community members tasked with figuring out the key capital projects needed within the district.The committee began gathering in April, meeting weekly in May and once in July, according to the district’s website.

However, some on the committee, such as resident Alison Putman, were not supportive of a $614 million bond. Even with the reduced bond, Putman said she still believes some of the spending is unnecessary, such as a new access road for $2.9 million, which is billed as a safety measure.

“I am absolutely happier with the $302 million bond versus the $614 million,” she said. “But some of the spending is still suspect.”

What they’re saying

“As long as we want to maintain these buildings, we have to provide the funding to do that. ... The board is looking at what we absolutely, absolutely have to have in November," said Paul Miller, assistant superintendent of support services

“I am absolutely happy the message got through to the board that the folks in the community are concerned about overextending and that they heard us and put forth a more modest bond," said Alison Putman, Facility Advisory Committee member

The cost

For taxpayers, the bond won’t result in any change to 2023 tax bills but could affect 2024, CCISD Chief Communications Officer Elaina Polsen said.

The district has two tax rates. One is tied to its debt, which totals about $1 billion, called the interest and sinking tax rate. That rate is expected to stay at $0.27 per $100 valuation of a home if the bond is approved, Polsen said.

However, if the bond fails, the board could keep the rate the same in 2024 and pay off remaining debt, or lower the rate, which could lower tax bills, Polsen said.

Meanwhile, trustees also approved calling a voter-approval tax rate election, or VATRE, in November, which would go to everyday operations.

Looking ahead

The election is Nov. 7, and voters will see two separate measures for CCISD’s bond and one for the VATRE:
  • Proposition A: $17.4 million as part of a voter-approval tax rate election
  • Proposition B: $265 million for student safety, school infrastructure and priority repairs
  • Proposition C: $37 million for technology
Voters will have the option to deny or approve all propositions, according to district documents.

CCISD officials carried out a campaign in July and August to see the level of support the district might have if a bond were presented. Part of this included a phone survey, which saw higher support for the bond if voters were given context about why the bond was needed.

The survey included 400 likely voters and context to allow for an “informed” decision. While support declined as the bond amount rose, a majority of those surveyed still supported each option.