2019 Bond Proposal
At its February 12, 2019 meeting, the Sweeny ISD Board of Trustees unanimously called for a $28 million bond election for items related to the safety, health, and wellness of students as well as major infrastructure improvements to facilities.
- The bond proposal will NOT increase Sweeny ISD tax rate
- Sweeny ISD tax rate has been the same since 2007 and is the 2nd lowest tax rate in the county
- More than half of the projects directly impact students safety, health, and wellness
- 76.9% of the taxes collected for I&S (debt service) come from industry partners
Click here or on the image below to hear Sweeny ISD Superintendent, Dr. Tory C. Hill, explain more details of the bond proposal.
This video explains how $7.5M of the proposed bond will be used for Career & Technology Education renovations at Sweeny High School.
The $28 million proposition can be accomplished within the current tax rate - NO TAX RATE INCREASE! The total tax rate is $1.2117 per $100 of appraised value, which is the second lowest tax rate of all school districts in Brazoria County.
With significant industrial growth in our area, including investments by Phillips 66 and CPChem, we have the capacity within the current Interest & Sinking (I&S) tax rate of 0.1517 to issue $28 million of bonds over the next 5 years. Using the capacity from the I&S side of the tax rate is the most efficient use of local dollars as we are able to retain 100% of I&S tax dollars paid here in Sweeny ISD. The Maintenance and Operations (M&O) tax rate is $1.06 and is subject to the State's Recapture "Robin Hood" system.
Proposed projects include:
- District wide safety, health, and wellness related facility initiatives
- Renovations at Sweeny Elementary, Junior High, and High School
- Career Technical Education (CTE) renovation and consolidation
Click here to view the scope of the 2019 Bond proposition.
The election will be held Saturday, May 4, 2019 with early voting beginning April 22-30. You can find a list of early voting locations and times here.
Frequently Asked Questions
Click here for informational and printable flyer
Why is the District having a bond election?
Just as a person’s home or vehicle requires maintenance or a tune-up, the district’s facilities and equipment need to be renovated, updated, or replaced. Similarly, computers and other equipment wear out over time or become outdated and must be replaced. State funding for public education has decreased steadily over the last 20 years, giving districts few options for funding school improvement projects. Bond elections can provide a significant amount of funds for those projects with a minimal impact on taxpayers.
What is the May 4th ballot language for the Sweeny ISD bond?
Sweeny Independent School District Proposition A
The issuance of $28,000,000 school building bonds for the construction, acquisition and equipment of school buildings in the District (including the rehabilitation, renovation, expansion and/or improvement thereof), and the purchase of new school buses, and levying of the tax in payment thereof.
Click here for the official ballot (including Spanish)
How will funds be allocated to address needs at each campus?
The estimated cost for the proposed projects at each campus are:
Elementary: Approximately $9,500,000
Junior High: Approximately $7,400,000
High School: Approximately $8,600,000
District (phones): Approximately $150,000
Maintenance Bonds: Approximately $2,350,000
To ensure that the current list of projects can be accomplished, funds have been designated for construction contingencies, possible distance/geographic labor costs, inflation, and project management. Final cost for each project will be determined once the projects are placed out for bid. Any cost savings on bid day will be redistributed to maintenance bonds and priority 2 projects.
What is a bond and why do I have to vote on it?
When consumers borrow money for a house, they apply for a mortgage. When a school district wants to build a school or buy buses and equipment, it sells bonds to investors. The money from those investors acts as a loan to the school district. Texas school districts can issue bonds only with voter approval and only for the amount approved by voters. They are repaid over a period of years, much like a loan for a home or major home improvement. Bond funds are not subject to recapture by the state, so your tax dollars stay local.
How can bond dollars be used?
Bonds can be used for construction, renovations, furniture, uniforms, technology, buses and equipment. They cannot be used for day to day operating costs, like salaries, utilities or supplies.
How are bonds paid back?
Debt payments come from a small portion of your local property taxes. Each year, the Sweeny ISD Board of Trustees sets a tax rate that has two parts. The larger part is the Maintenance and Operations (M&O) portion. It pays for salaries, utilities, supplies, and routine maintenance for buses and buildings. The smaller portion is the Interest and Sinking (I&S) fund, and it cannot be used for day-to-day expenses such as salaries, only debt.
In Sweeny, the overall tax rate is $1.2117 per $100 of property valuation. Of that, the M&O rate is $1.06, and this rate cannot be raised without voter approval. The I&S rate is .1517 and this rate is set to pay for debt from bond issuances. With significant industry investments in our area we have the capacity within the current Interest & Sinking (I&S) tax rate of 0.1517 to issue $28million of bonds over the next 5 years and maintain the current tax rate, which is the second lowest tax rate when compared to all school Districts in Brazoria County.
Will the bond increase my tax rate?
No, the bond is not projected to increase your tax rate if it is approved. Value projections from significant investments from Chevron Phillips, Phillips 66 and other industry projects will create the capacity within the existing tax rate to cover the proposed bonds. Timing of District projects will depend on the speed of industrial expansion. The District has utilized projected value growth from multiple industry projects to calculate our tax projections. In order to keep the tax rate flat, the District will have to wait for values to grow from these projects to perform District projects. If any of the industrial investment projects are delayed or cancelled, it will affect the timing of our SISD Bond Projects.
Another reason the bond is not expected to raise the tax rate is because the district will not borrow all the money immediately. Bond sales will happen in phases. This spreads out borrowing, and it allows time for projects to be planned and implemented. Major renovations might have to be done in the summer months and other projects in the spring or winter breaks.
When was the last bond passed in Sweeny ISD?
Voters passed a Bond package in 2014. Money from that bond funded upgrades to security (including security vestibules), technology resources, new gym and technology classroom at the Jr. High, new sports complex, as well as renovations to support facilities and student needs across the district.
If the bond election passes, how will the bond proceeds be spent?
The District has conducted an extensive study to determine its needs over the next five years. Proposed projects include:
District-wide safety, health, and wellness related facility initiatives
Renovations at Sweeny Elementary, Junior High, and High School
Career Technical Education (CTE) renovation and consolidation
Click here to view the scope of the 2019 Bond proposition.
How were the bond projects selected?
Planning for the 2019 bond began over a year ago with the formation of a Long Range Facilities Planning Committee. Over the course of a year, the committee, comprised of over 100 parents, teachers, students, and community members, met to discuss District needs. They also toured District facilities so they could see first-hand what was needed to provide a safe and effective 21st century learning environment. They were presented with preliminary cost estimates and economic information to help them develop a list of prioritized projects that was presented to the Sweeny ISD Board of Trustees.
How will the proposed bond impact instruction and student performance?
Children benefit from a safe and secure environment. Aging schools not only face increased repair and maintenance costs, but also require upgrades to accommodate new technologies and modern educational programs. One of the key points found in facilities research is that students’ expectations of themselves as learners are mirrored in their learning environment. Findings link school facility upgrades to a wide array of impacts, including student attendance and academic gains, teacher job satisfaction and retention, increased residential property values, and equity across communities. The proposed bond will provide positive and learning enriched environments for SISD students. Over half of the prioritized items directly address safety, health, and wellness issues of our students and include major plumbing and electrical repairs and upgrades at both the elementary and junior high campuses as well as changes to interior door hardware to allow teachers to secure classrooms more easily. Learning spaces will receive a much needed refresh including new carpeting, paint, and ceiling tiles at the junior high and elementary. Old antiquated chalkboards will be removed and replaced with marker boards. In addition, the junior high will get a much needed and larger science lab and there will be a major renovation of the CTE area at the high school.
How will the proposed bond impact the workforce needs of industry?
Research and data has indicated that there will be significant job and industry growth within the next ten years, especially within the areas of Health Science, Architecture and Construction, Manufacturing, and STEM related fields within Brazoria County as well as the greater Houston area. Implementation and expansion of the proposed programs within the area of Career and Technical Education (CTE) will equip and prepare students to be competitive within this growing labor market. These additional pathways and programs will also allow Sweeny ISD to incorporate additional industry licenses required within these fields while simultaneously creating partnerships with local employers and higher education institutions such as Brazosport College in order to strengthen programs helping to meet the needs of our community, industry, and most importantly, our students.
Are bond funds subject to the State's recapture?
No. There are two parts to our district tax rate: the maintenance and operations side that pays for the everyday operations of the district and the interest and sinking part that pays back district bonds. While the Recapture “Robin Hood” system requires districts like Sweeny ISD to share M&O taxes, 100 percent of every dollar of bond revenue stays in Sweeny ISD.
What will happen if the bond election does not pass?
Students will continue to receive a quality education. However, the District will not be able to pay for many of the projects planned as part of the bond. General fund dollars will be used to continue to repair and maintain existing facilities, purchase buses and other technology equipment. General fund dollars are subject to “Robin Hood” so to fund these items costs the taxpayer approximately 30% more.
If the bond election does not pass, will my tax rate go down?
No, Sweeny ISD is dedicated to maintaining the lowest tax rate possible and currently has the 2nd lowest compared to surrounding districts. The tax rate is made up of two parts: Maintenance and Operations which is 1.06 and Interest & Sinking which is .1517. Bonds are repaid from taxes generated from the I&S tax rate. If the bond election doesn’t pass, existing debt will be restructured and/or defeased to maintain the current tax rate.
I do not have any school-aged children. Why should I vote in the bond election?
Our society depends on a well-educated populace, so when educators are provided with outstanding resources for students, our community benefits as well. Also, a school district’s good reputation can have a strong impact on the local community and economy.
What is the bond interest rate?
The bond interest rate will vary depending on when the bonds are sold. Bond will be issued over a 2-5 year period to align the debt with new value growth. Based on today’s market and the AAA/Aaa Permanent School Fund Guarantee on school bonds, we have projected to sell the bonds at rates ranging from 2.5-4.5 percent. However, the bond market is dynamic and subject to changes, so it is impossible to predict the exact rate until bonds are sold.
What oversight does the community have if the bond passes?
A Bond Oversight Committee will be formed to review the status of capital projects, bond expenditures, project schedules and the timelines of bond projects. We will also keep the general public informed of progress updates on our Sweeny ISD website.
SWEENY INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT
1310 N. Elm Street, Sweeny, TX 77480 | Phone 979-491-8000 | Fax 979-491-8030
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