2022 Bond Proposal FAQ

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  1. What is a school bond proposition?

A school bond proposition is when a school district asks voters for permission to sell bonds to fund capital projects such as safety improvements, new facility construction and renovations, technology upgrades and other improvements. If the proposition passes, the district can sell bonds to investors to fund the projects and pay the bonds back over time, with interest.

 

  1. Why is the district calling for a bond election?

We are spending significant dollars on maintaining these aging facilities through our general operating budget, which means spending money that could otherwise be used to pay teachers and staff. Last school year alone, we spent $1,720,363 on HVAC rental equipment because we did not have sufficient operating funds to replace them outright. That’s equivalent to the salary and benefits of approximately 25 teachers. Conversely, we realized roughly $75,000 in energy savings in one year between just two of our modernized elementary schools. That’s roughly equivalent to the salary and benefits of one teacher. 

Currently, the cost of everything from construction materials to labor is going up. By waiting just a year, we could lose approximately $180 million in spending power at current inflation levels —equivalent to roughly three fully modernized elementary schools.

 

 
  1. What is the total amount of the bond?

$2,439,000,000

 

 
  1. When is the election?

Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022. Early voting begins Oct. 24 and ends Nov. 4. The last day to register to vote is Tuesday, Oct. 11.

 

 
  1. How many separate propositions will be on the ballot?

State law requires that school districts separate certain bond items into different propositions for voter consideration. On the ballot in November, voters will see three propositions for the 2022 Bond:

  • Prop A - $2,316,025,000 - would fund projects such as school modernizations, security improvements and critical facility renovations throughout the district.

  • Prop B - $75,541,000 - would fund technology upgrades such as student and teacher devices, infrastructure improvements and other technology upgrades.

  • Prop C - $47,434,000 - would fund improvements to Nelson Field, Burger Athletic Complex, Delco Activity Center and Noack Sports Complex.

 

 
  1. Why does the district need bond funding to fix the issues with facilities?

In recent years, our normal operating budget, or general fund—which pays for things like salaries, utilities and supplies—has been used to pay for major repairs. We reserve a portion of our general fund for unexpected repairs, but funding major projects such as roofing, plumbing or HVAC repairs from the general fund reduces amounts available for other expenses, such as teacher salaries and academic programming.

Additionally, our bond dollars are not subject to recapture. For the 2020–21 school year, the state took more than 53% of the district’s maintenance tax collections in recapture payments. This means that when we pay for repairs out of our general fund, we only get 47 cents worth of repairs for each dollar. However, we keep every cent of our bond dollars, so they go twice as far.

 

 
  1. What projects are included in the 2022 Bond Proposal?

The 2022 Bond Proposal prioritizes safety and security improvements throughout the district. If the bond passes, the district proposes to use bond money to add a secure vestibule and entry point at every school. The bond proposal also includes funding for additional fencing and locks.

The proposal prioritizes repairing critical deficiencies such as HVAC, plumbing, roof and other chronic maintenance issues. Every school in the district with critical deficiencies would receive funding for these repairs.

And it includes 25 schools that would be modernized through full or phased renovation projects. Modernizations reduce maintenance costs in the long term because older facilities and mechanical systems are much more expensive to maintain. These projects will also help ensure that students in older buildings have equal access to safe, healthy and comfortable learning environments.

 

 
  1. How were the projects included in the bond proposal chosen?

The projects included in the 2022 Bond Proposal were informed by the work of the Bond Steering Committee. Trustees unanimously approved the final bond proposal during the Aug. 11 board meeting.

The BSC was charged with using the district’s long-range plan, bond capacity and other relevant data to develop and prioritize a potential bond package for the Nov. 8, 2022, election. The BSC developed two draft bond proposals that were presented to the community in July 2022. After receiving community feedback, the BSC revised the draft bond proposals and submitted those to the board for consideration.

When determining which schools to recommend for modernization, the BSC looked at three key factors;

1. Poor facility condition

2. High-vulnerability neighborhood and high population of underserved student groups

3. Recommended for several Long-range Planning strategies

 

 
  1. Which schools benefit from the 2022 Bond Proposal?

All Austin ISD schools are expected to benefit from this bond program. The program includes districtwide projects such as safety and security, technology upgrades and new buses.

 

 
  1. When will construction begin on the projects?

The construction timeline is different for each project, but the goal is to deliver the first large project or modernization in August 2024. Safety and security projects will be prioritized and several are expected to be completed as early as Fall 2023. Each project will have a set timeline based on complexity of the project, design duration, and construction duration. It is also important for us to gather school community input and schedule work around the school year to minimize disruptions and potential safety concerns for students.

 

 
  1. Will my property tax rate go up if the bond passes?

The proposed bond package is expected to raise the debt service portion of the school tax rate by 1 cent per $100 in taxable value. However, Austin ISD plans to reduce the maintenance and operations portion of the school tax rate by 6.5 cents this year because of rising property values. This bond proposal will not affect the tax rate reduction for this school year, and property owners are expected to see an additional estimated 3-cent reduction in the school tax rate next year, for a total reduction of 9.5 cents over the next two years.

 

 
  1.  If we approve bond dollars for specific projects, are those projects allowed to change?

The purposes authorized by the election will not change. The dollar amounts allocated to each particular project may vary.

 

 
  1. What about the 2017 Bond Program? Where do those projects stand?

In 2017, 72 percent of voters approved the previous bond package, which raised more than $1 billion in bond dollars without raising the tax rate, to make major investments in learning spaces and educational opportunities for students throughout the district.

As of August 2022, all the 2017 Bond projects have been completed or are underway, and we have stayed on budget despite rising construction costs.

 

 
  1. Where can I go to find more information about the 2022 Bond Proposal?

For more information on the 2022 Bond Proposal, visit www.AISDFuture.com. You can also message us on Let's Talk by texting (512) 856-6123 or through the online form at https://bit.ly/Letstalkaisdbond.