The Weatherford Independent School District’s Board of Trustees voted unanimously to call a bond election for May 9, 2015. The bond package was developed by the WISD Facility Advisory of Citizens, Teachers and Students (FACTS) Committee made up of local citizens, civic and business leaders, students, parents and school staff. Members met for three months to study and prioritize District facility needs and bring forth a plan to address them.
The bond package addresses two key areas:
• Facility improvements at all existing WISD schools to extend the life of each facility
• Grade level realignment to better serve current and future WISD students and provide greater operational efficiencies
Proposition one – Existing Facility Improvements: $18,800,000
The average age of WISD schools is 30-years-old. This bond will allow for upgrades and improvements to comply with current codes and standards, increase safety and security, make schools more energy efficient and extend the life of each facility. Proposed projects include:
• District-wide upgrades to major building systems that exceed the limits of the District’s operational budget, like heating and air conditioning, lighting and electrical
• Improvements to exterior issues including masonry, concrete and site drainage
• Renovations to aging facilities for compliance with building code and the Americans with Disabilities Act
• Safety and security upgrades including fire alarm replacements, access control systems, classroom intruder function door hardware and security cameras
Proposition two – Grade Realignment & Growth: $49,500,000
Currently, WISD elementary schools serve grades K-6 and middle schools serve grades 7-8. The District is proposing to realign elementary schools to K-5 and middle schools to 6-8. This will provide better alignment with age-appropriate curriculum and state accountability standards and eliminate the need to transport sixth graders to middle schools for advanced classes and fine arts. In addition, realignment will provide space for student growth over the next decade at the elementary school level and will remove students from portable buildings. Proposed projects include:
Move Sixth Grade to Middle School Level
• New Hall Middle School serving Grades 6-8: $41,100,000
To renovate and add sixth grade to the existing Hall Middle School, built in 1967, bring it up to modern standards and requirements and to create an equitable environment to Tison Middle School would cost $31.3 million and extend the life of the facility by 20 years. Therefore, the District is proposing to replace the existing facility with a new school at its current location to serve grades 6-8 at a cost of $41.1 million and with a 50+ year lifecycle.
• Sixth Grade Addition to Tison Middle School: $8,400,000
Construct a sixth grade classroom addition to Tison Middle School to also make it a grade 6-8 campus as well as track and field upgrades
Proposition three – Safety & security at all campuses: $6,600,000
Construction of controlled entrances to improve security at all campuses
Includes the reconfiguration of internal spaces in order to house administration at the entrance of the facility requiring visitors to report to the campus office and present identification before being granted access to the main part of the school.
TOTAL BOND PROPOSAL: $74,900,000
Public school taxes involve two components: Maintenance and Operations (M&O), used to pay for salaries, utilities, furniture, supplies, food, gas, etc.; and Interest and Sinking (I&S), used to repay debt. Bond elections affect the I&S tax rate. Bonds cannot be used for salaries or operating costs such as utility bills, supplies, building maintenance, fuel and insurance.
Currently, Weatherford ISD’s I&S tax rate is $0.21. When combined with the District’s M&O tax rate of $1.17, the total tax rate for WISD is $1.38 per $100 of certified property value. The Weatherford ISD Board of Trustees has reduced the property tax rate on four separate occasions in the last 8 years totaling 40 cents from $1.78 in 2006-2007 to $1.38 in 2014-15.
Estimated tax impact
If the bond passes, the estimated tax impact of the total bond proposal is anticipated to be 11 cents for a total tax rate of $1.49. For a home value of $100,000, this represents an increase of approximately $7.79 per month.
The chart to the right illustrates the estimated monthly tax increase to property owners in Weatherford ISD if the bond is approved at the May 9, 2015 election:
(assumes $15,000 homestead exemption)
Estimated Monthly Tax Increase
To look up your home value, visit the Parker County Appraisal District website.
State Law allows for school building bonds to mature over a period up to forty years. The budget and estimated tax rate impact for this bond was built on the assumption that the sell of these bonds will be repaid with various amortization schedules to match the life of the projects, and furthermore, are structured to allow the District to prepay the bonds prior to scheduled maturity, without penalty. Short-term bonds that are repaid in five years will be utilized to fund the technology projects within the bond proposal.
impact on senior citizens' property taxes
Under state law, the dollar amount of school taxes imposed on the residence homestead of a person 65 years of age or older who has filed an exemption application, may not be increased above the amount paid in the first year after the person turned 65, regardless of changes in tax rate or property value. This excludes the value of any new improvements, such as additions or renovations that increase the value of such homestead.
Contact the Parker County Appraisal District with questions about the Over 65 Homestead Exemption. To download a copy of the Homestead Exemption form, click here.
©2015 Weatherford ISD