Tuesday, July 23, 2024

SISD bond to accommodate growth fails again


SPRINGTOWN — For the fourth time in a row, the Springtown Independent School District’s bond proposal failed at the polls on Nov. 7.

In Parker County’s unofficial results, voters rejected SISD’s Proposition A with 1,980 votes, or 56.67%, against it and 1,514 votes, or 43.33% for the bond. In Wise County, this margin was even greater with 60.73%, or 300 votes, against the bond and 39.27%, or 194 votes, for the proposition, according to unofficial results.

The SISD school board called for the $120.78 million bond election in August to build a new middle school while buying additional land for that project, convert the intermediate school into a fourth elementary campus for grades pre-kindergarten through fifth grade and turn the current middle school into a ninth-grade center. All these tactics would have allowed the school district to add seats for more than 1,400 additional students.

TEA reports that SISD is growing faster than 90% of all other Texas school districts, and SISD leaders have spoken at length about how campuses are overcrowded.

“The result of this election does not change our top priority of providing the best education for our current and future students,” Superintendent Shane Strickland said in a statement after results were released. “While these results are disappointing, they will motivate us to continue to work hand in hand with our community to develop solutions to address student growth.”

This loss occurred despite the changes SISD officials made after the May 2023 bond election. SISD found new financial and bond planning advisers who made suggestions for reducing the tax impact of a bond proposal, and in August, the school board adopted a tax rate of $0.9578 per $100 valuation. If the bond had passed, the tax rate would have increased to $1.1278, which is 1 cent less than last year’s tax rate. Homeowners aged 65 years and older who have filed a homestead exemption would not have had a tax impact from the bond.

Before the election, Strickland said the biggest consequence of another failed bond proposal would be the rising construction inflation costs.

“Each year, construction costs rise 6-9% due to escalation and inflation,” Strickland said in a previous Tri-County Reporter article. “Parts are harder to come by, and labor shortages mean the cost of labor is increasing as well. Meanwhile, new families will continue to move in, and our student population will continue to grow.”

People in the SISD community can learn more about plans for the growing school district on SISD’s website (www.springtownisd.net), on the district’s social media pages or by going to school board meetings and district presentations.