Mansfield Independent School District has proposed a series of bonds that will cost local property taxpayers more than $1 billion. 

The bonds propose using taxpayer funds to renovate school facilities and stadiums and add on to fine arts and multi-purpose athletic complexes. 

Despite the bond materials stating that the entire package will cost $777 million, local taxpayers will actually be burdened with more than $1.3 billion in debt when interest is included—40 percent more than the dollar amount voters will see on their ballots.

Currently, school district property taxpayers owe more than $1.1 billion in bond debt principal and interest. All school bond debt is repaid using local property taxes. 

Whether or not the tax rate changes when a bond first passes, the local tax liability is increased; thus, every bond is a property tax increase.

Texas law requires school districts to highlight the tax impact by including language on the ballot stating, “THIS IS A PROPERTY TAX INCREASE.”

The bond package includes: 

Prop A – $584,500,000 for acquiring, constructing, renovating, improving, and equipping school facilities, which includes safety and security equipment and upgrades, along with the purchase of new school buses. 

Prop B – $4,000,000 for instructional technology equipment and technology infrastructure, which includes new smart boards to replace old projectors and digital signage for campus communications. 

Prop C – $50,500,000 for renovations to the Anderson and Newsom stadiums, as well as renovating high school practice fields. 

Prop D – $85,000,000 for constructing, renovating, and improving multipurpose fine arts spaces and completing phase 2 of the existing multipurpose athletic complexes at each high school.

Prop E – $53,000,000 for completing phase 3 of constructing, renovating, and improving the multipurpose athletic complexes at each high school. 

Some residents in Mansfield ISD took to Facebook to share their frustrations about the bond.

“The legal contract literally authorizes a tax ‘without limit as to rate or amount.’ The district has zero legal authority to guarantee the rate over the 40-year authorization of the bond,” commented Amy Hedtke.

Another resident encouraged voters to vote no on the bonds.

“I would advise everyone to vote this down and have them bring back a reasonable bond package. $777 million is ridiculous!” wrote Gary Cardinale.

Early voting in the bond election runs April 22-30. 

Election Day is Saturday, May 4. 

Emily Medeiros

Emily graduated from the University of Oklahoma majoring in Journalism. She is excited to use her research and writing skills to report on important issues around Texas.