‘Tis that time of year again, when school district trustees make the all-important decision to send bond questions to the ballot box. The next available election date is May 11, so mark your calendar now.
Austin ISD is so far leading the hunt (far and away) with four bond proposals totaling $892 million. This is the most any district has asked for in central Texas and is greater than the total of the two preceding bonds in AISD (2004 and 2008). The decision came late Monday, but it was a done deal before this. Voters will have the opportunity to learn more about the bond proposals in community events in the spring, but the Austin American Statesman already let one salient detail through – should all four proposals pass, AISD taxpayers would be looking at an increase in property taxes.
In other words, don’t buy the phony line usually spouted by bond proponents that your taxes won’t go up when the district enters into more debt.
Elsewhere in the state, Tomball ISD is asking voters for $160 million for new schools and improvements. Tyler ISD wants $160.5 million. San Marcos CISD is upfront about their priorities and is asking for over $81 million, broken into two proposals and including funding for a new football complex and aquatics center (their election is also a week earlier, May 4). Don’t worry, SMCISD taxpayers, the sports package is “scaled down” from the original plan. Corsicana ISD is also asking voters for bond approval this spring, to the tune of $54 million.
Taxpayers should know what they’re getting into when approving bond packages, so ask questions in your community before deciding “yes” or “no.” Some of the bond proposals out there at the moment are pretty small (Columbia-Brazoria ISD only wants $5 million, for instance), but even a little bit of debt now could become a lot of debt later, between interest and possible further bonds for improvements down the line. Like any investment, understand what it is you’re getting with your money. Because it is, in fact, your money.