SBISD 2022 BOND OVERVIEW

The seven-member Spring Branch ISD (SBISD) Board of Trustees voted unanimously on Monday, February 7, 2022, to call an $381.6 million bond election to appear on the May 7, 2022 ballot. 

The Board is asking voters to consider a proposition that is responsive to the commitment made under the 2017 Bond Program to develop the vision for a world-class Career and Technical Education (CTE) program and the facility improvements needed to move toward that vision. The proposition, if approved, would provide funding to replace the Guthrie Center, SBISD’s central CTE facility;  and make classroom, lab, and facility improvements at Guthrie’s Science Agricultural Center, four SBISD high schools, six middle schools* and two specialty campuses. The bond money would also fund CTE-related technology equipment. Bond funds would also address identified district facility needs including a classroom addition at Valley Oaks Elementary and new building detention and code requirements put into place after Hurricane Harvey.  

A separate technology proposition, if approved, would provide funds for devices for secondary students as well as teachers districtwide impacting every district campus. 

*Landrum Middle School is not included in this proposal as the campus, newly rebuilt as part of the 2017 Bond Program, included CTE educational specifications in the building design.

GENERAL QUESTIONS/BOND PROJECTS

What is a school bond election? How can bond funds be used?

School districts must ask voters for permission to sell bonds to investors to raise money for capital projects including new construction, renovation or other improvements. Funds may also be used to purchase buses or technology. Voters give the district permission to take out a loan to build and renovate and pay that loan back over an extended period of time. Bonds cannot be used for teacher salaries or operating costs such as utility bills, supplies, building maintenance, fuel, and insurance. No debt is incurred until bonds are sold.

What is the exact amount of the SBISD 2022 bond package and what projects are included?

The 2022 bond referendum is $381.6 million and is made up of two propositions as required by law.

Proposition A  - $366,625,000 includes the following projects:

  • Career and Technical Education - $290,300,000 to fund:
    • Replace the Guthrie Center, SBISD’s central CTE facility;  
    • Classroom, lab, and facility improvements at Guthrie’s Agricultural Science Center, 
    • Classroom, lab, and facility improvements at four SBISD high schools, six middle schools and two specialty campuses. 
    • CTE-related technology
  • Facilities  - $46,000,000 to fund:
    • Valley Oaks Elementary classroom addition
    • New stormwater detention and code requirements put in place after Hurricane Harvey
  • Technology - $11,225,000 to fund:
    • Audio-visual communication instructional tools
    • Technology infrastructure
  • Bond Plan Administration - $19,100,000 to fund:
    • Bond Administration
    • Bond Contingency

Proposition B - $14,975,000 

  • Technology - $14,975,000 to fund:
    • Replace and refresh secondary student devices
    • Replace and refresh teacher devices districtwide

Why did Spring Branch ISD call for the May 7 bond election?

The Board of Trustees called for the May 7 bond election to fulfill the promise to voters under the 2017 Bond program to provide SBISD students a world-class CTE program and the facilities to move toward that vision. The program also addresses several critical district facilities and technology needs. 

Who decided what facility and technology improvements were needed in SBISD?

The Board of Trustees called the election following a multi-year study of the district’s Career and Technical Education (CTE) programming and related facilities, a commitment made under the 2017 Bond. The multi-year process included engagement of the community in a CTE Task Force that developed a vision for a world-class SBISD CTE program (March- Dec. 2018), an architect-led CTE Facility Study (April – Aug. 2019), a staff-led CTE Working Group that recommended the CTE programs of study (Fall 2019), the development of CTE educational specifications (Spring 2020), and an architect-led facility assessment to identify needs based on the educational specifications (Spring 2021). Thereafter, community-led CTE Long Range Facilities Committee was formed and presented its long-range facilities plan to Trustees in July 2021. A CTE Bond Advisory Committee was then convened to formulate bond recommendations that were presented to Trustees in November, 2021. Trustees met throughout December, January and early February in a series of meetings, during which they also considered other district facility and technology needs to finalize the bond package. Every Child and every SBISD campus will be touched by the proposed bond program.

How long will this bond program last?

The administration anticipates bonds would be sold and construction/renovation would occur over an estimated six-year period. Typically, bonds for facilities have a maturity of 30 years or less. Shorter-term bonds are used to finance shorter-lived assets, such as technology. 

How will bond funds impact technology?

Funds would be used to upgrade district and campus technology infrastructure that supports CTE programming as well as  refresh staff and secondary student devices. Funds would support instructional communication tools with upgrades of the equipment needed for streaming; refreshing and replacing broadcast equipment including microphones and speakers for all campuses; replacing aging Brightlinks, and implementing cell signal boosters in all district facilities. 

SCHOOL FINANCE and TAX QUESTIONS

How are my schools funded?

Two tax rates paid by Spring Branch ISD property owners comprise the local share of district funds. The district’s Maintenance and Operations (M&O) Tax Rate for the 2021 tax year ($0.9998) pays for day-to-day operational expenses such as salaries, employee benefits, supplies, transportation, fuel, insurance, general maintenance and utilities. No bond money will be used to cover these operating costs. The Interest and Sinking (I&S) Tax Rate for the 2021 tax year ($0.3045) is based on the outstanding debt of the district. Debt is incurred when a district borrows money in the form of bonds. SBISD’s tax rate for the 2021 tax year of $1.3043 per $100 of assessed valuation represents the lowest district tax rate since 2007-08. 

What are our current school taxes in SBISD?

SBISD’s total tax rate for the 2021 tax year, is $1.3043 per $100 of assessed valuation ($0.9998 M&O +$0.3045 I&S) and represents the lowest district tax rate since 2007-08. 

How do SBISD school taxes compare to other districts in the Houston area?

Spring Branch ISD homeowners pay the second lowest school taxes in the Houston area. SBISD is one of the few districts that offers every exemption allowed by law, including the full 20 percent local homestead exemption.

How will passage of the new bond issue affect my school taxes?

Spring Branch ISD property owners will continue to pay school property taxes that include both a maintenance and operations (M&O) portion and an interest and sinking (I&S), or debt service portion. The tax year 2021 I&S portion of your total tax rate is $0.3045 per $100 of assessed valuation. This tax rate is not expected to increase as a result of the bond election, if approved by voters.

The bond package is based on a conservative financial model that affirms that the district’s capacity to complete this bond package without increasing the tax rate. 

Why does the wording on the ballot say this is a property tax increase if SBISD isn’t raising the tax rate?

In 2019, the Texas Legislature passed legislation requiring the ballot for all school district bond referendums to include the sentence, “This is a property tax increase.” The sentence is required even if no actual tax rate increase will occur.  In fact, Spring Branch ISD does not expect to raise the tax rate to pay for any of the bonds in this election. 

What if I am 65 or older or disabled?

The Bond issue will not affect the tax bill or the amount of taxes paid for anyone disabled or 65 or older with a homestead exemption.

How can the district issue new debt with no change to the tax rate?

Through effective management of the district’s current bond portfolio, our financial advisors and the district’s Finance team have been positioning the district to be able to sell additional bonds since the last bond was approved by voters in 2017. The conservative financial model for the proposed 2022 bond package assumes 2 percent property growth over 9 years, and then flat for the remaining 18 years of the proposed program timeline.  In 2017, at the time of the last bond election, the district had $618 million in outstanding bonds with the final maturity in 2042. Since that time we have sold $518.9 million in bonds Our principal balance outstanding is $798.8 million, with a final maturity in 2043. We have paid $338.1 million in bond principal in this same time period. The increasing property values and management of our debt portfolio have allowed us to be in the position of asking voters to approve another bond authorization without increasing the tax rate.   

How much does the state of Texas and the federal government pay toward building new facilities or improving existing schools in SBISD?
Not one cent. All funds for school sites and construction must come from the sale of bonds approved by residents of the district.

When will the bonds be sold?
Bonds will be sold through competitive bidding and in installments as funds are needed. We expect all bonds will be sold within five years.

Since we are a Chapter 49 (recapture) district, how much bond money will leave SBISD?

Not one penny. Bond funds are not subject to recapture, now known as local revenue in excess of entitlement. All bond funds approved by district voters will remain in SBISD to directly benefit our children. 

VOTING/SAMPLE BALLOT INFORMATION

Who is eligible to vote in the SBISD 2022 Bond election?
Anyone registered to vote within the Spring Branch ISD boundaries is eligible to vote in the May 7, 2022 election. Eligible voters will be able to vote for school board candidates and for the bond referendum.

How do I register to vote or find out if I am registered to vote?

To verify your registration or to register to vote, please visit Harris County’s voter registration website at this link.

What’s the last day to register to vote in the SBISD 2022 Bond election?

April 7, 2022

When is Early Voting? 

Early Voting Dates are Monday, April 25 – Tuesday, May 3, 2022.  Early voting times are 7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. Monday-Friday, and 8:00 a.m. – Noon, on Saturday, with the exception of the City of Piney Point Village location. Early voting times at the City of Piney Point Village are Monday, April 25 – Friday, April 29, from 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. with no Saturday early voting. On Monday and Tuesday, May 2 and 3, Piney Point Village early voting hours are 7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Early voting locations are: 

  • Wayne F. Schaper, Sr. Leadership Center, 955 Campbell Rd., 77024
  • City of Piney Point Village, 7676 Woodway Suite #300, 77063
  • Don Coleman Community Coliseum, 1050 Dairy Ashford, 77079
  • Holy Cross Lutheran Church, 7901 Westview, 77055
  • John Knox Presbyterian Church, 2525 N. Gessner Rd., Education Bldg, Rm. 11, 77080

Where and when can I vote on Election Day, Saturday, May 7, 2022?

Election day voting is from 7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. Locations are based on your middle school attendance zone and home street address.  Election Day Voting Locations - SBISD Directory of Street Addresses. Voting locations are based on middle school attendance zones and home street address:

  • Precinct No. 41 – Landrum Middle School, 2200 Ridgecrest, Houston, TX 77055
  • Precinct No. 42 – Memorial Middle School, 12550 Vindon, Houston, TX 77024
  • Precinct No. 43 – Spring Branch Middle School, 1000 Piney Point, Houston, TX 77024
  • Precinct No. 44 – Spring Woods Middle School, 9810 Neuens, Houston, TX 77080
  • Precinct No. 45 – Spring Forest Middle School, 14240 Memorial, Houston, TX 77079
  • Precinct No. 46 – Spring Oaks Middle School, 2150 Shadowdale, Houston, TX 77043
  • Precinct No. 47 – Northbrook Middle School, 3030 Rosefield, Houston, TX 77080

Can I vote by mail?

Applications for ballots by mail must be received no later than 5 p.m. on April 26, 2022. More information is available here.

Will I need identification when I go to vote?

Yes, you must be able to show one of these forms of identification:

  • Texas driver license issued by the Texas DPS
  • Texas election identification certificate issued by the Texas DPS
  • Texas Personal identification issued by the Texas DPS
  • Texas handgun license issued by the Texas DPS
  • United States military identification card containing the person’s photograph
  • United States citizenship certificate containing the person’s photograph
  • United States passport (book or card)

With the exception of the U.S. Citizenship Certificate, which does not expire, for voters aged 18-69, the acceptable form of photo identification may be expired no more than four years before being presented for voter qualification at the polling place. For voters aged 70 or older, the acceptable form of photo identification may be expired for any length of time if the identification is otherwise valid.

For a voter who does not have one of the forms of acceptable photo ID and cannot reasonably obtain one, these are supporting IDs that can be presented:

  • Copy or original of a government document that shows the voter’s name and address, including the voter’s boater registration certificate
  • Copy of original or current utility bill
  • Copy or original bank statement
  • Copy or original government check
  • Copy or original paycheck
  • Copy or original of a certified domestic (From a US state or territory) birth certificate or a document confirming birth admissible in a court of law which establishes the voter’s identity (which may include a foreign birth document)

After presenting one of the forms of supporting ID listed above, the voter must execute a Reasonable Impediment Declaration.

What is the language for the propositions on the ballot?

As required by law, SBISD will have two propositions on the ballot. Proposition A is a general purpose proposition and most of the projects in the 2022 Bond. Proposition B is a special purpose proposition and covers technology instructional devices. 

The Ballot will read as follows:

OFFICIAL BALLOTS

SPRING BRANCH INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT PROPOSITION A

[  ]  FOR


[  ]  AGAINST

 

THE ISSUANCE OF $366,625,000 FOR THE CONSTRUCTION, ACQUISITION AND EQUIPMENT OF SCHOOL BUILDINGS IN THE DISTRICT, INCLUDING MIDDLE SCHOOL AND HIGH SCHOOL CAREER AND TECHNICAL EDUCATION (CTE) FACILITIES, AND THE IMPOSITION OF TAXES SUFFICIENT TO PAY THE PRINCIPAL OF AND INTEREST ON THE BONDS.  "THIS IS A PROPERTY TAX INCREASE." THIS STATEMENT IS REQUIRED FOR ALL SCHOOL DISTRICT BOND PROPOSITIONS PURSUANT TO SECTION 45.003 TEXAS EDUCATION CODE.

 

SPRING BRANCH INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT PROPOSITION B

[  ]  FOR


[  ]  AGAINST

 

THE ISSUANCE OF $14,975,000 BONDS FOR THE ACQUISITION, INSTALLATION AND UPDATE OF TECHNOLOGY EQUIPMENT, AND THE IMPOSITION OF TAXES SUFFICIENT TO PAY THE PRINCIPAL OF AND INTEREST ON THE BONDS. "THIS IS A PROPERTY TAX INCREASE." THIS STATEMENT IS REQUIRED FOR ALL SCHOOL DISTRICT BOND PROPOSITIONS PURSUANT TO SECTION 45.003 TEXAS EDUCATION CODE.