The seven-member Spring Branch ISD (SBISD) Board of Trustees voted unanimously on Monday, February 7, 2022, to call a $381.6 million bond election to appear on the May 7, 2022, ballot.
Here are the top ten things voters need to know:
1. 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.
2. 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 Career & Technical Education (CTE) program and the facilities to move toward that vision. The program also addresses several critical district facilities and technology needs.
3. 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:
- Replacement of 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
*Landrum Middle School is not included in this proposal as the newly rebuilt campus included CTE educational specifications in the building design.
Proposition B - $14,975,000 includes the following projects:
- Technology - $14,975,000 to fund:
- Replace and refresh secondary student devices
- Replace and refresh teacher devices districtwide
4. How many SBISD middle and high school students currently participate in Career & Technical Education?
More than half of SBISD middle and high school students currently participate in CTE. SBISD’s focus is on ensuring we have the capacity for Every Child to have access to robust CTE experiences.
Work done over the last four years through multiple community-led task forces and committees affirm that SBISD has opportunities to significantly impact the CTE experience for our students moving into the future.
Right now, SBISD CTE classrooms are undersized, outdated, and lack critical infrastructure needed to reflect industry standards. They also lack simulation labs that prepare students to be certified for real-world occupations such as Patient Care Technicians, Pharmacy Technicians, and Dental Assistants.
Read more about the CTE portion of the proposed 2022 Bond package here.
5. 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.
6. What are our current school taxes in SBISD and how do they compare to other districts in the Houston area?
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.
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.
7. 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. There is zero tax rate increase expected 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.
* 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.
8. 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 (House Bill 3, Section 45.033, Education Code) requiring the ballot for all school district bond referendums to include the sentence, “This is a property tax increase.” The sentence is required by law EVEN IF no actual tax rate increase will occur. In fact, there is zero tax rate increase expected to pay for any of the bonds in this election.
9. 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:
SPRING BRANCH INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT PROPOSITION A
[ ] FOR
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
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.
10. How, when and where do I vote?
Early Voting: April 25 – May 3
7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday – Friday
8 a.m. to Noon Saturday
- 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
*City of Piney Point Village has different hours – see website
Election Day: May 7
7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Voting locations are based on middle school attendance zones and home street address. Election Day Voting Locations - SBISD Directory of Street Addresses:
- 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
If voting 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.
Interested in attending a community meeting? Join us on Tuesday, April 19 at 7 p.m. in the Northbrook High School cafeteria. District leaders will share information about the proposed 2022 Bond package that is on the May 7 ballot. Spanish interpretation will also be provided.