a school bond?
A school bond is similar to a home mortgage. It is a contract
to repay borrowed money with a low-cost interest rate over time.
Just as it is with a home, long-term financing is critical in the
construction of school facilities.
What is the total cost of the districtís
The approved plan will cost $299.88 million.
Why do we need a school bond election?
The student enrollment growth spurred by new housing
developments in south Pasadena, the corridor between State Highway
3 and I-45 and the South Belt area of the district has averaged
approximately 1,400-1,500 students over the past two years.
Demographic projections show that the district could experience a
growth rate greater than 2,000 students per year or more for the
next five years if housing development continues. The new growth
hits strongest at the elementary and intermediate schools, but the
bubble will have a dramatic impact on high school enrollment
within the next 3-5 years as these students move through each
grade level. Among the largest districts in Texas, Pasadena ISD is
ranked as the eighth fastest growing district among the largest
school districts in Texas. Over the past three years, Pasadena ISD
has experienced an almost 10 percent gain in student enrollment.
In addition to the growth, the district has a number of
facilities which are more than 50 years old. They are not fully
equipment for the instructional programs needed to meet the needs
of todayís child. The older buildings cannot handle some of the
new technology used to education a 21st century
The district continues to use its fund balance or savings
account for short term or minor building projects. Given todayís
construction costs and the needs of the district, a long-term bond
is the only viable financial solution.
How were the needs determined?
An independent firm conducted a district wide facility
assessment in 2003, outlining the short and long-term facility
needs. The assessment suggested a number of renovation projects
and identified campuses which they felt needed to be replaced to
keep from "pouring good money after bad." In other
words, several campuses would have cost almost as much to repair
as it would to replace.
Once the assessment was complete, the Superintendent organized
a committee of 80 individuals representing every school and area
in the district to review the assessment and to look at the
student enrollment growth. The committee was asked to share the
thoughts with friends and neighbors to gather additional feedback
from the community. The committee used this information to make a
recommendation for future facility needs. The recommendation was
then discussed with principals and teachers to get additional
feedback before presentation to the Board of Trustees for a final
decision on the facility plan that has been presented.
You mentioned student enrollment
growth. What is the current student enrollment and what are your
projected numbers? Peak
enrollment in 2003-04 reached 46,190 students. Projections based
on independent demographic studies and analysis of home and
apartment developments indicate at potential enrollment of 59,000
by 2008, if current trends continue.
Can the bond money be used to hire
more teachers and give our current teachers higher salaries?
No. Bond funds cannot be used to pay for salaries or new
personnel. By law, bond funds can only be spent on new buildings,
renovations, technology and buses.
How will the district pay for the new
teachers and staff once the buildings are built?
The districtís regular operating budget pays for staff,
salaries and the day to day operating expenses. The district must
comply with applicable student/teacher ratios required by the
Texas Education Agency. As student enrollment and property values
increase, revenue will generally increase enough to pay for the
additional staffing. The district has spread out the construction
over a five-year period to better absorb the additional
How long will it take to complete
all the bond projects?
The district will complete the building program over the next
five years starting in the areas of most critical growth. The
District intends to complete the program by 2008-09 when growth
projections are at their highest. The building program will
address our student enrollment growth and enable us to implement
the middle school concept. The various parts of the plan will also
address campus safety and security.
How much is being spent under to
proposal for new construction and renovation in each area of the
City of Pasadena - $138.38 million
South Houston/Old Galveston Road Corridor - $36.2 million
South Belt - $75.2 million
Will the bond issue increase my taxes
if I am 65 years of age or older or disabled?
No. If you are a senior citizen receiving the "over-65
exemption," or an individual who has a disability, your tax
payment on your home will not change as a result of the bond
program. The Texas Constitution, Article VIII, Section I-d,
provides for persons 65 years of age or older who have a homestead
exemption to be exempt from all tax rate increases and changes in
taxable value unless new improvements are made to the home. If you
currently do not have an exemption for which you may be qualified,
you may want to contact the Harris County Appraisal District.
If the voters approve the package, how
will my tax rate be affected?
The state has assisted property poor school districts like
Pasadena in the past by providing money to offset the cost of
bonds. All indications are that the district will continue
receiving the funds. By law, however, the voters must approve the
bond issue before the state will let us know if the district is
eligible to receive state assistance. The cost of the $299.88
million bond program will be a maximum of three cents per $100 in
property valuation if the district receives state aid it expects.
Three cents on the tax rate is approximately 75 cents per month
for a home valued at $50,000 or a $1.88 per month for a home
valued at $100,000.
What are Pasadena ISDís
The state now closely tracks administrative costs in all
districts in Texas by setting a standard cost depending on the
size of the district. Pasadena ISD is approximately $6 million
below the state standard in administrative costs.
Why doesnít the district continue to
use fund balance for its building needs?
Pay-as-you-go is similar to an individual paying cash for a
home or major room addition. Most people canít afford to do that
so they take out a mortgage to make the new home or renovation
affordable. Pay-as-you-go works well for small emergencies and
routine maintenance. In recent years, the district built Golden
Acres Elementary School using fund balance. However, state law
prohibits districts from awarding construction bids without cash
on hand to cover the entire cost of the project or projects.
Pasadena ISD maintains approximately 12 percent of its annual
budget in fund balance under Texas Education Agency guidelines and
board resolution. In addition, lending agencies require a healthy
fund balance in order for the district to maintain its excellent
Aa credit rating. The Aa rating allows the district to borrow
funds at a lower interest rate, saving taxpayers millions of
dollars over the life of the bond.
The districtís fund balance simply isnít enough to pay for
the identified needs. A single elementary school is projected to
cost $13.8 million. The new schools are needed over the next
four-five years to house the rising number of students.
Will the addition at Dobie add to the
traffic problems along Blackhawk?
Yes, to a degree during certain times of the day. Traffic will
always be an issue around any school for the drop off and pick up
times. The district built an extended drop-off lane at Moore
Elementary and widened the streets leading into Dobie. This has
improved the flow of traffic significantly. The district has also
added bus routes to give parents more options. These steps have
reduced the time it takes to get to school to an average of 10-15