Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

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May 6, 2013

CISD answers questions about bond package

Corsicana — Editor’s Note: This is the second part of a series on the May 11 CISD bond election. The Corsicana Independent School District supplied answers to questions frequently asked about the proposed $54 million bond program.

The May 11 school and municipal election contains a proposed $54 bond package for the Corsicana Independent School District. The proposed bond includes $3.7 million in safety and security upgrades; $36 million for a new middle school campus, $4 million in library/media center improvements, $1.5 million in upgrades to the high school’s baseball complex, $7.4 million in upgrades to several campuses, and $1.3 million for a new administration building.

Early voting for the May 11 election ends on Tuesday. Election Day is Saturday.

The district has compiled a list of frequently asked questions based on questions from community members during various community presentations, as well as phone and e-mail inquiries to the district. Those questions and responses appear below.

Why does this have to be done now?

1. Safety; 2. Technology; 3. Interest Rates; and 4. Anticipated Construction Cost. In October 2012, a Facility Review and Recommendation Committee was asked to review district needs from a facilities standpoint. The committee went through financial presentations, visited with architects, and toured brand new and existing facilities. It was the committee’s recommendation that these things need to be done to protect students and staff, upgrade technical capabilities and equipment, protect district investments in the current facilities, and meet the demands of the students. Interest rates are currently at an all time low. This gives CISD an opportunity to borrow at a very low rate.

If the bond is approved, how will it affect my property taxes?

If you own property within the CISD district boundaries, your property tax will go from a current tax rate of $1.28 per $100 valuation of your property, to $1.44 per $100 valuation on your property.  For example: If your property is valued at  $75,000, your monthly increase in property tax to CISD would be $7.95 per month, or $95.44 annually.

What is the maximum tax allowable?

The maximum tax allowed on property for an ISD is $1.54 per $100 valuation. If the bond passes, the CISD tax rate would be $1.44.

What other debt does CISD have right now?

The previous two bond elections from Nov. 1997 and Sept. 2004 are currently part of the debt owned by CISD.  The total debt, as of January 2013, is $54.5 million. Each year the tax rate is reevaluated based on tax collections and bond payments due.

What year will the bond be paid off?

The current bond debt will be paid off in 2037.  If the new bond is passed the total bond debt will be paid off in 2039.

Is CISD fiscally responsible?

Standard & Poor’s, an American financial institute, gives CISD a financial rating of Triple A /A+. In addition, CISD is part of the “Permanent School Fund Guaranteed Program” or PSF. CISD uses the expertise of professionals from firms like First Southwest for analysis, guidance and advice in implementation of financing plans to fund capital improvement programs. The $54 million bond proposal is manageable without financial hardship on CISD.

If I live outside of the City of Corsicana, will I be affected by the tax increase if the bond election is passed?

If you own property within the Corsicana ISD boundaries then your taxes will be affected. Your taxes will not be affected if you qualify for the tax freeze available to property owners over the age of 65. Contact the Navarro County Appraisal District at 903-872-6161 for more information.

Why do my taxes keep going up after I am 65?

Property owners must file the appropriate paperwork with the Navarro Central Appraisal District to take advantage of any property tax exemptions available.  

What will be in a media center?

“Media Center” is the new term for “Library.” This area will house books for students to read and use as resources; a bank of computers for students to use when conducting research; and eReaders, such as Nooks, iPads, or Tablets, whichever is least expensive and best fits the needs, for students to use for reading.

Are we getting rid of books?

No. There will be a combination of books and ebooks available.

How will our total taxes compare with Ellis County?

It depends on where you live in each county. The following tax rates apply for Ellis County: County — .380091; Ennis ISD — 1.54/Waxahachie ISD — 1.4289; City of Ennis — .695/City of Waxahachie — .68; Ellis County Lateral Road — .033508.

The following tax rates apply to Navarro County: County — .5109; City of Corsicana — .6272; Navarro College — .119; Navarro Flood Control — .009; Navarro Road and Bridge — .1071; Corsicana ISD — 1.283.

What happens if all the money is not spent?

Funds approved for bonds may only be spent in certain areas. These areas include: constructing new facilities, site acquisition, improving current facilities, school buses, and equipment costs related to construction. If all the approved bond funds are not spent, the overage would be spent on updates and renovations to the current, older buildings.

Why would we invest money in our baseball field when there are many other academic needs?

CISD believes that athletics and other extracurricular programs play a large role in students’ development and the entire school experience. Quality athletic programs build a sense of pride that is shared throughout the community. The Corsicana High School baseball field is home to three baseball teams — freshman, junior varsity, and varsity. CISD is not looking to construct a new field, but would like to enhance the existing field with better restroom facilities, snack bar and press box. In addition, the Bond includes funding for the install of artificial turf on the infield in order to host playoff baseball games.

Why would we invest money in an administration building?

The administration is housed in various offices inside of buildings throughout the district. The goal is to have all administrative functions together in a centralized location. This will aid in sharing resources and providing better communication throughout the district.

   —————

Information for this article was provided by the Corsicana Independent School District. Want to “Soundoff” on this story? Email: soundoff@corsicanadailysun.com

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