General: About a bond
Q: What is a bond and why do we have elections?
A. Just like homeowners borrow money in the form of a mortgage to finance the purchase of a home, a school district borrows money in the form of bonds to finance construction of new schools and renovation projects. Both are repaid over time, but in order for a school district to sell bonds, it must go to the voters for approval. By law, bond funds may not be used to fund daily operating expenses or salaries. Bond funds may only be used for the projects previously described.
Q: When and where can I vote in this election?
A: Voting information can be found under the Voting tab of this website. Click here
SAISD's Bond Proposal
Q: What is included in SAISD's bond?
A: The bond would fund seven categories of improvements:
- Safety & Security – improved lighting, new fire alarms, key-card access controls, security cameras and fencing
- Technology – new computers and related hardware to replace aging equipment
- Renovations & Additions – extensive renovations to 22 schools -- 14 of those fully updated to modern facilities. Includes infrastructure repairs and classroom additions and renovations
- Vocation & Career Instruction – new or upgraded facilities for high school career programs; and the addition of career technology labs at middle schools for early career awareness
- Playgrounds and Track Resurfacing – new or improved playground equipment for 48 elementary/PK-8 schools; and all weather track resurfacing and lighting at seven high schools for use by students and the surrounding community
- Alamo Stadium and Convocation Center – renovations for site parking, walk ways, lighting, landscaping and irrigation; stadium and convocation center play areas, seating, restrooms, locker rooms, concessions, press boxes, storage, accessibility, sports lighting, and infrastructure involving electrical, plumbing (water and sewer systems), sound and security systems
- Transportation Efficiency – provides for space for bus transportation center, resulting in shorter bus travel distances; and supports consolidation of all transportation, maintenance and facilities operations for additional cost savings and operational efficiency
No bond funds would be used on schools proposed for consolidation—those schools would be maintained out of the District operating budget.
Q: How was the bond package determined?
A: The bond proposal was developed with input from a community-based committee representing all areas of the district. The 35-member committee, consisting of parents, local citizens and school staff, met to study the requirements of the district and prioritize what should be addressed in implementing phase I of the Long Range Strategic Plan, and presented their recommendations to the Board of Trustees. Final adjustments were made by District administration and Trustees, and approved on August 16th.
Q: Will there be a citizen's bond oversight committee?
A: Yes. If the bond is passed, the Board will establish a Citizens Bond Oversight Committee to monitor and report to the Board and the public on the progress of the bond program's implementation.
Q: Which schools get major renovations and how were they chosen?
A: Twenty-two schools would get major renovations in this phase of the restructuring plan – including 14 schools fully updated to modern facilities (this includes the 9 schools that would be the main receiving schools for students attending the 5 schools to be consolidated in the 2013-14 school year). Additional schools were chosen due to significant infrastructure and/or capacity needs.
Full renovations would be done for: Cameron ES, Cotton ES, Fenwick ES, Hawthorne Academy, Hirsch ES, Japhet ES, Ogden ES, Riverside Park ES, Rogers ES, Sarah King ES, Arnold ES, Bonham Academy, Woodlawn ES (to become PK-8) and Highlands HS. And 8 secondary schools would receive major renovations for partial building improvements: Burbank HS, Brackenridge HS, Edison HS, Fox Tech HS, Houston HS, Jefferson HS, Lanier HS, and Longfellow MS.
Renovations and upgrades of all remaining schools in the plan would be completed in future phases of implementation.
Q: What goes into updating a school to a modern facility?
A: Infrastructure repairs – replacing outdated air conditioning, electrical wiring, plumbing and kitchen equipment - as well as classroom additions and upgrades to meet current standards for instructional environments. This includes classroom upgrades/additions for core courses, including science and technology labs and art, music rooms and special education rooms, and other building upgrades.
Q. How can I determine what my school is receiving from this proposed bond plan?
Q: Why did the Board decide to include Alamo Stadium and Convocation Center in the proposal?
A: The restoration of Alamo Stadium and Convocation Center is included in SAISD's long-range strategic plan and is a facility that is used by all students district wide. The Board felt that is was time to address the infrastructure issues and outdated conditions of the bathrooms, seating, dressing rooms and other areas to bring it up to a quality similar to neighboring school districts.
Q: Will the district seek out partnerships for Alamo Stadium and Convocation Center?
A: SAISD is open to exploring possible opportunities with governmental entities as well as the private sector, should it benefit our students. SAISD’s priority is and will always remain focused on the students and taxpayers we serve.
Q: When will construction begin and end on projects?
A: A general schedule for major projects includes a year of design, three months of bidding and award to contractors and two years of construction. Some projects may require as much as 3 years of construction due to phasing to ensure safety and limited interruption of students and staff. Acquisition of computers and playground equipment will proceed immediately following funding of bonds. Design for safety and security projects will also proceed quickly with awards to several contractors allowing for installations at multiple campuses simultaneously.
Q: Will the renovations address energy efficiency?
A: Yes. Current codes including energy codes will be complied with to improve energy and utility efficiency including upgraded insulation of exteriors such as roofing, walls and windows; efficient air conditioning and heating equipment; efficient lighting and sensors; use of low flow toilets and urinals, condensate water storage and reuse for landscape irrigation. Partnerships will be pursued for grants available for power generation such as solar panels.
Phase I and the long-range restructuring plan
Q: Which schools would be consolidated in Phase I?
A: Five primary schools would be consolidated in Phase I – but not before the main receiving schools are fully renovated to model schools. Those five schools are: Brewer, Nelson, Steele and W.W. White elementary schools and Austin Academy.
Q: What will happen to vacant buildings after a school has been closed?
A: Each building will have to be assessed to determine its future use. However, SAISD’s priority has always been to add value to the community in which vacant school buildings are located. Recent examples include the conversion of Cooper facility into a partnership with the City of San Antonio to house the Mission Verde Center; the conversion of Mann and Travis facilities for the highly successful programs of YWLA and Travis ECHS; and the conversion of four schools to house Head Start centers. SAISD will pursue partnerships, sale, lease or exchange of those schools to benefit the communities. In some cases where the condition of the building is inadequate, demolition will be considered to provide green space for use by the surrounding neighborhoods.
Q: How will this bond affect my taxes?
A: The bond would not have an effect on property taxes until 2012, when the average homeowner in SAISD would pay an additional $1.58 a month. When bond payments peak in 2027, the average homeowner would see a tax impact of $9.97 per month. Even with increases from a $515M bond, the total tax rate would still be lower than it was in 2007.
Q: Would the state pay for a share of the new bonds?
A: Yes, the state currently pays 29% of our debt, thus taxpayers would support the remainder of the bond. Exactly how much can be expected from the State in the future will depend on our property value, average daily attendance (ADA) levels and the state allocation.
Q: What if I am over 65? How do I file for my over 65 exemption?
A: SAISD property taxes for senior citizens homesteads would not be affected by the bond. Taxes are frozen for senior citizens who have filed their homestead and Over 65 exemption application with the Bexar Appraisal District and they have owned the home as of January 1, 2010. For information about homestead and Over 65 exemptions call 242-2432 or log onto www.bcad.org.
Q: Are we issuing long-term bonds to cover technology?
A: No. San Antonio ISD will not issue long-term bonds to fund technology purchases. For example, if the District purchases computers with a useful life of 5 years, the bonds that fund the purchase of the computers will be paid off in 5 years.