Superintendent Message (Nov. 9, 2016)

Voters approve SAISD Bond & TRE

Nov. 9, 2016

Dear SAISD Staff,

First, thank you to those who supported the two propositions on yesterday’s ballot.

We are grateful to SAISD voters who overwhelmingly made the decision to invest in our students and our District when they approved a $450 million bond and a 13-cent increase to the Maintenance and Operations tax rate.

The M&O increase will bring in an estimated $32.1 million in additional annual revenue, $15.6 million from local taxes and an estimated $16.5 million from the state.

I want to assure you that these funds will be put to good use. We have such great need in our District.

The bond, which will be managed internally, is going to allow us to complete renovations at 13 aging schools, replacing infrastructure systems that in most cases are more than 40 years old, upgrading science labs and expanding other classroom spaces to meet recommended state guidelines. We must have safe and functional buildings for our students and staff.

Voter approval to increase the M&O rate – this was the Tax Ratification Election, or TRE, proposal – is especially important because it provides for a source of revenue that will continue year after year and be used to improve our classrooms and program offerings.

One of the first changes you will see this year is the infusion of technology into Special Education classrooms across the District. We will start on that as soon as possible, and we also will begin mapping out for this coming summer a much more substantial summer school program than you’ve seen in recent years, to ensure we are reaching more of the students who most need the additional academic support.

Revenue from the M&O will allow us to modernize classrooms at all schools that are not part of the 2016 Bond, including replacing noisy classroom air conditioning ventilators, repainting, replacing ceiling and floor tile, installing new lighting and introducing new furniture. These changes, in conjunction with new technology, such as handheld learning devices and interactive whiteboards, will bring our classrooms up to 21st-century standards. We are in the process of prioritizing which campuses will be among the first to receive work.

We will keep you and the SAISD community well-informed of the projects associated with the tax increases. Again, thank you for your support.