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What happens to bond money with rightsizing

This story has been updated.


There are strict laws that govern how school districts spend money. Public school districts are not businesses and do not make a profit. They must operate schools with the limited tax dollars they receive, primarily from local property taxes and state funds.


When school districts need to build new schools, renovate existing buildings or buy new buses, they must ask voters to approve going into debt to get financing for these large purchases. This is called a “bond election,” and the rules for school district bonds are outlined in state laws under the Texas Education Code.

Many school districts don’t have to increase their tax rate to issue bonds, despite a recent state law that requires them to place the statement “this is a property tax increase” on every ballot proposition. Additionally, most school districts in Texas carry debt from bond elections because that’s the only way they can fund construction of new schools, renovations to older schools and the replacement of other expensive items like buses.

In 2020, San Antonio ISD voters approved a $1.3 billion bond package to significantly renovate 36 schools and upgrade technology and security on all campuses. Currently, 12 schools are under construction, and other projects are in varying phases such as being designed by architects.

Some schools with bond dollars are on the recently approved rightsizing recommendation for closure or consolidation with another school. At neighborhood meetings, people have asked questions about where those bond dollars would go if those schools close. Here are the answers.

If my school closes, what happens to the bond money that was set aside for it?
Because the Board of Trustees approved the rightsizing recommendation that includes the closures of schools in the 2020 bond, the funds set aside for the closed buildings will go to other schools that will continue to educate students. The district will evaluate what upgrades the remaining school facilities will need and use the bond dollars for those projects. Bond money can only be spent on building renovations or improvements or to construct new facilities.

Why doesn’t SAISD use bond money to fund schools that don’t have enough resources?
Bond dollars can only be used to build new facilities, renovate existing buildings, buy land or property for new school buildings, or purchase or retrofit buses. They cannot be used on staff salaries, resources, curriculum materials or anything other than the listed purposes.

Is it legal to redistribute bond funds without taxpayers’ approval on a special ballot?
San Antonio ISD voters approved a general bond proposition for the construction, renovation and equipping of school buildings. The bond proposition did not include specific campuses. The district proposed projects in the bond proposition, but projects often change due to construction costs rising or other unforeseen circumstances. Even without rightsizing, SAISD would have continued to analyze the proposed projects to see if any changes were necessary to ensure the efficient investment of bond funds. Any recommendations to reallocate bond funds will be presented to the SAISD Citizens Advisory Committee and the Board of Trustees for consideration and approval.

How will Bond money follow students who leave the district?
Bond money will stay within San Antonio ISD for campus improvements. Bond dollars will not follow students who leave the district.

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