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  • Friday, July 29, 2016
    Burton ISD may seek $18 million bond issue
    Voters here may be asked to approve an $18 million bond issue that could increase the tax rate by more than 30 cents.
     
    Build a Better Burton School (BABBS) hosted the first of four public forums to discuss the debt issuance here Thursday, when a large crowd gathered in the fire station.

    District officials want to include the $18 million bond proposal on the ballot for the November general elections.
     
    Superintendent Edna Kennedy said the money would go to fund a facilities master plan, including additional high school classrooms (eight are being proposed, a long with two new science labs), a new football stadium with an eight-lane track, a new multi-purpose gymnasium, a larger cafeteria and food preparation area, and renovation of the band hall.
     
    Kennedy said it would also address drainage, parking, lighting and security issues.
     
    She said the district has seen academic and athletic successes in the past few years and enrollment is rising steadily.
     
    The district ended the 2015-16 school year with 413 students; enrollment when the new academic year starts next month will be at least 425, Kennedy added.
     
    The bonds would address that growth and also enhance the district’s extracurricular programs, she said.
     
    “Financially speaking, this is the time to do it,” said Kennedy, citing low interest rates and construction costs that will only increase in the future.
     
    “Our community and Burton ISD will greatly benefit in the future,” she said.
     
    “We are doing great things for students. Our schools are our community.”
     
    The band hall is a portable building, and the district’s track competitors must be bused to Somerville High School or find facilities on their own to practice, said Kennedy.
     
    The Lady Panthers track team has won the last two state titles in its classification.
     
    The bond issue would have a huge impact on the district’s tax rate.
     
    Burton ISD’s current property tax is $1.17 per $100 valuation, including 13 cents for debt service.
     
    Financial advisor Robert Traylor of RBC Capital Markets said that an interest rate of 4.45 percent with a 25-year payback is being projected.
     
    If the bonds are sold at that interest rate, the property tax debt service required would be 31.16 cents, said Traylor.
     
    It is possible that the district will get an interest rate of 3 percent or lower in what Traylor called a “very, very favorable” market currently.
     
    If that occurred, that would drop the debt service tax rate by several pennies, he added.
     
    If a tax increase of 31 cents is needed, the owner of a home valued at $100,000 would see a tax hike of about $312 per year, or $26 a month, said Traylor.
     
    Kennedy asked residents to strongly consider approving the debt issuance.
     
    “Things are costly, and nothing comes for free,” she said. “But we’re doing it for the kids.
     
    “Let’s do the best thing we can for our kids.”
     
    School board members will have to decide by Aug. 23 if the bond issue is to be included on the November ballot.

    Source: Brenham Banner-Press