School District May Seek a $150 Million Bond in May Election
SAN ANGELO, TX — The San Angelo ISD Board of Trustees is considering issuing a bond for nearly $150 million with a bond election on May 5, 2018.
The San Angelo ISD released the news of the proposed bond for $148,990,000 at the school board meeting Monday night.
“In response to SAISD’s aging and evolving facility needs and security considerations, the Long Range Facilities Planning Committee was formed in September 2017,” Superintendent Carl Dethloff said in the statement.
The amount, $150 million, is enough to construct a new high school facility. During the 2008 bond election, major rehabilitation of the current San Angelo Central High School campus was performed instead. This bond is likely for smaller projects. Here's the list of possible projects, and their costs, culled from presentations to the committee.
School districts like San Angelo ISD receive most of their funding from property taxes. Over the last five years, San Angelo’s Interest and Sinking (I&S) portion of their annual budget has been relatively static, as the district pays down $105 million (as of Sept. 2017) in existing debt. Total debt has been dropping about $8 million a year. Tax rates have remained relatively stable, and today are set at $1.22 per $100 in property valuation. Of that, 18 cents was for I&S, and $1.04 was for M&O, according to the latest district annual report prepared last year.
San Angelo ISD, like all Texas school districts, have two parts to its property taxes it charges property owners inside the district. One is the Maintenance and Operations rate. This includes teachers’ salaries, vehicles, utilities, and ordinary repairs on facilities. The interest and sinking rate, the other portion, pays off the district’s debt, usually bonds.
If voters approve the $150 million bond in May, the total debt of the district will be in the neighborhood of $255 million. Statewide, according to State of Texas data from the Bond Review Board, Texas school district debt has increased from $46.6 billion in 2007 to $73.8 billion in 2016, the last year data is available. That is a 58 percent increase.
The TEA states that total student enrollment in Texas public schools in 2006 was 4,521,043. In 2016, enrollment increased to 5,299,728, a 17 percent increase.
San Angelo ISD enrollment is 14,530. In 2015, San Angelo ISD Board President Lanny Layman said the district’s total enrollment was 14,300. In 2001, the closest historical year we could find enrollment figures, San Angelo ISD had 16,000 students. The evidence is that San Angelo ISD isn’t growing.
Part of the reason for the stagnant enrollment figures may be Texas Leadership Charter Academy. The charter school has attracted about 2,800 who would otherwise be enrolled in the San Angelo ISD. TLCA got off the ground in 2007.
In 2008, when the previous $117 million bond was approved, the original need was to build a brand new high school campus not at the existing location. The multi-building Central High School campus was deemed inadequate for future investment or expansion. However, ambitions for the bond amount then were toned down and Central received a just a facelift, completed by 2015.
What will the San Angelo ISD build with $150 million? The district didn’t release that information Monday night. But an increase of its debt that high will mean a property tax increase in a City already reeling from property valuation increases.
Then there is Tom Green County’s new jail. The county may need to go to voters to approve a county bond to complete its $50 million jail. We learned in December that the current project, already funded with a loan with construction underway, is too small to meet State of Texas and county inmate requirements.
The San Angelo ISD enlisted the aid of a board of citizen volunteers on a committee that concluded a $150 million bond was needed. It “reviewed a variety of information in rendering this decision, including safety and security issues, aging and existing facility needs (those not included in the 2008 bond campaign), as well as financial analysis of bonding capacity and tax impact scenarios,” the district stated.
The San Angelo ISD Board of Trustees will vote to approve a bond election at their meeting Feb. 12, 2018.
On the district’s “Long range Facilities Planning Committee” who recommended the bond were:
- Dan Baker
- Lt. Gen. Ronnie Hawkins, Jr., Ret.
- Wrey Montgomery
- Mike Boyd
- Dr. Colleen Heartsill
- Dana Nolen
- Krista Bradley
- Baynes Hobbs
- Angel Perez
- Elizabeth Chambers
- Lorenzo Lasater
- Louie Perez
- John Childers
- Matt Lewis
- Rev. Bill Proctor
- Gus Clemens
- Taishi Ligon
- Andy Robinson
- Amy Deadman
- Dr. Flor Madero
- Carlos Robledo
- Christy Diego
- Dr. Brian May
- Carlos Rodriguez
- Dr. Javier Flores
- Debbi Meads
- Howard Taylor
- Brenda Gunter
- Pierce Miller
- Whitney Watson Wood