Frequently Asked Questions
What is a bond election?
School districts are required by state law to ask voters for permission to sell bonds to investors in order to raise the capital dollars required for projects such as renovation to existing buildings or building a new school. If voters approve the bond referendum, they essentially give the district permission to take out a loan and pay that loan back over an extended period of time, much like a family takes out a mortgage loan for their home. A school board calls a bond election so voters can decide whether they want to pay for proposed facility projects.
How can bond funds be used?
Bond funds can be used to pay for new buildings, additions and renovations to existing facilities, land acquisition, technology infrastructure, and equipment/furniture for new or existing buildings. Bonds cannot be used for teacher salaries or other regular operating costs such as utility bills, supplies, building maintenance, fuel, and insurance.
What is the length of the bond terms?
The maximum term for bonds allowed by law is 40 years. Most EMS bonds are 30-35 years. For projects with a shorter life expectancy (i.e. technology, supplies, etc.), bond terms are matched with the life of the asset. This ensures taxpayers do not end up paying for items that the school district is no longer able to use.
Have the 2017 Bond projects been completed?
Since the passage of the 2017 bond, much of the bond program has been completed. There are a few projects remaining; the largest of which being Eagle Mountain High School. The district’s fourth and final comprehensive high school is weeks from breaking ground and is set to open in August of 2024. In addition, a new elementary school (this makes number 18), replacement of the district’s first middle school, Wayside Middle School, and other smaller projects are already in the planning stages. Projects already completed in the 2017 bond program were delivered within scheduled timelines and budget parameters.
What is COVID inflation?
In the last 18 months, consumers have experienced increased costs for goods and services, and the construction market is no different. COVID-19 has had a dramatic effect on construction prices locally and throughout the country. No one could have predicted the impact the worldwide pandemic has had on supply/demand. Supply lines of various products, including construction materials like steel, copper, and lumber, have resulted in increased costs that are, in some cases, significant. Inflation is always accounted for when a bond project is priced. However, the effect of COVID-19 has now made inflationary costs more pronounced, with an unprecedented increase in construction expenses. As a result, the proposed 2022 bond program includes estimated costs to address COVID inflation both for new projects and to complete the remaining projects in the 2017 Bond Program.
Will my taxes go up as a result of the 2022 Bond Program?
The interest and sinking tax rate (debt service) won’t go up because of the 2022 Bond program, but your overall tax bill will increase if the value of your home increases. School finance in Texas requires voters to decide whether or not schools can sell bonds and use taxes from new construction and rising property values to pay off the loan. The district’s operating budget cannot accommodate construction of new schools, land purchases and renovations to address student enrollment increases and aging facilities. Although the tax rate itself will not increase, taxes generated by new construction and growth in property values on existing homes do pay for bond programs. When possible, the district pays off debt early and saves taxpayers interest costs long-term. The amount of taxes you pay is determined by the value placed on your home. Tarrant Appraisal District determines the value of your home. If your home value rises, your total tax bill will increase. This won’t be because EMS ISD raised the tax rate.
Can the district utilize any of the ESSER funds it received for capital needs such as those in the 2022 Bond proposal?
EMS ISD received various levels of ESSER funding as a result of the impact of COVID-19 on the District. Some of these funds were received in the place of typical state formula funds for operating the District. The remaining funds are mostly restricted for use in daily operating expenditures that provide services for students. Although the District’s building program is being impacted by severe inflation due to the COVID-19 pandemic, ESSER funds cannot legally be used to construct buildings.
New questions below added April 4:
How do we know high school #4 will be the last high school for the district?
Long-range facility planning is based on projected student enrollment and compared to the available land for future housing developments. Based on the number of residential lots still available and the rate of growth projected for student enrollment, we do not believe a fifth high school will be necessary. EMS is committed, however, to continuing to monitor these key indicators and consider future district and community needs.
If the Bond is not approved this time, is there a certain amount of time we will have to wait before we can have another Bond election?
School bond elections may only be called on uniform election dates. This gives EMS ISD the option to call elections in May or November. There is no state requirement to wait a certain period to call another election after a failed or passed bond election.
When will the fence go up at Willow Creek between the line of houses at the edge of the school property?
Fencing projects included in the current bond program will be completed within the year. This includes the fence planned for the Willow Creek property line.
What is the status of the Natatorium?
The school district continues to actively pursue partnerships with various entities to provide a Natatorium for EMS students. We are currently working with the City of Saginaw and potentially the YMCA to secure a Natatorium partnership, but these negotiations are still ongoing at this time.
What will happen to Wayside Middle School?
The Bond Planning Committee, the Board of Trustees and the Administration are all committed to completing projects that were promised to voters as part of previously approved bond elections. The rebuild of Wayside was originally scheduled to occur in the 2025-2026 timeframe. At one time, district leaders were hopeful we could accelerate the first phases of the project to begin in 2022, but the project has now returned to the 2025-2026 time frame due to COVID inflation and delays in the availability of supplies and deliveries.
Where will elementary #18, #19, and #20 be located?
The exact locations for these three schools have not yet been finalized. The schools will be placed where they best serve projected student growth.
Do our middle schools still have space for more students since there aren’t any new middle schools included in the bond proposal?
District leaders are aware of the growth in middle school enrollment and are monitoring this closely. Due to the fast growth we are experiencing and changes in the market affecting long-term construction, EMS will be better able to project pricing for bond projects by holding bonds every 2-3 years rather than waiting every 5-8 years as has been done in the past. An additional middle school will likely be a top consideration for the next bond election in a few years. In the meantime, the rebuild of Wayside Middle School will increase capacity by 200+ students. Keeping the existing Wayside building to use for temporary space for classrooms is always an option. Middle schools were not included in the 2022 bond proposal because of two factors: (1) the growth in elementary across the district needs to be addressed first; and (2) there is currently not enough bonding capacity for another middle school to be constructed and paid for or it likely would have been included in this current bond election. The significant cost of inflation on construction projects caused the district to restrict the bond proposal to the most immediate projects.
Who can vote in the election on May 7?
Residents who live within the Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD boundaries, are 18 years of age on or before election day, are a US citizen and are registered to vote by the April 7 deadline can participate in the May 7 bond election. To see if you are registered or to register by the April 7 deadline, visit the voter registration site.