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Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD Voters To Decide Four School Bond Propositions on November 7
Based on the recommendation of citizens, parents and educators representing each of the district’s high school feeder zones, the Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD Board of Trustees voted unanimously Tuesday evening to call an election for November 7, 2023, for local voters to decide a multi-proposition school bond proposal.
The bond projects proposed by the Facility Planning Committee (FPC) include replacement schools for Wayside Middle and Saginaw Elementary Schools and a new middle school (#7) and a new elementary school (#19). Also included in the proposal are safety and security projects districtwide, land for future school sites, and capital improvements and maintenance for aging facilities and operational systems. Other projects include student technology devices, network infrastructure and system support; indoor athletic upgrades to address equity at Saginaw High School; and a natatorium (swimming pool) for district and community use.
Committee Co-Chairs Paula Harwell, Blake Mabry and David Vega presented the work of the Long-Range Facility Planning Committee during the special-called Board meeting on Tuesday. Harwell is an active parent and PTO volunteer representing the Chisholm Trail High School zone; Blake Mabry is a graduate, parent and business owner representing the Boswell and Eagle Mountain high school zones; and Vega is a parent, retired teacher/coach and local businessman representing the Saginaw High School zone. A total of 55 committee members representing a cross-section of the EMS ISD community actively participated in the planning process. Mabry and fellow committee member Ron Franklin, Boswell High School’s former choir director now retired, began serving on the community committee prior to their election as EMS ISD School Board trustees in May of this year.
The bond proposal is projected to address enrollment growth and capital improvements for the district for an estimated seven years. During that time, EMS ISD is expected to grow by 4,765 new students.
“We learned through this process just how significant the enrollment growth is in our schools and community, and what it takes to support that growth with quality programs and facilities,” said Paula Harwell, co-chair of the Facility Planning Committee. “We reviewed a variety of detailed facts and figures, went on field trips, worked in subcommittee groups on specific topic areas, and came together at the end in consensus to recommend a bond proposal for the Board to consider that we believe reflects our priority to support all students,” Harwell continued. “It has been an honor to serve as part of this process and we look forward to sharing the information we have learned with our community.”
Based on survey feedback from EMS families and community members, the committee recommended and the Board called a multi-proposition bond package that will give voters the opportunity to cast a vote for or against four separate propositions totaling $659.1 million. The school bond package is projected to cost less than $3 a year on the average 2023 homestead residence. Also on the November ballot is a constitutional amendment that, if approved, will increase the homestead exemption from $40,000 to $100,000 and provide property tax relief to taxpayers across the state. If the amendment passes, the tax impact from the proposed 2023 bond package would remain under $3 a year under current values and likely would be less than the tax savings from the homestead increase. The list of bond propositions include:
Proposition A - General $540.9 million
Facilities, safety and security, aging systems, standardization and equity, and land. In addition to the new schools, the safety and security projects include playground improvements at 16 campuses, additional security cameras, secondary vestibule buzz-in systems, fencing and equipment for the district’s new police department.
Proposition B - Technology $20.2 million
Purchase of devices and technology infrastructure equipment and associated support.
Proposition C - Saginaw High School Athletic Improvements $47 million
Saginaw High School indoor multi-purpose facility, locker room, weight room, training room, and team room additions.
Proposition D - Natatorium $51 million
Natatorium (swimming facility) to support all district water sports and provide community programming including drown-prevention programs, health and fitness classes, and special events in association with a community management partner.
After a proposed May 2022 bond election for $275 million was not approved by voters, the district launched a Listen & Learn campaign to better understand the priorities of the community. Three different surveys were offered to voters and community members during the past 14 months. Building on the work of the May 2022 citizens bond committee, school officials invited additional citizens and staff to join the process as members of an expanded Long Range Facility Planning Committee. This group began meeting in January 2023 to review feedback from the community, study historic and projected student enrollment, and reassess facilities and programs across the district to provide recommendations to district leaders for managing ongoing enrollment growth and upkeep of existing facilities and operational systems.
Overall, EMS voters showed strong support in the surveys for projects proposed in the May 2022 bond recommendation. However, they did not prefer an all-or-nothing approach by having projects presented as a single proposition. A large percentage of those surveyed believe EMS ISD should address maintenance and capital improvements for aging facilities, prioritize safety and security, and continue facility and equipment support for programs like Career and Technical Education courses (CTE) and the Agricultural Science program.
The November 2023 bond package addresses the voters’ concerns by allowing participants to decide each proposition separately. The proposed bond cost, coupled with expected homestead exemption tax relief from Senate Bill 2, means that voters can expect a $.0010 or one-tenth of a penny increase in the local tax rate. This equates to a less than $3 increase for homeowners annually.
“On behalf of the Board, I want to thank all members of the Facility Planning Committee for their dedication and commitment to the district,” said Paige Ring, President of the Board of Trustees. “It is clear from their recommendation that they spent many hours researching and analyzing a large volume and variety of information to determine their recommended priorities, encompassing all schools and all students across the district. We are confident they have brought us a solid plan, and we are pleased to be able to bring this proposal to our voters in November.”
To be eligible to participate in the November 2023 EMS ISD bond election, you must be a resident of the district and be registered to vote by Tuesday, October 10. Click here to register to vote. Early voting at any Tarrant County voting location will begin Monday, October 23, and end on Friday, November 3, which is an early release day. Election Day voting is on Tuesday, November 7.
Additional information is available on the 2023 Bond Proposal webpage. Please check back often as new information is added.