frequently asked questions

1. Has the Board called a new bond election?

No. GCISD has not called a bond election but is researching the possibility of a May 2016 referendum. A facility planning team comprised of parents, community constituents, and campus and district staff will be brought together to consider the district’s financial position and strategic plan as it relates to programs for students, facilities, infrastructure, technology, security, etc. If the team recommends moving forward with a referendum on this timeline, any proposal would need to be presented to the Board of Trustees in January or February 2016 for their consideration. Only then may a bond referendum election be called by the Board of Trustees.

 

2. Why has the district begun this process?

 

3. What is the debt situation in GCISD?

 

4. Why do we need a bond program to fund facility improvements?

The district’s operating budget is not able to fund large, non-recurring capital expenditures such as land, buildings, infrastructure, technology and equipment. This is because of several factors:

 

First, the Maintenance and Operations budget (M&O) is dedicated to daily operating costs and recurring or consumable expenditures such as teacher and staff salaries, classroom supplies, software and utilities. Further, because GCISD is a “Robin Hood” district, the district is required to send more than $25 million of its local operating tax collections each year to the State for distribution to other school districts. This means GCISD has approximately $25 million less per year in its operating budget to fund personnel and classroom needs than the tax revenue it receives.

 

Second, the State of Texas has chosen to fund facilities through local taxpayers at the local level. Unlike some Texas school districts, our district does not receive facility allotment funds from the State, which means longer-term facility improvements and equipment must be approved by voters through bond elections. And, because voter-approved bonds cannot by law be used to pay daily operating costs, these funds cannot be used to increase teacher salaries or pay rising costs for utilities, supplies and services.

 

Finally, unlike the operations tax revenues, GCISD retains 100% of bond tax revenues that repay the district’s obligations. This is why the district must look to bond programs to fund facility  improvements and equipment; every bond dollar approved by voters stays in GCISD to benefit our students and preserve property values. Without bond programs, GCISD would not be able to maintain its facilities and/or adapt for existing and expanding programs and services for students.

 

5. Why is the district considering a new bond program at this time?

In addition to finalizing projects in the 2011 Bond Program and continuously assessing program needs related to LEAD 2021 and student opportunities, financing conditions also are favorable for considering a new bond program. The district’s financial advisor has reported that current interest rates are advantageous for long-term bond investments and that rates are projected to remain low in future months. The facility planning team will consider all these economic factors as part of their consideration of a future bond referendum.

 

6. How is the district budget structured?

 

7. What is the facility planning process?

LEAD 2021 has been guiding the evaluation of district programs, support systems and facilities since 2011. As mentioned above, a forward-focused strategic plan such as LEAD 2021 requires us to continually evaluate our facilities and support systems to determine if our learning environments, equipment and infrastructure are equipped to best support the future of learning in GCISD. An overview of the facility planning process is as follows.

 

Programmatic Planning

  • Since LEAD 2021 implementation began, district personnel and expert advisers have been helping to assess and plan educational programs, technology and technology infrastructure support as well as extracurricular and cocurricular programs.

 

Facility Assessment to Support Programs

  • With programmatic planning underway, the district formally began the facility assessment process in September 2014.
  • Facility assessment begins with professional service providers and district personnel collaborating to identify changes, improvements and upgrades that will sustain and support the educational programs of the district.
  • Once complete, all ideas, plans and concepts will be presented to a facility planning team for consideration and discussion.

 

Facility Planning Team

  • A facility planning team will most likely begin meeting in late July 2015.
  • The team will be comprised of parents, community and staff representatives. Members will be selected through multiple processes so as to ensure representation from all schools, groups and communities. This will include nominations from business leaders, campus leaders and district administrators, parent organizations, and two ad-hoc volunteer spots.
  • Because the content presented at the meetings will often build on information presented in prior meetings, and so that team members can stay on task during meetings, team meetings will be closed to public comment. However, the large-group meetings will be open to the public to attend and listen.
  • Team members will spend many months learning about key aspects of GCISD ranging from LEAD 2021, daily operations and school finance to extracurricular opportunities for students and outcomes of the district’s educational programs. This will provide a foundation of information for facility planning team discussions.
  • If the stakeholder team determines that capital improvements are needed to support current and future learning strategies, a recommendation will be made to administration and, ultimately, the Board of Trustees to present a bond referendum to voters.

 

8. How much is the district considering and what does that mean to me as a taxpayer?

No amount is being considered. The district is only in the assessment stage. The facility planning team would consider information provided by the assessments and various financial tax scenarios. As a reminder, citizens age 65 years and older who have properly applied for and received a Homestead Exemption would not have a tax increase as a result of an approved bond program.

 

9. What are the dates and amounts of past bond packages in the last 22 years?

November 1993: $75 million (new high school, two new elementary schools, renovations, additions, furniture,buses and vehicles, and technology for existing schools); resulted in Colleyville Heritage High School, Glenhope Elementary School and Silver Lake Elementary School

 

September 1998: $134 million (repair, renovation, upgrade, addition, expansion, construction and acquisition of school building sites, and purchase of technology); resulted in a new Grapevine Middle School to replace the previous facility on Worth Street in Grapevine and later sold to Faith Christian

 

September 2005: $107.9 million (construction, acquisition, additions, and renovations of facilities, new elementary school, purchase new buses, vehicles, and technology); resulted in a new Colleyville Elementary School to replace the facility on Colleyville Boulevard and now used for the Bridges Learning Center, District Training Center and Offices for Special Services and Nutrition Services

 

May 2011: $124.5 million (repair, renovation, upgrade, equipment, security and safety, roofing, technology infrastructure and instructional devices, dedicated career and technology center, and efficiencies); resulted in a new Career & Technical Education Center for all GCISD high school students & Go Centers for both high schools

Note: The district originally planned to call the election in May 2010 but due to lingering effects of the economic downturns in 2008, and based on feedback from stakeholders and our community Bond Planning Committee, the Board and district leadership made the decision to delay the bond election by a year.

 

10. How can I stay informed during this process?

©2015 Grapevine-Colleyville ISD