2022 BISD Bond Frequently Asked Questions

1.  What are the plans for the funds?

A majority of the funds will be used to construct a new junior high school (Prop A) for grades 6, 7, and 8 on the site of the existing junior high.  Additionally, the funds will be used to repurpose the Brenham Middle School to become a Pre-K through 5th Grade campus.  Together, these two projects further the mission of the District to reduce the number of facility transitions that Brenham students make during their educational career in Brenham ISD.  The bond proposal also includes an addition to the high school to accommodate the growing CTE programs and modernize existing CTE spaces (Prop B). 

2.  Where will the new school be located?

The new junior high will be located in the field between Cub Stadium and the current junior high. The project will be constructed adjacent to the existing building to minimize disruption to the existing campus, which will be demolished and used for parking and play areas once all phases are complete. No additional land will need to be purchased.

3.  What is a schoolhouse bond?

A schoolhouse bond is a primary method many school districts use to pay for capital improvements. It operates similarly to a home mortgage. It allows districts to construct, improve, renovate and equip facilities, purchase technology, and purchase school sites and then spread the cost over a designated period of time.

4.  How are the needs for this bond referendum identified and what amount is needed?

Needs for expanded facilities and renovations were determined through,

  • facility assessments conducted by professional engineers and architects,

  • a demographic study was conducted by a Demographer company to determine future growth trends

  • a Bond Planning Committee of 55 community members, teachers, and business owners studied the needs of the District, prioritized the needs, and made a recommendation to the school board.  

  • professionals prepared cost estimates for the needs. 

  • Many scenarios were evaluated and consideration was given to additions, renovations, and new facilities. The best long-term value to the district was a guiding factor.  It was determined by the professionals and committee that $111 million for Prop A and $25 million for Prop B would be required to fund the currently proposed projects.

5.  Who decided on the amount and specifics of the bond proposal?

The Brenham ISD Board of Trustees made the final determination on the amount and specifics of the bond proposal based on the results of the professional assessments and the Bond Planning Committee endorsement. 

6.  Why don't you just remodel the existing facilities and use what you have?

•    The junior high is 59 years old, was built as a high school that could also serve as a bomb shelter during the community during the Cold War Era, does not have any windows, and the cost to renovate does not address the education adequacy of the building.
•    Based on the facility assessment performed in June 2021, renovation of the 1964 Junior High (Originally constructed as Brenham High School) is not a viable option. Any expenditure would not address educational adequacy, relieve building crowding, enhance safety, or modernize classrooms for today’s delivery methods.  Renovations and additions to modernize the facility further the investment in a facility that is well beyond its useful life.

 

7.  Older buildings were built stronger than the current construction.  They are still good enough, aren’t they?
•    The average age of Brenham ISD buildings is approximately 40 years. Buildings that were constructed 40 to 50 years ago were not designed with energy efficiency or technology in mind. Electrical service is frequently inadequate for technology. 
•    In some cases, the buildings have undersized classrooms, poorly configured entrances and circulation, poor lighting, and other design conditions that would not be acceptable under modern codes.

 

8.  Are older buildings and facilities more expensive to operate than new buildings? How do operating old buildings impact the use of the operating budget, tax rate, or teacher pay?
•    Typically, older facilities do cost more in terms of utility bills and repairs. Some Brenham ISD buildings were retrofitted, for example, to accommodate air conditioning. At the time those facilities were constructed, energy efficiency was not the driving factor in construction or retrofitting. Electricity and natural gas costs comprised a lower percentage of the budget than the current environment. 
•    Water use is typically greater in older facilities, as well. Old plumbing fixtures leak, pipes crack more easily, and there are fewer water flow reducers in the older designed fixtures. 
•    Funds that are expended in areas of utilities and repairs are funds that are not available for classroom instruction and teacher salaries

9. Clarify the project cost for the proposed new junior high school

Clarity can be found within the words “construction cost” versus “project costs”. If a person is comparing the cost of construction in our area with the total cost of the proposed JH project, there is a considerable difference. A better understanding of the totality of “project cost”, which is what is being proposed and communicated, could help bring understanding. The $111 million proposed cost of the JH is a total project cost. That price includes everything from conducting soil samples before any dirt is moved all the way to the cost of putting staplers in every teacher's desk. It is a total project cost. Specifically, it includes construction costs for constructing the facility, land survey, civil and site work, all testing and inspections throughout the construction phase of the project, all technology infrastructure and technology hardware, security features and devices, all the furniture, equipment, and supplies that are needed to outfit the facility for school to take place, moving costs from the current facility to the new facility, parking lots, demolition of the current facility, putting in a practice field to replace the one that will be lost when the school is built on the current practice field, all architect and engineering fees, and built-in inflation to compensate for the current market changes and interest rate increases. 

 

10.  Assuming continued growth of the Brenham ISD area and the proposed bond would meet long-term needs for facilities, what additional facility needs would be expected within the next 10 years?
While the bond will go a long way toward improving the district many facilities will not receive badly needed work. These needs will be deferred until it is determined that the additional costs to complete the work can be supported.

11.  What will happen if the bond election does not pass?

The needs will not go away. They will only worsen and increase in costs, and the District anticipates it would call for another bond election in the future.

12.  What is the timeline for construction?


Prop A: The goal is for the junior high Phase I work to be complete for the use of students in August 2025. Current supply chain issues could affect that date. The renovations required to achieve grade-level realignment could occur during the summer of 2023 and 2024 and be available for student use in August of 2025 barring any unforeseen setbacks.

Prop B: The goal for the CTE renovation and expansion completion for student use in the Fall of 2024.

13.  What is wrong with portable buildings?

  • Portable buildings are somewhat energy inefficient and pose potential security issues. Additionally, students and teachers must walk across outdoor areas to reach the class. This poses a health and comfort issue on cold and rainy days. 

  • Portable buildings are rarely portable. Electrical service must be brought out to the site of the building. In many cases, covered walkways are constructed leading to the buildings. Handicap accessibility must be addressed through ramps and decking. Site preparation includes ensuring drainage so water does not pool under the buildings causing the potential for deterioration of the structure or the growth of molds and providing a location for the breeding of mosquitoes.

14.  Why can’t the district pay for new buildings and improvements out of the operating budget?
School districts in Texas operate under a budget consisting of two tax-supported portions. One is the maintenance and operations fund and the other is the debt fund. Tax rates to support both funds are limited by State Law. The maintenance and operations fund supports not only the maintenance and operations of buildings but also teacher salaries, benefits, and supporting programs. The I & S (debt fund) supports larger capital improvements where it is not feasible to pay for an improvement within a given fiscal budget year. The debt is spread out over an extended period much like a homeowner’s mortgage. 

 

15.  How does the bond process work?

  • Following voter approval of a bond referendum, and only then, with approval of the Board of Trustees, bonds are sold to investors at a competitive or negotiated sale.

  • Bond proceeds are delivered to the school district about five weeks after the bond sale and are invested until spent during the construction process. The district may enter into contracts for the construction of facilities when proceeds are received.

  • Bond proceeds can be used only for capital improvements and related costs.

  • Each year, the Board of Trustees sets a tax rate in two parts. The maintenance and operations rate is used to cover operating costs (salaries, supplies, equipment, insurance, utilities, etc.) while the debt service rate pays off principal and interest due on bonds. Interest and sinking funds can only be used for designated purposes. 

16.  When was the last time the district passed a bond election, and what did the funds purchase?
Brenham ISD passed a bond in 2012 for $25.9 million to construct the Alton Elementary School and renovate Brenham Middle School.

 

17.  What is the current tax rate in the district?

Texas school districts operate under a budget consisting of two tax-supported portions.

The Maintenance and Operations (M&O) fund supports the day-to-day operations of buildings but also teacher salaries, benefits, and supporting programs.

The Interest & Sinking (I&S) is spread out over an extended period much like a homeowner’s mortgage. The Interest and Sinking debt fund support larger capital improvements like building construction and renovations given the fiscal budget year. This fund must be approved by voters through bond elections.

Maintenance & Operations = .8546

Interest & Sinking = .08

The total tax rate is $0.9346

 

18.  How will the passage of the bond affect my property taxes?

Tax Increase Impact on Homeowners

Prop A - $111 Million

$200,000 = $20.00/month, $240.00/year

Prop B - $25 Million

$200,000 = $4.80/month, $57.60/year

19.  How will this affect the taxes of Brenham ISD residents older than 65? 
School district taxes on resident homesteads are frozen in the year a taxpayer turns 65 years of age and will not increase as a result of this school bond election. City and county taxes are not included at present in this exemption.

 

20.  If the taxable value in the district continues to grow, why must we raise taxes and sell bonds?
The space shortage of the district requires that additional educational space be provided. Additionally, the age of some of our facilities requires that they be replaced and/or renovated.  The cost to provide this new and renovated space exceeds the available revenue at the current tax rate. 

 

21.  How long does the district have to repay the bonds?
The District can choose an amortization schedule for repayment. Typical payback periods range from 20 to 30 years. The district currently intends to use a 30-year amortization schedule for this proposed bond, although the final amortization will be determined at the time of issuance.

 

22.  Does the district currently owe for any previous schoolhouse bonds? What is the retirement schedule?
The total outstanding debt is approximately $25.9 million.  This translates to $0.08 of tax value. The debt is scheduled for retirement in the year 2043.

23. What does the District do with revenue from the Tom Green County School Land?

Brenham ISD utilizes the annual revenue from the Tom Green County school land to pay down existing debt as allowable under the Texas Constitution.

 

Sec. 6b. COUNTY PERMANENT SCHOOL FUND: REDUCTION AND DISTRIBUTION, Notwithstanding the provisions of Section 6, Article VII, Constitution of the State of Texas, any county, acting through the commissioners' court, may reduce the county permanent school fund of that county and may distribute the amount of the reduction to the independent and common school districts of the county on a per scholastic basis to be used solely for the purpose of reducing bonded indebtedness of those districts or for making permanent improvements. The commissioners' court shall, however, retain a sufficient amount of the corpus of the county permanent school fund to pay ad valorem taxes on school lands or royalty interests owned at the time of the distribution. Nothing in this Section affects financial aid to any school district by the state. 

(Added Nov. 7, 1972.)

 

24.  What is the current enrollment for the entire district? 

4,898 as of September 2022

25.  What growth in student enrollment is projected for the future?

During the summer of 2021, Brenham ISD contracted with Zonda Education to conduct a demographic study of the growth of Washington County and Brenham ISD. The study looked at current homes, the number of homes under construction, and the number of potential homes included in the subdivisions being developed. The findings of the study concluded that Brenham ISD will grow at a rate of about 1.5% annually over the next 10 years equating to about a 900 students increase by the 2030-31 school year.

26.  How will the passage of this bond issue impact overcrowding in district schools?
The new and renovated facilities will provide the necessary space to eliminate portable buildings at the affected sites across the district and accommodate the projected 10-year growth. Additionally, the new and renovated facilities will be designed to meet
current educational standards for space allotment under TEA rules.


Currently, our Early Childhood Learning Campus (ECLC) that houses our PreK students is at capacity. Each classroom in the main building is being utilized and 4 portable classrooms were added during the summer of 2022 to accommodate the current student numbers. The ECLC facility does not have restrooms in the classrooms, something that is very important and standard in PreK and Kindergarten facilities.  Additionally, each of our three elementaries are either full or at near capacity. Every classroom at Alton Elementary (AES) is being utilized. Every classroom at Krause Elementary (KES) is being used and one class meets on the stage. At Brenham Elementary (BES) we have two classrooms that are being used as offices, but all other classrooms are utilized. 

During the Bond Planning phase, the Bond Planning Committee (BPC) explored various options to be prepared for the growth that is coming. Solutions included adding another building next to our current ECLC facility to accommodate the current student numbers and growth that is expected. The cost estimate for this was roughly $40,000,000. The committee explored the ability to add to each of the current elementary campuses. AES is landlocked and does not have any room for expansion. BES and KES have the space to potentially add 2 additional classrooms respectfully. The BPC believed these were not viable long-term solutions that would accommodate for the projected 10-year growth. Another option explored and the one that was seen as the best viable option moving forward was to build a new junior high campus that included the 6th grade and turn the current Brenham Middle School (BMS) campus into a fourth elementary campus all of which would house PreK through 5th-grade students. This more than provides the space needed to house the student growth projected over the next 10 years. 

 

27. Explain Brenham ISD's free transfer student criteria and funding

Brenham ISD currently accepts students from other districts as transfer students. Students must meet the following criteria to be accepted into BISD schools. “In approving transfers, the Superintendent or designee shall consider the availability of space and instructional staff and the student's disciplinary history and attendance records.” Policy FDA(LOCAL). Because school funding is based on Average Daily Attendance, BISD does receive funding for any student who is in attendance regardless of if they are a transfer student or not. BISD denies student transfers if the grade level or program the transfer student would be coming into is full or close to full.

Sec. 48.051. BASIC ALLOTMENT. (a) For each student in average daily attendance, not including the time students spend each day in special education programs in an instructional arrangement other than mainstream or career and technology education programs, for which an additional allotment is made under Subchapter C, a district is entitled to an allotment equal to the lesser of $6,160 or the amount that results from the following formula:

A = $6,160 X TR/MCR

 

where:

"A" is the allotment to which a district is entitled;

"TR" is the district's tier one maintenance and operations tax rate, as provided by Section 45.0032; and

"MCR" is the district's maximum compressed tax rate, as determined under Section 48.2551.

 

Sec. 25.037. TRANSFER OF STATE FUNDS. On the timely filing with the agency of notice of a child's transfer and certification by the agency of the transfer, the state available school fund apportionment transfers with the child. For purposes of computing state allotments to school districts under the Foundation School Program, the attendance of the child before the date of transfer is counted by the transfer sending district and the attendance of the child after the date of transfer is counted by the transfer receiving district.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 260, Sec. 1, eff. May 30, 1995.

 

Sec. 25.038. TUITION FEE FOR TRANSFER STUDENTS. The receiving school district may charge a tuition fee to the extent that the district's actual expenditure per student in average daily attendance, as determined by its board of trustees, exceeds the sum the district benefits from state aid sources as provided by Section 25.037. However, unless a tuition fee is prescribed and set out in a transfer agreement before its execution by the parties, an increase in tuition charge may not be made for the year of that transfer that exceeds the tuition charge, if any, of the preceding school year.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 260, Sec. 1, eff. May 30, 1995.

28.  How long will the construction process affect schools where additions or major remodeling is being done?
Typical construction projects will take between 12 and 18 months to complete after the design phase. Phased construction can take more time.  Some projects can be done in stages and some over summer breaks.

 

29.   Why do new schools cost so much?
The same reasons that all construction “costs so much” including new and remodeled homes. Construction inflation typically outpaces general inflation and it certainly has been true for school construction. In addition, school construction must be of sufficient quality to know that our facilities will be able to last generations.  Numerous code-required features that protect the safety of the building also drive up the cost. Square footage cost represents both hard and soft costs such as geotechnical studies, furniture, fire suppression, technology...encompasses everything needed to conduct school. 

 

30.  What will be the maintenance cost over the long term? Can we hold the design firm to these specific numbers?
Engineers and architects can use very sophisticated programs for estimating energy operations costs. They have little value unless energy costs from suppliers can be closely estimated and owners adhere to the maintenance and operations guidelines specified in the calculations. Therefore, it is rather difficult to hold designers to any specific number. However, designers can be required to document their designs for green, sustainable, energy-efficient buildings, essentially assuring the lowest possible energy costs. Maintenance costs associated with equipment, custodial, and other considerations can similarly be controlled by choosing long-lasting and low-maintenance materials. Ultimately, the average cost per square foot for maintenance and operating costs on a new facility is typically lower than in older buildings.

31.  Will Maintenance and Operation costs be lower with warranties and new facilities?
Yes. The District expects substantial savings in maintenance and operations costs per square foot of facility with new and renovated facilities because of new efficiency codes. 

 

32.  What is the benefit of operating the propositions rather than combining them? 
Opportunity for the taxpayer to have a choice. 

 

33.  Will one contractor be hired to do all the work?
This is unknown at present, but it is not likely.

 

34.  Will one architect be hired for all the designs?

The board approved a pool of three architects firm based on statements of qualifications and interviews. Any of the three architectural firms can be selected for one or both of the bond projects. 

35.  Will local contractors be allowed to participate in the renovations or construction of new schools proposed in the bond?

Certainly. The School District will follow state law and local policy in seeking and accepting bids and proposals for professional services related to all areas of the bond projects. 

36.  What financial impact is realized by increasing attendance and having our students in school?
More students in attendance each day equates to more funding from the state. The cost to the District to place a teacher in a classroom with 22 students in attendance on any given day is the same as for only 18 students in attendance. The cost to provide utilities to that classroom is the same for 22 students as 18 students. Providing support staff for the school remains a fixed cost whether attendance is at 100% or 90%. The difference is in funding from the state. Attendance has a substantial financial impact on the District.

37. Explain the grade reconfiguration

As we looked at grade level reconfiguration, we wanted to ensure we were making this decision based on what was best for our students. Research indicated 70% of grade configurations in America consist of a 6th, 7th, and 8th-grade configuration (National Center for Education Statistics). This allows for 6th graders to participate in many of the elective courses that are already available to 7th and 8th graders. Additionally, repurposing our BMS campus into an elementary and reconfiguring each of our elementary campuses into PreK through 5th-grade campuses cuts the number of campus transitions from 5 to 3. Research suggests that significant achievement loss occurs during each transition year (Alspaugh 1999). When students in their primary grades transition from one campus to the next they have to familiarize themselves with staff, routines, and environment. Becoming comfortable in the new environment before they regain what is lost in the following year (Alspaugh 1999).

38. Who served on the bond planning committee?

The following community members served on the Bond Planning Committee in the May or November bond planning process. This is not a full list of community members who participated. As a reminder, The Brenham ISD Board of Trustees made the final determination on the amount and specifics of the bond proposal based on the results of the professional assessments and the Bond Planning Committee endorsement. The following members have given consent to share their names with their community:

Amanda Stolz

Anthony Jasinski

Archer Archer

Artist Edwards

Brooke Trahan

Calvin Kosse

Catherine Kenjura

Cayte Neil

Chad Marrs

Charles Keese

Cindy Markos

Clint Colby

Courtney Mason

Danny Youngs

Darron Smith

Emily Lawhorn

Heather Dallmeyer

James Franke

Jenny Schaer

Jim Kruse

Johnnie Ryan Cook

Kara Retting

Kenneth King

Kyle Merten

LaSondra Harris

Kaylee Rozvovsky

Michael Watts

Missy Robinson

Natalie Lange

Robin Cook

Shannan Canales

Shirley Harris Jackson

Stephanie Doland

Tanner Schmidt

Tee Dipple

Tommie Sullivan

Tim Cole

Wende Ragnois Anderson

39. Why can't Brenham ISD partner with Blinn to expand Career and Technical Education (CTE) offerings?

Brenham ISD already partners with Blinn. We shuttle students from Brenham High School & Pride Academy to the Hodde Center. Blinn CTE courses are at capacity at both the Hodde Center and Rellis campuses.

40. What is the current Career and Technical Education (CTE) enrollment at Brenham ISD?

2,929

With an eight-period school day, students are able to take multiple courses in their pathway. This number, 2,929, represents individual students in multiple Career and Technical Education (CTE) courses.

41. What are the current Career and Technical Education (CTE) course offerings?

Please visit the link below to view the CTE course offerings:

https://sites.google.com/brenhamk-12.net/22-23-course-description-guide/home/programs-of-study

Sources:

  1. National Center for Education Statistics - https://nces.ed.gov/surveys/ntps/tables/ntps1516_20180307001_s1n.asp

  2. Alspaugh, John W. (1999). The interaction effect of transition grade to high school with gender and grade level upon dropout rates. Montreal: American Educational Research Association. (ERIC Document No.ED431066)

  3.  https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/ED/htm/ED.25.htm 


 

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