What is a bond election?
A bond election is similar to a popular election in that voters have an opportunity to express their view on a particular issue. Unlike a regular election, in which a voter expresses his or her support for a candidate, a bond election requires a person to vote in favor or against the district selling school bonds. If the bond election is approved by voters, the district sells the bonds and uses the bond proceeds to pay for special projects or expenses. A small tax increase repays the bonds over several years. The law restricts how a district can spend bond revenues. Bond revenues can only be used for capital equipment or improvements such as new construction, renovation projects, furniture, library books, computers and network technology, school buses or other vehicles, and similar items. Bond proceeds cannot be used for recurring costs such as teacher salaries and benefits, utilities, or insurance.
Why is the district having a bond election?
Just as a person’s home or vehicle requires maintenance or a tune-up, the district’s facilities and equipment need to be renovated, updated, or replaced. Similarly, computers and other equipment wear out over time or become outdated and must be replaced. The difference is that, while it might cost a few thousand dollars to replace a home roof, it costs more than $1 million to replace a school roof. And no public school district can afford to fund such expensive projects through its regular annual budget.
State funding for public education has decreased steadily over the last 20 years, giving districts few options for funding school improvement projects. Bond elections can provide a significant amount of funds for those projects with a minimal impact on taxpayers.
If the bond election passes, how will the bond proceeds be spent?
The district has conducted an extensive study to determine its needs over the next five years. These needs have been divided into four major categories:
- Instruction: $50.4 million
- Safety/Security: $3 million
- Support Services: $32 million
- Facilities: $70.6 million
- TOTAL: $156 million
For a more detailed listing of how bond funds would be spent, you can download a bond election brochure from the district’s website at www.dpisd.org or call 832-668-7030 for a printed copy of the brochure.
How were the bond projects selected?
The administration asked campus principals and department supervisors to compile lists of facilities and equipment needs, which were sorted in order of importance. This information was shared with the District's Bond Election Advisory Committee, which includes more than 20 community and parent representatives. The committee met twice, and its members asked questions about the bond proposal and made suggestions.
The District contracted with an outside consultant to evaluate the largest projects being considered: Carpenter Elementary, Deepwater Junior High, and Deer Park Junior High. The contractor recommended that Carpenter be considered for replacement and that Deepwater and Deer Park Junior High be considered for extensive renovations to extend the life of the buildings.
How will the bond election affect my child’s school?
If it is approved, the bond election would fund upgrades and projects at every school in the district. Although the largest projects involve construction or renovation of selected facilities, most of the projects included in the bond election affect all schools in the district. For instance, Instructional bond funds would pay for library books, new computers, and science lab equipment for all campuses. Similarly, Support Services bond funds would pay for maintenance projects at all schools. Bond funds in the area of Safety & Security would also be used across the District.
If the bond election passes, how long will the money last?
This year’s bond election will pay for capital projects over the next five to seven years.
If the bond election passes, where will students go during the reconstruction and renovation projects?
When possible, major projects will be timed so that they will have as little impact on students as possible. For instance, the new Carpenter Elementary would be built behind the current school, which would not be demolished until the new building is completed.
When is the bond election, and where do I vote?
The election takes place Tuesday, Nov. 7, from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Registered voters in the district should vote at the appropriate polling place listed below.
PCT Location Address City Zip Combo 0013 Saint James House 5800 West Baker Road Baytown 77520-1694 0012, 0013 0051 J P Dabbs Elementary School 302 Lambuth Lane Deer Park 77536-6399 0051 0063 San Jacinto Community Center 604 Highland Woods Drive Highlands 77562-4546 0063 0084 E M Maxwell Adult Center 1201 Center Street Deer Park 77536-3241 0084, 0346, 0950 0170 McMasters Elementary School 1011 Bennett Drive Pasadena 77503-2205 0170 0174 University Baptist Church 16106 Middlebrook Drive Houston 77059-6034 0174 0279 L I N C Pasadena Mission Center 4116 West Pasadena Boulevard Pasadena 77503-3598 0279 0301 Red Bluff Elementary School 416 Bearle Street Pasadena 77506-3098 0301, 0527 0302 Deepwater Junior High School 501 Glenmore Drive Pasadena 77503-1830 0302, 0535 0346 E M Maxwell Adult Center 1201 Center Street Deer Park 77536-3241 0084, 0346, 0950 0352 San Jacinto College Central Library 8060 Spencer Highway Pasadena 77505-5999 0352 0420 Deer Park Community Center 610 East San Augustine Street Deer Park 77536-0700 0420 0470 Carpenter Elementary School 5002 Pasadena Boulevard Deer Park 77536-5799 0470 0527 Red Bluff Elementary School 416 Bearle Street Pasadena 77506-3098 0301, 0527 0534 Parkgate Community Church 3715 Preston Avenue Pasadena 77505-2012 0534 0535 Deepwater Junior High School 501 Glenmore Drive Pasadena 77503-1830 0302, 0535 0662 Fairmont Elementary School 4315 Heathfield Drive Pasadena 77505-4242 0662 0665 Heritage Elementary School 4301 East Boulevard Deer Park 77536-5646 0665 0673 Jimmy Burke Activity Building 500 West 13th Street Deer Park 77536-3172 0673 0695 Kingsdale Recreation Center 2218 Kingsdale Street Deer Park 77536-5828 0695 0696 Golden Acres Elementary School 5232 Sycamore Avenue Pasadena 77503-3950 0696 0704 Best Western Deer Park Inn 1401 Center Street Deer Park 77536-3503 0704 0718 North Pointe Elementary School 3200 Almond Creek Drive Houston 77059-2812 0718 0740 Church on the Rock 7123 Decker Drive Baytown 77520-1127 0740 0950 E M Maxwell Adult Center 1201 Center Street Deer Park 77536-3241 0084, 0346, 0950
When does early voting take place?
Early voting takes place on weekdays from Oct. 23-Nov. 3 at Harris County early voting locations. The only county-approved early voting location in Deer Park ISD is located at the Kyle Chapman Annex, 7330 Spencer Highway, Pasadena TX 77505. Early voting times are:
- Oct. 23-27: 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
- Oct. 28: 7 a.m.-7 p.m.
- Oct. 29: 1 p.m.-6 p.m.
- Oct. 30-Nov. 3: 7 a.m.-7 p.m.
What items do I need to vote?
Voters who possess an acceptable form of photo identification for voting are required to present it in order to vote in person in all Texas elections. Voters who do not possess an acceptable form of photo identification and cannot obtain one of the forms of acceptable photo identification due to a reasonable impediment may present a supporting form of identification and execute a Reasonable Impediment Declaration, noting the voter’s reasonable impediment to obtaining an acceptable form of photo identification and stating that the voter is the same person on the presented supporting form of identification. A list of the acceptable forms of photo ID and supporting forms of ID is available at www.tax.co.harris.tx.us/Voter/VoterID.
I’m not registered to vote in Harris County. How do I register?
If you would like to register to vote, please call 713-368-VOTE (8683) or go to www.tax.co.harris.tx.us/Voter/Registration on the Internet. On the website, you can download a registration card in English or Spanish and find other information. Voter registration applications are also available at any Harris County Tax Office location. Your registration application must be submitted 30 days before the election date for you to be eligible to vote in that election.
When was the last bond election, and how much was it?
The last Deer Park ISD bond election was held in 2010. It was for $158 million. Information about the 2010 Bond Election is available at www.dpisd.org/domain/4.
Was the money spent according to the district’s plans at the time?
Yes. All of the projects that were announced as part of the 2010 Bond Election were completed. In fact, some of the projects were completed ahead of schedule and under budget, enabling the district to complete additional projects.
BY THE NUMBERS
How will the bond election affect my taxes if it passes?
Because of careful planning and strong financial management, the bond election will have a minimal impact on homeowners. The average homeowner in DPISD who has filed the appropriate Homestead Exemption with the county can expect a maximum monthly tax increase of only $4.48. The owner of a home valued at $250,000 with a Homestead Exemption could expect a monthly increase of $7.29.
I’m over 65 years old. Will the bond election affect my taxes?
If you are over 65 years old and have filed the appropriate paperwork with the Harris County Appraisal District, the amount of taxes you pay is capped. Thus, if the bond election is approved, it will not increase taxes for people who have filed a 65 and over exemption.
Does the district have to share bond tax revenues with other districts and the state through the Robin Hood finance plan?
Absolutely not. There are two parts to our district tax rate: the part that pays for the everyday operation of the school district (the maintenance and operations rate) and the part that pays back district bonds (the interest and sinking rate). While the Robin Hood plan requires districts like Deer Park to share M&O taxes, 100 percent of every dollar of bond revenue stays in DPISD.
What is the District's current financial state?
The District’s finances are in excellent shape. The District received a Superior Rating, the state’s highest financial accountability rating, under the Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas.
How long will it take to repay for bonds?
The bonds will be paid over 25 years. However, not all bonds will have a life of 25 years. Some bonds will be repaid in one to five years, some will be repaid in five to 10 years, some will be repaid in 10-15 years, and others will be repaid in 15-25 years. This ensures that the District is not using a 25-year bond to pay off an item that has a five to seven-year life.
What is the bond interest rate?
The bond interest rate will vary depending on when the bonds are sold. It is rare for a school district to sell all its bonds at once. Typically, bonds are sold in smaller groups three or four times during a five-year period. Interest rates can range from .5 to 3.95 percent. Based on today’s market and the AAA/Aaa Permanent School Fund Guarantee on school bonds, we could expect to sell bonds at an overall rate of 3.75 percent. However, the bond market is dynamic and subject to changes, so it’s impossible to predict the exact rate until bonds are sold.
How much will the tax rate increase? Will it be the same increase during the entire time it takes to repay the bonds?
The maximum rate increase is $.05, but that amount won’t be in effect the entire time it takes to complete the bond projects and repay the bonds. The rate will be phased-in over the first few years to a maximum increase of five cents.
What will happen if the bond election does not pass?
Students will continue to receive the best education the district can provide. However, the district will not be able to pay for most of the projects planned as part of the bond. Large renovations to existing facilities, purchases for items such as classroom computers, band uniforms, and library books, and other bond election projects would be canceled.
I don’t have any school-aged children. Why should I vote in the bond election?
Our society depends on a well-educated populace, so when educators are provided with outstanding resources for students, our community benefits as well. Also, a school district’s good reputation can have a strong impact on local property values. Maintaining a successful school district helps keep property values stable.
Please send additional questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, and they will be added to the bond FAQ.
This information is intended to provide factual information about Deer Park Independent School District's 2017 school bond election. It does not advocate passage or defeat of the measure and is provided only for informational purposes. Para recibir una copia de esta información en español, llame al 832.668.7000.