Q: How much is the Nov. 4 bond referendum?
A: $132 million.
Q: If the bond passes, how would grades be realigned?
A: The district’s current grade alignment is: Elementary (PK/K-5), Middle (6-8), High (9-12). The proposed realignment would create intermediate campuses to serve students in grades 5-6. The new alignment would become: Elementary (PK/K-4), Intermediate (5-6), Middle (7-8) and High (9-12). The proposal involves creating intermediate (5-6) campuses at Rayburn and Long. Davila and Stephen F. Austin (SFA) would remain middle schools (7-8) and make use of athletic facilities on those campuses.
Q: Does the bond (if approved) affect the tax rate of property owners age 65-and-over?
A: Homeowners aged 65-and-older are protected from tax rate increases on their homesteads by a ceiling on rates. Therefore, these homeowners will not see an increase in school tax rates on their homestead property with passage of the bond.
Q: If the proposed bond is approved Nov. 4, what is the best estimate for construction time and a schedule for major projects?
A: Bid opening for construction projects would likely begin in mid-2015 as design work progresses. The time table for construction will depend in large part on the availability of land, materials and an adequate construction work force. Typically, the completion of an elementary rebuild takes about two years, while a new middle school takes approximately two-and-a-half years.
Q: How will the $132 million be used?
A: The funds will be used to: rebuild Ross Elementary; rebuild SFA Middle School on the existing school’s property; repurpose Milam Elementary to serve as the new MC Harris campus; provide additions at Mitchell Elementary, Henderson Elementary, Crockett Elementary, Kemp-Carver Elementary, Jones Elementary, Davila Middle School, Rayburn Middle School, Long Middle School and Rudder High School. In addition, other improvements and high-priority projects (disability access, restrooms, some cafeteria improvements, etc.) are slated for the other schools in the district. NOTE: Neal Elementary is the only facility not included in the bond; the school was completely renovated with $3 million in district funds during the summer of 2014.
Q: Will local contractors be invited to participate in the proposed renovations or construction projects?
A: Yes. 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.
Q: Are older buildings and facilities more expensive to operate than new buildings? How does operating old buildings impact the use of the operating budget or teacher pay?
A: Typically, older facilities do cost more in terms of utility bills and repairs. Some Bryan ISD buildings were retrofitted, for example, to accommodate air conditioning in the 1970s. At the time, energy was not the driving factor in construction or retrofitting. Electricity and natural gas costs comprised a lower percentage of the budget back then. Older construction techniques and materials, such as windows, now create drafts and reduce energy efficiency. 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 older fixtures. Funds that are expended in areas of utilities and repairs are funds that are not available for classroom instruction and teacher salaries.
Q: Can all of the construction projects be accomplished within the $132 million budget?
A: Even though the construction industry is experiencing very high rates of inflation, consultants have indicated that the projects can be completed within budgeted ranges. The proposed projects will be designed with economy in mind, but will still be of a style and quality worthy of community pride.
Q: Older buildings were built stronger than current construction. They are still good enough, aren’t they?
A: Structurally, many of our schools are still strong. However, the buildings that were constructed many decades ago were not designed with energy efficiency or technology in mind, nor do they meet modern educational standards for classroom size, technology, etc., in some cases. Electrical service is frequently inadequate for technology. Utility bills run higher with classrooms that were originally designed for natural ventilation without HVAC. There are no plans to cease use of buildings. The proposal includes the re-use of existing space, with the exception of certain district-owned properties that will be sold in order to consolidate administrative offices.
Q: What is the tax rate impact of the bond?
A: The district’s financial advisors estimate the tax impact on the owner of a home with the value of:
• $100,000 = 17 cents/day ($5/month, $60/year).
• $300,000 = 49 cents/day ($15/month, $180/year).
Q: What are the dates for voting?
A: Early Voting is Oct. 20 – Oct. 31. Election day is Nov. 4.