|Ballot proposition||The issuance of $16,485,000 of bonds (with a maxim maturity of three years) by the Northwest Independent School District for instructional technology and levying the tax in payment thereof. This is a property tax increase.
|If I vote FOR||Northwest ISD can issue $16.5 million in bonds to fund technology devices.|
|If I vote AGAINST||Northwest ISD cannot issue $16.5 million in bonds.|
|Tax consequences||Under current state law, this proposition is required to include the statement “this is a property tax increase.” However, Northwest ISD maintains that the current property tax rate will not change for all residents.
For residents age 65 or over, the property tax rate will not change, due to state law.
See the explanation below for details.
|What is a bond?||A bond is essentially an IOU. Instead of going to a bank to get a loan, like an individual might do, governments can issue bonds to raise money for specific projects. An investor buys a bond on the understanding that they will be paid back, in full and with interest, on a set date (limited by law to 40 years). In most cases, governments must seek voter approval to issue a bond.|
|What projects would be funded by the bond?||Proposition D would fund the following (total, $16,485,000):
Technology devices for students and teachers (for example, NISD currently issues laptops to teachers and Chromebooks to students, grades 6-12
Note that any bonds issued for technology devices will not exceed three years.
|Understanding public school tax rates||There are two figures involved in public school tax rates: the Maintenance and Operations budget (M&O) and the Interest and Sinking (I&S) budget.
The M&O budget funds daily costs and recurring expenses, such as teacher and staff salaries, supplies, food, gas, and utilities. The I&S budget, also known as debt service, and is used to repay debt on district bonds for long-term capital projects, such as building construction and renovation, equipment, and transportation. By law, I&S funds cannot be used to pay for M&S expenses.
|Why does the measure state “this is a property tax increase”?||Under current state law (known as HB 3 in the 2019 legislative session), the district is required to include “this is a property tax increase” in the measure.
Currently, the Northwest ISD tax rate is $1.42 ($0.97 M&O + $0.45 I&S). Based on the district’s current taxable values and projected growth, it is expected that the I&S rate will remain at $0.45. However, if economic conditions in the district became adverse, the district would be legally required to increase the rate in order to repay the bonds. It is also possible that the M&O rate could decrease, depending on the impact of HB 3
|Public school tax rates and those age 65 and over||Property taxes for Northwest ISD residents age 65 or over will not be impacted by the bond election.
According to state law, persons 65 and older can apply to receive a homestead exemption through their local property tax appraisal district. For those aged 65 or older with residence homestead exemptions, the dollar amount of school taxes cannot be increased above the amount paid in the first year after the person turned 65, regardless of changes in tax rate or property value, unless significant improvements are made to the home. To apply or to check the current status of your homestead exemption, contact your local property tax appraisal district.
|Resources||Northwest ISD, “Bond Information,” https://www.nisdtxbond.org
Northwest ISD, “Propositions,” https://www.nisdtxbond.org/ballot-propositions-new
Northwest ISD, “Tax Information,” https://www.nisdtxbond.org/tax-info
Texas Education Agency, “School District Property Values and Tax Rates,” https://tea.texas.gov/finance-and-grants/state-funding/additional-finance-resources/school-district-property-values-and-tax-rates
|Recent news articles||“Northwest ISD approves November elections for 2020 bond, board of trustees, tax rate,” Community Impact (Aug 13, 2020) https://communityimpact.com/dallas-fort-worth/keller-roanoke-northeast-fort-worth/education/2020/08/13/northwest-isd-approves-november-elections-for-2020-bond-board-of-trustees-tax-rate/