Residents of the Lindsay Independent School District could be paying about a third more in school taxes if voters approve a proposed $19.9 million bond this May.
On Monday, Feb. 4, members of the Lindsay ISD Board of Trustees unanimously agreed to call for a bond election during a specially called meeting inside the library of Lindsay High School.
Superintendent Trevor Rogers previously told the Register that the bond proposal is to build a new seventh through 12th grade junior high/high school, a new cafetorium to include a competition-level stage for the district’s fine arts program, adding on to the district’s current agriculture barn to make it a competition-level facility, renovating the current seventh through 12th grade campus to move the elementary school into and renovating a portion of the current third to sixth grade building into administration offices.
The district’s current tax rate is $1.04 per $100 of assessed property valuation. The district does not currently have any bond debt. If the bond is approved, the district’s tax rate is expected to increase by 30 cents to a rate of $1.34 per $100 valuation, officials said.
According to information provided by Doug Smithson, chief appraiser with the Cooke County Appraisal District, the average homestead value of a home in Lindsay ISD is $208, 896.
If the nearly $20 million bond is approved, it would increase taxes on a home valued at that price by about $550, after accounting for the homestead exemption.
Lindsay ISD resident Pamela Grewing said she is not happy about the tax increase and encouraged school board members to not order a bond election during the public comment portion of Monday’s meeting. Grewing was the only one who spoke.
“I’ve been to a few meetings and I’ve listened to the proposals and I feel that the $20 million bond that we have on the table addresses mostly wants but not needs of the district,” Grewing said.
Grewing said she has lived in Lindsay for 13 years and has two boys enrolled in the district. She said her two girls will follow “in a few years.”
“I would appreciate it if you guys would consider a bond that isn’t quite as expensive because this is a big tax burden on the families of our community, and $500 to $1,000 a year over 25 years for many families is a big commitment,” Grewing said.
Bonds may be issued in various issues or series and mature serially or otherwise not to exceed 40 years from their date of issuance, according to the approved bond order.
During a specially called meeting school officials described as a town hall on Thursday, Jan. 24, additional details about the bond proposal were discussed, including enhancing school safety and building a storm shelter accessible to the community.
More than 100 people attended the town hall in the district’s only cafeteria, Rogers estimates.
During the town hall, a presentation showed some of the advantages and disadvantages of the proposed bond.
Advantages include providing room for growth, direct and efficient connections between school buildings and the cafeteria and not being dependent upon financial participation from St. Peter’s Catholic Church.
The district pays about $35,000 a year to lease facilities from the parish, and will continue to do so even if the bond passes, according to Rogers.
Only two disadvantages were listed. The proposal requires more new paving for vehicular circulation and parking and will have elementary school students travel farther to get to the existing gymnasium building.
Rogers stressed that should the bond pass, it will not change the relationship the district has with St. Peter’s Church.
“Our goal is in no way, shape or form to change that relationship,” Rogers said. “As a matter of fact, our goal is really to enhance that.”
School board members even issued a commitment to the church if the district goes through a facility change process.
The commitment, signed by all seven board members and the superintendent, says the district will continue to accommodate classes offered by St. Peter’s, work with the church to provide a structure, if need be, to make sure that students get from religion classes to school safely and maintain its current lease relationship with the parish.
The last time the district held a bond election was in 2012. According to a previous report by the Register, Lindsay ISD voters rejected the proposed $7.9 million bond for campus renovations with 465 voters opposed and 147 voters in support.