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1. What is the FACTS Committee?

   A group of community members that come together to study the facility needs of the school district and recommend a package to the Weatherford ISD Board of Trustees to put before voters in a bond election.

 

2. What is a bond?

A bond is similar to a home mortgage. It is a contract to repay borrowed money with an interest rate over time. Bonds are sold by a school district to competing lenders to raise funds to pay for the costs of construction, renovations and equipment.

 

3. How can bond funds be used?

Bond funds can be used to pay for new buildings, additions and renovations to existing facilities, land acquisition, technology infrastructure and equipment for new or existing buildings and large-ticket items such as school buses. Bonds cannot be used for salaries or operating costs such as utility bills, supplies, building maintenance, fuel and insurance.

 

4. What is a bond election?

School districts are required by state law to ask voters for permission to sell bonds to investors in order to raise the capital dollars required to renovate existing buildings or build a new school. Essentially, it’s permission to take out a loan to build and renovate and pay that loan back over an extended period of time, much like a family takes out a mortgage loan for their home.  A school board calls a bond election so voters can decide whether or not they want to pay for proposed facility projects.

 

5. Why is Weatherford ISD considering a bond election?

   The district does not receive any money from the state for school building improvements, meaning those funds need to come through bonds. Today, public schools rely on the support of local taxpayers to fund the construction and  improvement of school facilities. Bonds are approved by voters in a bond election then sold to investors in the competitive market. A bond election would allow the district to finance improvements needed to schools while continuing to offer the student programs it does today.

 

6. Why are we forming a FACTS Committee?

   The district is forming a FACTS Committee because it allows the district to hear from and incorporate many different perspectives from people in the community. FACTS participants reflect larger community values, needs, and desires.

 

7. What types of projects are being considered in a bond election?

   Projects that are being considered by the FACTS Committee include providing new instructional space for current capacity issues as well as future growth, addressing aging campuses and infrastructure, increasing safety and security and providing technology for students and teachers.

 

8. How will the technology costs be funded?

 The money borrowed for technology purchases will be paid off in the first five years, not throughout the entire life of the bond.

 

9. Has WISD been experiencing growth?

   Yes, projections show that WISD can expect about 100 new students each year until 2023. Six out of seven of the district's elementary schools are nearing their functional capacities, which means additional classroom and support space will be needed to house future students.

 

10. How is the District's tax rate configured?

A school district’s tax rate is comprised of two components: the Maintenance & Operations tax (M&O) and the Interest & Sinking tax (I&S). The M&O rate is used to operate the school district, including salaries, utilities, furniture, supplies, food, gas, etc. The I&S rate is used to pay off school construction bonds. Bond sales only affect the I&S rate.

 

11. What if I am over 65 years old? Will my taxes go up from a possible bond election?

 If you have applied for and received the Age 65 Freeze on your homestead, by law, your school taxes cannot be raised above their  frozen level, unless new improvements are made, such as additions or renovations that increase the value of the home.

 

12. What if I am over 65 years old and receive the "Senior Citizen Exemption" and my home value goes up, will my taxes increase from a possible bond election?

The appraised value can change and the tax rate will change, but the amount of school taxes on your homestead cannot increase. Normal repairs, maintenance and the economic impact of the market cannot increase the amount of taxes you will pay once a tax ceiling is in place on that homestead. Therefore, if this bond election is successful, it will not have an impact on the tax bill for homesteads that are receiving the senior citizen exemption, unless you make significant improvements to your home.