School board calls for $399 million bond election
School board calls for $399 million bond election
Posted on 02/13/2017
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2017 Northwest ISD Bond

On Feb. 13, the Northwest ISD Board of Trustees approved the district Long-Range Planning Committee’s recommendation, calling for a $399 million capital bond referendum. The committee is composed of 39 community and staff members from across the district.

For the past four months, the group has been studying the district’s growth and prioritizing facility needs. Election Day for the Northwest ISD bond election is May 6, with early voting lasting from April 24 to May 2. Complete details about the 2017 Bond Election can be found at www.nisdtxbond.org.

“It takes a lot of work to get a bond package like this put together,” said Mark Schluter, board president. “There has been a great deal of effort from many folks. We have been through the bond election process before, and this is one of the best bond packages I’ve seen.”

If the bond is passed, the majority of the bond funds will be used to address the district’s continuing student population growth, which is projected to increase by an additional 6,200 students during the next five years. Northwest ISD currently operates 28 campuses, spanning three counties (Denton, Tarrant and Wise) and 14 municipalities across 234 square miles.

2017 Northwest ISD bond at a glance
The $399 million bond referendum would address the following areas broken down by percentages of the total package below:

  • Student Population Growth: 66%
  • Advancing Student Programs: 13%
  • Technology Infrastructure and Devices: 9%
  • Aging Conditions of Existing Facilities: 8%
  • Safety and Security of Students and Staff: 4%

Major new or improved facility highlights include:

  • Three new elementary schools
  • A replacement school for Haslet Elementary
  • Renovation of the existing Haslet Elementary to serve as a district instructional facility
  • Expansions of Byron Nelson and Eaton high schools to 3,200 students
  • Expansions of Medlin and Tidwell middle schools to 1,200 students
  • Expansions for three existing elementary schools to 850 students
    • The district will closely monitor housing developments to determine which campuses would increase from 650 to 850 capacity.
  • A district aquatic center to serve all campuses
  • A classroom addition to Beck Elementary to allow growth for current enrollment
  • Outdoor fieldhouses for Byron Nelson and Northwest high schools

“I could not be more proud of this committee for their tremendous support, dedication, and commitment to Northwest ISD,” said Superintendent of Schools Ryder Warren, Ed.D. “This committee has examined each area of the district’s 234 square miles, prioritizing needs of our current students and staff and planning for the essentials of our future students and staff. This is a recommendation that I believe reflects the demographic information available in a district that is expected to see an additional 12,600 students in the next ten years.”

A look at the tax rates
The estimated maximum tax impact of the 2017 bond is 3.75 cents for a total tax rate of $1.49. For a home valued at $250,000 (the average home value for residents in NISD), this represents an increase of approximately $7.03 per month. Northwest ISD property taxes for citizens age 65 or older would not be affected by the bond election as long as a homestead and over 65-exemption application have been filed with the local appraisal district.

During the bond elections in 2001, 2005 and 2008, the district upheld its commitment to voters and was able to provide seats for thousands of new students without a tax increase, maintaining the I&S (Interest and Sinking) portion of the tax rate at 33.5 cents or less for the past decade. However, the downturn in the economy in the past several years has significantly reduced the growth of the taxable value; therefore an increase of 7.75 cents was included in the 2012 bond election which brought the I&S portion of the tax rate to $0.4125 and the M&O (Maintenance and Options) remained $1.04.

Long-range planning helps district prepare for tens of thousands of students
Currently, Northwest ISD serves over 22,000 students with only 23 percent of available land being used for housing purposes. When all residential land is developed and occupied in Northwest ISD, demographers expect the school district to serve approximately 95,000 students.

“This is precisely why NISD places a strong importance on preparing for future growth,” Dr. Warren said.

In 2016, NISD stakeholders completed nearly 1,300 new homes, and the district ranks fifth in the region for new home construction.

“Demographers tell our school district we are growing roughly an elementary school a year,” Dr. Warren explained. “That is about 1,000 new students each school year. The Long-Range Planning Committee’s recommendation will focus on meeting these growth challenges and preparing for the future. Like this recommendation from the committee, Northwest ISD’s successful bond elections in the past also dedicated most of the resources to effectively managing growth in student enrollment.”

Voter registration
Northwest ISD encourages all residents to become registered voters and to stay informed about school district and community issues. The voter registration application can be found online or is often available at many schools, post offices, libraries, and Texas Department of Public Safety offices.

Voter registration must be processed at least 30 days prior to an election. The last day to register to vote in the May election is April 6.

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE BOND
For more information about the 2017 Bond, a closer look at the specific recommendations, tax information and more, visit www.nisdtxbond.org. If you are interested in setting up a presentation from the school district to learn more about the proposed bond, call 817-215-0171.