This FAQ will be a fluid document until the bond election is over to allow us to answer any new questions that need to be addressed.
Just because land is owned, doesn’t make it the right piece of land. Factors to consider are where do we need a school, drainage, and access to water and sewer. With the most prolific growth being on the north side of our community, the Kennings site was determined to be less than optimal for a future school site in the near term.
No. While Sundance Cove has set aside acreage for potential construction of an elementary school, Crosby ISD has not committed to this piece of property. The Board is currently looking at several different tracts to determine the best site for construction of a new elementary school. A variety of factors are taken into consideration when deciding the best location including cost per acre, accessibility, and adequate access to utilities.
The Crosby ISD Board has included this piece of property to be considered as a potential new school site. While it has the advantage of already being owned, it sits at the very far north end of the district and has very limited access.
If the bond is approved by voters, the plan will include adding PreK and Kinder to each elementary campus so that each campus is a PreK through 5th grade campus. Crosby Kindergarten currently serves 650 students with a design capacity of 700. It is also more cost-effective for the district to transport students to neighborhood preK - 5th grade elementary campuses. In addition to the convenience of parents being able to have all of their elementary-aged children at one campus, research supports instructional and social-emotional benefits to fewer campus transitions. Until the State or Federal government provides funding for all children t attend PreK, it will be available only to children who qualify.
Not only has the board of trustees kept in place the measures that were put in place for the 2013 bond package, they have also added a Construction Project Manager who will be onsite daily and a third party CPA who will independently verify all bond accounting.
The implementation of the phases of the bond program is dependent on the size and speed of growth in the tax base, state funding and student count. Each phase will only be implemented if financially feasible and prudent. It is common for bond construction projects to be broken into phases. The Crosby ISD May 2013 bond was in 2 phases. If this bond passes, Crosby ISD will be able to quickly access roughly $78 million and complete the projects in Phase 1. If the tax base continues to grow, as expected, we will be able to access the remaining $31.5 million.
We fully anticipate that the $109.5 million will be enough to complete all projects in the 2017 bond package and I will work diligently to ensure that it does. Although, I don’t like to use the words ‘never’ or ‘always’ I see no scenario in which I would recommend using Maintenance and Operations monies to complete any parts of the 2017 Bond. Our focus will be bringing all projects in at or under $109.5 million. It is with almost complete certainty that I can answer “No,” but I take my word very seriously and I know that if for some reason I believed using M&O money were in the best interest of our students, staff, schools, and community, I would recommend doing so. Again, at this time I see no scenario that would lend me to recommend using the M&O budget to complete any 2017 Bond projects.
To maximize use of the current CKC campus as an Educational Support Center, we would like to operate an early childhood center that would serve as a childcare program available to district employees. This childcare program would also allow us to expand our Career and Technical Education program by having students help operate the childcare program and potentially earn certifications that would help them become employable in the childcare/education field.
Employees choosing to take advantage of this childcare program will be charged monthly tuition fees
Can you explain the 6th grade Campus? Why not make it a full 6-8th grade campus to start? (11/6/17 )
The 6th grade campus in the bond package will be built to accommodate 1,500 students in the core areas (cafeteria, library, etc), but the classrooms will be built for 650 students to start with. The reason for not building the entire campus as a full 6th-8th grade campus from the beginning is because we have not reached the point in student enrollment that would allow us to fill 2 middle schools. If projections are correct, we will eventually reach that point and will need to expand the 6th grade campus. However, operating two 6th-8th grade campuses that are only half full would not be cost-effective. A future bond will likely be warranted to expand the middle school from a 6th grade campus to a 6th, 7th, and 8th grade campus. At that point, we will have 2 complete middle schools. A $109.5 million budget would not allow us to build a full 6th, 7th, and 8th grade middle school campus. We will address the need for a full second middle school as the student population continues to grow.
The entire Houston area experienced a significant rise in construction costs during the time period that we were building the 2013 Bond Projects. In order to complete ALL parts of the 2013 Bond I recommended, and the board unanimously approved, spending more than the $86.5 Million from the 2013 Bond. This was a difficult choice, but I made the recommendation then, and am proud to stand behind it today. Had we chosen differently, major components of the 2013 Bond Package would have been left incomplete. The items that were on the chopping block included the CHS auditorium, Ag Shop, Ag Barn, Tennis Courts, reduction in Band Hall, reduction in searing capacity at Cougar Stadium, Dance Studio reduction and elimination of an academic wing. Again, I recommended completing all projects in their entirety and the Board unanimously approved these projects. All 2013 Bond projects have come in under the Board approved budget amounts. Yes, these approved budget amounts were more than the $86.5M bond, but this was a deliberate and conscious decision. The additional funds to fully complete these projects came from our Maintenance and Operations Budget. This was done mindfully and legitimately with board approval. I made the recommendation a few years ago to complete all projects and I stand behind that recommendation today. If this 2017 Bond package passes, it will allow us to reimburse the “Operating Fund” for the capital outlay expenses that it absorbed to complete the 2013 Bond plus a few bus purchases.
Since the tax base is larger now, would the tax rate not drop with or w/o the bond? (added 10/30/17)
This question requires a lengthy answer. The school district budget has two separate parts Maintenance & Operations (M&O aka the Operating Fund) and Interest and Sinking (I&S-Bond Fund). The overall tax rate for Crosby ISD is currently $1.67. That comes from $1.17 going to fund the Operating Fund and $.50 going to fund the Bond Fund. I will answer this question in how it relates to each of these two sides of the budget.
M&O (Operating Fund) The M&O $1.17 is not being proposed to be changed as a result of this bond. Pass or fail, the M&O (Operating) tax rate will remain $1.17. Since our tax base has grown tremendously most would assume that the district is flush with cash to operate the district on a yearly basis. However, this is not the case. While the $1.17 Operating Tax Rate does generate more money for the district when the tax base grows, the State of Texas reduces their economic contribution to our schools equivalent to the amount that this increased tax base generates. So, on the operating side of the budget the actual benefactor of Increased Local Property Values is the State of Texas, not Crosby ISD. In fact, according to www.taxparencytexas.org “growth in local property values (across the State) is projected to result in a decrease in the state cost of about $4.25 BILLION for the 2016-17 biennium.” Let’s be clear. This is a savings for the state, created by your local property value increases. Property values increases that ultimately assist the State of Texas in balancing their budget, not assisting schools meet the needs of their students.
I&S (Bond Fund) The I&S $.50 is being proposed to drop to $.48. If we made the assumption that we would not build any new buildings to accommodate a growing student population nor replace aging facilities I could recommend that we lower the tax rate without the passage of this or any bond. However, recent years' growth numbers combined with third party projections do not indicate that I can make the assumption that we will not need to accommodate a rapidly growing student population.
However, I can recommend the lowering of the I&S tax rate because we are ahead of schedule with the last bond model and with this bond we have a known package to deal with growth if the voters approve this 2017 Package. If the voters do not approve this package, I do not feel that I can recommend the lowering of the I&S tax rate because we do not know future costs of construction, bond rates, or facility needs.
I apologize for the length answer, but wanted to give your question a thorough answer.
There will be a fence around the pool and a wind screen. The pool will be near the tennis courts at CHS and will be a short walk from the dressing rooms to the pool. During cold days the swimmers will have parkas to wear until they get in the water. The outdoor pool will be a heated pool to ensure comfortable swimming while swimmers are in the water competing.
Over the past few years we have been closely monitoring our increase in student enrollment. The growth has been visible across the community with new businesses and housing developments, particularly in the last 2 years. With that in mind, Crosby ISD hired a 3rd party demographer, Population & Survey Analysts or PASA, to conduct a demographic study to examine the current state of the Barrett Station and Crosby community relative to growth trends, current and future housing developments, and various economic factors relevant to the area including employment trends, land development, new Municipal Utility Districts, and transportation projects (Grand Parkway, widening of FM 2100). The Demographic Study, completed in May 2017, was presented to the Board of Trustees on July 24, 2017. The study projected that growth would continue to increase in the Barrett Station and Crosby area. Taking into consideration the amount of time necessary for the construction of new facilities to be completed and the projected growth, it became clear that waiting to call the bond was not advisable. A favorable bond market also made it an ideal time to call for a bond election. As a result of the projected student growth and other needs across the district, the Crosby ISD Board of Trustees voted to call a Bond Election in the amount of $109,500,000.
• New 825 student capacity elementary school to open Fall 2020
• New 650 student capacity 6th grade campus to open Fall 2020 (planned for future expansion to a 1,500-student 6th, 7th, and 8th grade middle school)
• Land purchases for new elementary school and new middle school
• Extension of north CMS entrance road to CES to alleviate CES and CMS traffic
• District-wide maintenance projects
• Technology equipment for new elementary and middle school campuses
• Outdoor competition pool at CHS
• JROTC training obstacle course at Crosby High School
• 2 additional academic wings at CHS to increase student capacity by 700 to 2,500
• Elementary maintenance projects including preparations to add EE-Kinder to existing elementary campuses
• Convert CKC and PreK into Crosby Educational Support Center (CTE, Employee Childcare Center, Administration, Professional Development, Adult Ed, Crosby ISD Historical Museum)
• Convert Administration Building to the District Alternative Education Placement (DAEP) Center
• Cougar Stadium Dressing Facility and middle school field house to replace the "Red Barn"
• Maintenance and Operating Budget Reimbursement
• Addition of parking area at the old baseball stadium location that will tie into new CES-FM 2100 road
• Additional 425 parking spaces at CHS
TOTAL = $109,500,000
Passage of bond proposition would result in a tax drop of 2¢.
Overall tax rate would decrease from $1.67 to $1.65.
There are 4 major variables that determine how a district can access money through bonds:
• tax rate
• student enrollment
• increased tax base in the Crosby/Barrett Station community
• bond interest rates
The combination of increased student enrollment, increased tax base, and low bond interest rates provide us with the opportunity to generate $109,500,000 while dropping the overall tax rate by 2¢ to $1.65. Also, some older bonds will soon be paid off, allowing space to absorb this 2017 proposal.
There are 2 tax rates that make up the overall tax rate that Crosby ISD property owners pay.
The Maintenance and Operations, or M&O Tax Rate ($1.17) is used to pay for daily operational expenses that include salaries, employee benefits, supplies, transportation, fuel, insurance, maintenance, and utilities.
The Interest and Sinking, or I&S Tax Rate (currently $0.50/proposed $0.48) is used to make semi-annual payments. Due to increased enrollment, current bond rates, and a growth in tax base, this I&S rate can be dropped by 2¢ with the passage of this bond proposition.
Currently, Crosby’s M&O Tax Rate is $0.50. The I&S Rate is $1.17. The overall tax rate when you combine M&O and I&S is $1.67.
This bond proposes to decrease the tax rate to $1.65.
This bond election would allow for the reimbursement of recent capital outlay expenses such as construction costs and buses that were paid for from the regular yearly operating (Maintenance and Operating) budget. By moving these expenses to the bond (Interest & Sinking) budget, we are able to strengthen the yearly operating (Maintenance & Operating) budget and absorb these costs in to our stronger Interest and Sinking fund.
Regardless of passage or failure, most over 65 will experience zero tax impact. Even though passage of this bond would result in 2¢ reduction in tax rate, most are already frozen at a tax ceiling lower than the tax ceiling that would result from the 2¢ reduction in tax rate.
Sites are yet to be determined. However, the demographic study indicates aggressive growth in the north side of the community. Additional campuses will likely be centered around this projected growth. Funds are included in this bond package to purchase land for a new elementary and 6th grade (future 6th, 7th, and 8th grade) campus.
The cost of constructing an outdoor pool is approximately $1.2 million versus the estimated $12 - $20 million it would cost to build an indoor natatorium. Because the pool can be heated, athletes can practice regardless of outdoor temperatures. This will prevent the swim team from having to travel to neighboring communities to practice.
This will be dependent on growth. If projections prove to be accurate, the answer to this question is “No.” Out of approximately 1,100 public school districts in Texas, Crosby ISD has been designated as 1 of the 75 Fast-Growth School Districts. Projections from our May 2017 Demographic Report indicate that this fast-growth pattern will continue, requiring additional facilities in the future.
The last bond package was passed by voters in 2013 and totaled $86.5 million. That Bond Program included construction of the new CHS, conversion of old CHS into new CMS, converting the former Crosby Middle School into Crosby Elementary School, various district-wide maintenance and renovation projects (such as - new a/c and playground equipment at elementary campuses), construction of the Newport Elementary School drive, construction of the Baseball and Softball complex, new tennis courts, the Livestock Facility, renovations to Cougar Stadium that included parking, a new press box, and new home seating with restrooms and concessions. All bond projects were completed in May of 2017.
If the bond passes, Crosby ISD will employ the services of a Construction Project Management team (as was the case for the 2013 Bond projects) and those services will include a daily, onsite (resident) project representative and 3rd party CPA services to ensure proper oversight of bond construction projects.
No. If the bond does not pass, the overall tax rate will remain $1.67. We cannot justify a decrease in tax rate without a voter-approved plan to address growth and capacity needs in Crosby ISD.
Yes. Dr. Moore met with a Citizens’ Advisory Committee representative of the district to discuss the demographic study and the needs of the district. The Citizens’ Advisory Committee was comprised of about 25 citizens. In addition to input from the Citizens’ Advisory Committee, a Hearing of Citizens opportunity was also included on the agenda at the special-called board meeting calling for the bond election that took place on August 17th and at subsequent regular board meetings.