Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is a bond election?
School districts are required by state law to ask voters for permission to sell bonds to investors 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, renovate, and repay that loan over an extended period, 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.
2. How is CMISD determining that there is a need for more schools?
CMISD utilizes Zonda Education to conduct a comprehensive demographic study each year to show student enrollment projections for the next 10 years. Fast growth districts across the state rely on Zonda Education for growth projections. Our district has utilized this service for 5 years and they have been very accurate in their yearly projections.
3. How fast is CMISD growing?
Over the next ten years, moderate projections show CMISD’s student enrollment to reach over 6,000 students. Aggressive models show CMISD enrolling over 9000 students. Right now, the total student enrollment is 2,630.
4. Why don’t we just go out for a smaller bond for one school?
With our projected growth, the district needs to be able to act quickly. Construction of a school takes at least two years after a bond is passed. We need the ability to sell bonds and build facilities as quickly as possible to stay on top of the growth as much as possible.
5. Will we immediately sell all bonds and go into debt for the total amount?
No. School bonds are sold based on property values and growth. A preliminary evaluation each April and a certified evaluation every July determines how many bonds CMISD would sell. If growth slows and/or property values decrease, CMISD would sell fewer bonds. If growth speeds up and/or property values increase, then CMISD will sell more bonds.
6. Will everything included in this bond be built at once?
No. An elementary school at Trailstone would be built as soon as possible, and others would be built or added as soon as growth warranted. From projections, an intermediate school would need to open as soon as possible, along with additions to the middle and high schools.
7. Will CMISD sell the full bond allowance if growth slows?
No. If growth slows or facilities needed can be constructed for less than the full amount, then CMISD will not sell the full amount. The bond election is just voting on whether or not to authorize the school district to have a line of credit for the amount approved. The community authorizes the bond amount, and the board of trustees decides the appropriate time to sell the bonds.
8. What if the district does not go out for a bond or if the bond fails?
The district would have to purchase or lease more portable buildings based on the current enrollment increase and projected enrollment numbers. We currently have four portable classrooms at Griffis and four at CMIS. Portables are costly and are only a temporary solution. Setup alone on portables, including electricity, fiber, fire alarms, ADA compliance, etc., can reach upwards of $100,000. A two-classroom portable costs $150,000. CMISD’s cost per square foot would be approximately $167 per square foot for something that is not a long-term solution. The average new construction cost is around $350 per square foot. Money to purchase portables comes from the M&O side of the budget and takes away resources from students and teachers.
9. Where are we going to build these schools?
CMISD has a land site at Trailstone. CMISD currently owns property on FM 6 and 66 that could be utilized for school sites. We are working with developers to acquire school sites as large developments are being built.
10. Why would we do this now? Our economy is in bad shape, and inflation is out of control.
Families are still moving to Caddo Mills. The school district has to do its best to continue providing the exceptional education we always have. Our campuses will reach capacity soon, and we are working to plan for our future. With current supply chain issues, after a bond is passed, it will take approximately two years to have a new school. Overcrowded schools make teaching and learning much harder.
11. Interest rates are up; will this affect the payment for the bonds?
Yes. Interest rates have gone up. CMISD has always worked to refinance bonds as soon as possible to get the best interest rate. This will be no different from families refinancing their homes for a better interest rate as soon as possible.
12. Why do we need an addition to our brand-new high school in just a few years? Is it full?
CMHS currently has 685 students enrolled. During the 2020 bond informational sessions, it was explained that the high school would be built with a student classroom capacity of 1000 and that an addition would be needed at some point. Core facilities were built for 1500 students. The high school was designed to add classroom space for 500 more students when needed. Current projections show us needing more space for the 26-27 school year.
13. What is being done about student pickup and drop-off? Why hasn’t CMISD done anything about the roads?
While CMISD has no control over the road construction, we are in communication with TxDOT and others to work to find a solution. We are also constantly working to find alternative solutions to alleviate some traffic.
14. How many transfer students does the district have? Why do we allow them at all?
We currently have around 230 transfer students, with most of our transfer students being employees’ children. One of the larger perks that CMISD can offer our employees is to allow their children to come to school here.
15. Why do we need athletic facilities now?
Our new high school does not have a baseball and softball complex or a stadium. We have a turf field and track complex initially constructed for practices but could eventually be added to become a stadium. If you have been to a football game over the past few years, you know what parking, seating, and concessions are like. The addition of a first-class facility for football, soccer, band, drill, cheer, baseball, and softball would provide excellent opportunities for all programs and communities. We would also add Culinary Arts and a Broadcast Program to this facility, along with a center for hosting community events, if Proposition B passes.
**Questions About Tax Impact**
CMISD works within the confines of the State of Texas School Finance System, and we understand that school taxes are the most impactful tax to families across the state.
16. How is the district’s tax rate configured?
A school district’s tax rate is made up of two components: the Maintenance & Operations Tax (M&O) and the Interest & Sinking Tax (I&S). The M&O rate is used to generate money to operate the school district, including salaries, utilities, furniture, supplies, food, gas, etc. The I&S rate can only generate funds to pay off district debt.
17. With all of these homes coming in, why doesn’t the school have money to build schools?
The school finance system is a balancing act. We are funded on the number of students we have in average daily attendance. The increase in local property tax revenues in our district means we will receive less money from the state. The state does not help build schools! Districts have no choice in going out for bonds for construction.
18. What is the expected tax rate increase if voters approve the bonds?
There will be no tax rate increase if the voters approve the bonds. Likewise, there will be no tax rate reduction if the voters do not approve the bonds. The debt service tax rate will remain at $0.50/per $100 of taxable value.
Would our tax rate go down if new bonds were not approved?
Eventually, yes. But, not anytime soon. We need .50 of I&S Taxes to pay for our current debt. As our values grow, we generate more money to pay debt.
19. I thought the 2020 Bond Election was not going to raise taxes, but it did.
The bond for the high school was a tax rate increase. It was clearly stated in town hall meetings, social media posts and on fliers that it was a tax rate increase. The district advertised that the tax rate would be 1.47 after the bond, but it is currently at 1.44.
20. Why are tax rates so much higher now than they used to be?
Tax rates are lower for the most part, property values are much higher. The following is a history of CMISD Tax Rates over the past 20 years.
21. The district’s tax rate is lower than it was 10 years ago, why do our tax bills keep going up?
The appraisal district determines the value of your home. The State of Texas has rules for appraisal districts to use to value properties. As our local share of money goes up, the state’s contribution goes down. What happens if the school portion of my property tax bill goes up by more than 10% and the district has had the same tax rate? As a homeowner, you are only responsible for a 10% increase. So, if your property tax bill increases from $5000 one year to $7500 the next, you are only responsible for $5500.
22. How will this bond election affect homeowners who are over 65?
School district taxes on resident homesteads are frozen when the taxpayer turns 65 years of age and will not increase due to a school bond election.
23. If there is no tax rate increase, why do all bond ballots read “THIS IS A PROPERTY TAX INCREASE”?
This requirement was a part of new laws coming from Austin after the legislative session in 2019. The Texas legislature wanted the ballot language to be clear that voted bonds were the method we use to finance school construction. Paying for these voted bonds requires tax revenues. No tax rate increase will be associated with this bond but will continue the existing tax rate. The new law requires every district in Texas to include this language on the ballot, regardless. We all understand how property values have risen across the state. But, CMISD only sets the I&S Tax Rate. We have no control over property valuations. The state tells CMISD what our M&O Rate has to be.