Frequently Asked Questions: General How did CCISD determine which projects would be proposed for a bond?
The Clear Creek Independent School District believes education is a joint partnership with parents and the community. In September 2012, the Board of Trustees called for a special purpose committee of educators, parents, and community members to prioritize the district’s capital needs for the next three to five years. The committee started with a list of $600 million worth of needs assessments. The citizens committee utilized community input, facility assessment documents, tours and questionnaires to develop the final list of priority projects. The committee’s recommendation is to rebuild/improve school facilities that are 40 years or older; address student safety and enrollment growth; increase technology for 21st century learning; and construct or expand facilities to support growth in extra-curricular and co-curricular programs.
I noticed some projects from my child’s school were not included in this proposal. Why were these not included?
The Committee focused on the needs of the district for the next three to five years and deferred projects to future bonds or recommended to the District to utilize capital or maintenance funds.
Why is CCISD proposing to spend money on buildings and technology when money should be put towards teacher salaries and increasing the number of teachers?
Recruiting and retaining highly qualified teachers still remains a priority for the District. The proposal before the community is one of many ways to improve the environment for teachers and students. The Board of Trustees has directed the administration to implement a long-range compensation plan, and approved a cost-of-living pay raise for staff for the 2013-2014 school year.
It is critical that the public understands how school funding works and the limitations imposed upon public school districts by the state.
There are two buckets of revenue sources to run the Clear Creek Independent School District. The first is revenue generated by the Maintenance & Operations (M&O) tax rate. The M&O tax rate is currently $1.04 per $100 valuation. The general fund is developed from the monies collected from the M&O tax rate, state, federal, and grant funding. The general fund is what the District uses to pay for the day-to-day operations of the District such as salaries, instructional supplies, utilities, insurance, and fuel. The Texas Legislature regulates the amount of funding CCISD and other school districts can retain from local property taxes for maintenance and operations of public schools. This is the very fund the legislature reduced by $17.5 million in 2011. Clear Creek ISD and hundreds of other Texas school districts sued the state to recover those funds. On February 4, 2013, Judge John Dietz ruled in favor of public school districts.
The second source of revenue is from the Interest and Sinking (I&S) tax rate. The I&S tax rate for the District is $.32 per $100 valuation. This is the mortgage side of the District’s finance structure. This fund can only be used for capital improvements such as facilities, technology and buses. The revenue generated from the I&S tax rate stays within local control. Unlike the M&O revenue, monies generated from the I&S property tax rate is not subject to be used for statewide expenditures.
The bond proposal would increase the revenue generated from the I&S tax rate to address facility and student growth needs. It would also provide relief on the day-to-day operational costs of the District. For example, if McWhirter Elementary is demolished and rebuilt as a smaller and more energy efficient campus, the District would save nearly $100,000 in utilities on an annual basis.
What will happen to my property taxes if the bond is approved?
The current and total tax rate for the Clear Creek Independent School District is $1.36 per $100 valuation. In 2005, the total tax rate for the Clear Creek Independent School District was $1.77 per $100 valuation.
Based on the proposal presented by the CCISD Citizens Facility Advisory Committee, a $367 million bond would increase the Interest & Sinking (I&S) tax rate from $.32 to $.4325, bringing the total tax rate to $1.4725 per $100 valuation. Based on a median home in CCISD ($177,400), a homeowner would see an initial $5.12 increase per month in property taxes. The tax rate would not immediately increase to the full $.1125. Homeowners would see an incremental increase with the maximum annual payment increase of $172.72 for a median home.
Would this bond proposal have any impact on taxes paid by homeowners age 65 and older?
No. The property taxes of those 65 and older with a homestead exemption would not be affected. Taxes of those receiving 65 and older homestead exemption are frozen at their present rate for as long as they maintain their homestead.
What will happen if the proposal is not supported by voters?
The District would not have money to cover the cost of the projects identified. The cost of maintaining aging facilities and equipment such as heating and air conditioning units would increase each year. The District would not implement its long-range technology plan.
If the proposal does not pass, where would CCISD find the money to finance increased building maintenance costs?
Without bond money, the District would need to redirect educational funds used for instructional programs and services to fund increased building maintenance costs.
How did CCISD manage the funds from the 2007 bond?
The projects associated with the 2007 bond election have been completed, with the exception of the conversion of Clear Lake 9th Grade Center. In May 2007, voters authorized $183 million in bonds to build new schools, convert two ninth grade centers, build math and science additions to comply with state law, conduct $7 million in roof and heating and air conditioning repairs, and purchase buses for enrollment growth. The 2007 bond did not address all major maintenance needs across the district or technology. More than $3 million is still set-aside from the 2007 bond to convert the Clear Lake High School 9th Grade Center to an intermediate school.
Overall, the District has refinanced debt over the last 10 years which has saved taxpayers $35.8 million in interest over the life of the bonds. The District holds a Standard & Poor credit rating of AA.
Frequently Asked Questions: Clear Lake HS Rebuild
When would the rebuild begin of Clear Lake High School?
Design, engineering and architectural work on the proposed rebuilds would begin soon after receiving voter approval. This is a process that typically spans 12-18 months and is based on community input. If approved by voters, actual construction of these schools will likely begin in May 2014. Clear Lake High School construction is anticipated to be completed by May 2017.
What can students, staff, and parents expect during the rebuild of Clear Lake High School?
Students will continue to attend school together. Students will not be bused to other schools during construction. Clear Lake High School teachers and staff will be moved to the 9th Grade Center and portable buildings for instruction. This is similar to what was done during the rebuild of Clear Creek High School.
- New portable buildings, equipped with high-speed wireless and technology, will be placed adjacent to the Clear Lake 9th Grade Center during construction.
- The main office and core facility (ie: cafeteria, library) will be housed at the 9th Grade Center.
- Noise from construction should not impede instruction.
- Ramps and walkways will be created to ensure ease of transition between classes.
Frequently Asked Questions: Technology
How does CCISD plan to use the $45 million included in this bond proposal for technology?
Technology projects identified in the bond proposal include:
- The wireless network will be expanded to provide internet access in every classroom where it does not exist today.
- Outdated computer and network equipment throughout CCISD will be upgraded or replaced.
- Instructional devices, such as projectors, interactive whiteboards, and document cameras will be installed in classrooms across the district. This will provide equal access to technology in every CCISD classroom.
- Students in grades 4 through 12 will be provided a Dell Latitude 10 tablet to access textbooks and lessons electronically as well as utilize the tablets to create projects and collaborate with peers around the world. Tablet computers will also be provided to teachers. Tablet computers may also be available as classroom centers or as lessons permit for Kindergarten through 3rd grade.
Why would the District ask for a bond approval to purchase technology when the lifespan of such devices would end before the bond is paid off?
Technology is historically purchased through a bond, and it is paid off within the life-cycle of the technology item. The last time the District sought and received voter authorization for technology was in 2004 for $39.5 million. Based on student enrollment in 2004, the technology amount per student was $1,207.72.
The citizens committee is recommending $45 million to support the Clear Creek Independent School District’s long range technology plan. Based on student enrollment in 2013, the technology amount per student is $1,136.36 which is less than the 2004 Bond. The long range technology plan calls for the implementation of a wireless infrastructure to support 21st century teaching and learning. Today, the technology tools to deliver curriculum are not available in all classrooms. The plan would move the District toward what is known as “1:1”, one computer per student. Currently, the District operates under a model of more than three students per computer. Under this bond proposal, the District would purchase tablet computers for grades 4 through 12 and deploy those devices over three years. In grades K-3 tablets may be used as classroom centers or shared among classes. The tablets would be implemented in stages to ensure appropriate training for both students and teachers. The District has a financial sustainability plan within the general fund to replace the tablet computers over time
Where can I learn more information about the District’s technology plan?
To read the long-range technology plan, CLICK HERE. The plan addresses the implementation of technology tools in the classroom. It will answer your questions regarding student use, teacher professional development, and give the public a clear direction of where Clear Creek ISD is headed in the area of preparing students for the 21st century.
Frequently Asked Questions: Stadium
Why is the committee recommending a second District stadium?
In 2004, taxpayers of the Clear Creek Independent School District approved the purchase of a 100 acre piece of property on West NASA Parkway to serve as the future location for a District stadium. Based on the following facts, the Citizens Facility Advisory Committee is recommending a second stadium at that location:
- The current District stadium was built in the 1950s to serve Clear Creek High School. Today, the District stadium serves five comprehensive 5A high schools and 10 intermediate schools.
- The current stadium supports 21,000 high school students for a variety of extracurricular events such as football, band, soccer, cheer, and graduations. It also serves as a physical education classroom for Clear Creek High School during the day.
- With five comprehensive high schools, home games are played on many Thursday evenings.
- The population of the 13 municipalities which CCISD serves has increased over 40 percent since 1997. According to U.S. Census data, League City’s population has increased from 45,000 in 2000 to more than 84,000 in 2010.
- The stadium is located near the ‘five corners’ of League City, a location that has been noted as the third-worst intersection in the Houston-Galveston area. Traffic for stadium events only compounds issues in an already heavily traveled area.
- Limitation of seating and parking prevents the District from hosting large revenue generating events such as UIL marching band competitions, regional playoffs, and large track and field activities.
- Evening events at both Clear Creek Intermediate and Clear Creek High School are impacted when there are stadium events due to increased traffic and lack of parking. Stadium event parking consumes the available parking at Clear Creek High School, Clear Creek Intermediate, CCISD Education Support Center, and neighboring businesses and apartment complexes.
- If a second stadium is approved by voters, Veterans Memorial Stadium will continue to be used every day. Traffic and scheduling conflicts will be reduced. Home football games will not be played on Thursday evenings.
What is the cost breakdown for the proposed stadium?
The actual steel stadium structure with bleachers to seat 9,500, ticket booths, locker rooms, storage, and the press box is $22.8 million. This is the nuts and bolts of a football stadium. An electronic scoreboard would be funded through sponsorships.
- The Citizens Facility Advisory Committee supported items to allow for this facility to be more than a football stadium. An eight lane track and field facility will support the track and field program. The track will also provide an adequate distance from the field to the fence for bands, cheer and dance teams. A safe and UIL recommended distance does not exist between the field and the bleachers at Veterans Memorial Stadium. The cost of an eight lane track and field facility is $1.2 million.
- A 9,000 square foot indoor area is included. The $1.8 million area will be used to stage students for high school graduations, robotics competitions, student art exhibitions, science fair, and other student-related events.
- Almost $9.1 million is required for parking, lighting, and drainage. This is in accordance with current building codes. The total project also includes $4.9 million in estimated inflation of seven percent for 2013 and 2014
Frequently Asked Questions: Election Information
When is the election?
Election Day is Saturday, May 11, 2013. Early voting begins April 29, 2013 and ends May 7, 2013. The last day to register to vote in this election is April 11, 2013.
I have more questions about the 2013 CCISD bond proposal. Where can I get more information?
You can find more information about the 2013 CCISD bond proposal at www.ccisd.net. Specific questions may be emailed to email@example.com.