By Kelly Nicol
LOVELADY – During the regularly scheduled Board of Trustees meeting of Lovelady Independent School District held on Aug. 12, board members unanimously voted to call for a bond election to be held Nov. 5.
To present the facts of the bond election, a meeting for the general public was held in the Lovelady Old Gym on Aug. 26.
“I’ve had the privilege of serving as the superintendent of Lovelady ISD for the past two years and I am a proud graduate of Lovelady High School,” Superintendent Wendy Tullos said as she addressed the crowd. “My husband and I have lived in the district for the past 22 years. We’ve raised both of our boys here and our youngest is a senior this year. Prior to coming to Lovelady, I spent 20 years in education as a teacher and an administrator.”
Before details were presented, Tullos explained to those gathered how the bond election came about.
“The decision to move forward with calling this bond election has not been without a tremendous amount of thought and time spent making sure this is the right thing for our district, and it has certainly been without exhausting all other options. Over the past two years,” Tullos stated, “I’ve had ample time to get familiar with the budget and see the problematic needs of our district.”
Tullos assured the crowd that if all questions were not answered in her presentation, she would be happy to schedule a time to meet individually and make herself available to answer any question the voters of the district may have.
“It is very important to me as well as the Board of Trustees that you know exactly what the intent of this bond is for and how it will impact our taxes so you can make an informed decision on behalf of our district,” she said.
The following facts were presented by Tullos to inform the crowd on the Lovelady ISD bond proposal and made available in written form to those in attendance:
How are Schools funded?
Taxes are collected by the citizens in the Lovelady ISD school district (local revenue)
Student Enrollment – Funds provided by the State (State Revenue)
What is an M&O tax rate?
(M&O stands for Maintenance and Operations)
– These funds are intended to maintain and operate the school facilities. Examples are salaries, utilities, supplies, transportation, and other daily cost.
– Lovelady currently pays an M&O tax rate of $1.04
– For the past 12 years the LISD has been $1.04 or less
– Previously in 2005-06 the rate peaked at $1.41.
– This rate for the 2019-2020 School year is decreasing to .97 cents per new legislation.
What is I&S Tax Rate?
– I&S stands for Interest and Sinking or otherwise known as a debt tax rate
– The purpose of a debt tax rate is to pay off school bonds used to build new facilities and/or renovate old facilities.
– (This is basically like a mortgage.)
– Legally I&S funds can be used only to reduce the debt service payment.
How does the bond election work and where is Lovelady ISD in the process?
– The school board must first vote to call for a bond election. (This occurred on Aug. 12, 2019)
– On Nov. 5, voters will vote to accept or reject these improvements.
– This is the decision of the voters of this district.
– The LISD Board of Trustees unanimously voted to call for the election.
Did Lovelady ISD have anything to do with the recent value increases?
-The State study found Houston County to be undervalued, resulting in an increase in values.
Will Lovelady ISD receive more funds due to the value increases?
– True…The school district will receive more local revenue, from the increase in values.
– However, this means state funds will decrease causing our district to remain revenue neutral.
This is how school district funding formulas work.
Prior LISD Bond Election Facts
– The high school was built in 1972 on the passing of a bond election- The high school building is 47 years old.
– The last bond election at Lovelady ISD was passed to build the elementary campus on May 12, 1984 – 35 years ago (382 FOR and 126 AGAINST). These bonds were paid off early in 1992.
– The taxpayers of Lovelady have not paid an I&S rate is the past 27 years.
– “Lovelady ISD takes very good care of our facilities and we protect our investments,” the news release said.
– It’s been 35 years since the passing of a bond for LISD facilities.
– As facilities get older they cost more to maintain.
– Facilities do not last forever.
– Lovelady ISD has grown over the past 47 years when the high school was built.
– On average graduating classes increased by 10-15 students during this time
– Construction costs are increasing by 10% per year.
What would bond proceeds be used for and what areas would be addressed with these funds?
– Provide additional classroom space at the elementary school with interior renovations to improve the safety/security and accessibility of the facility. The high school campus and outside program facilities will receive renovations to improve the safety/security and accessibility of the facility as well as create more functional space. Improvements for the district will include the construction of a new multi-use auditorium/gymnasium for district wide use.
– Provide additional classroom space at both the high school and elementary campuses.
– Provide additional restrooms to accommodate facility capacity for students and staff.
– Renovations to existing student restrooms including making all restrooms ADA compliant and wheelchair accessible.
– Expansion of the nurse’s office to accommodate number of students served.
– Provide full day access to a gym facility for the elementary campus
– Install central heating in the high school campus.
-Re-roof the elementary gym
-Provide adequate dressing room facilities to meet the capacity needs of our athletic programs.
– Address aging plumbing.
– Renovate the band hall.
– Create functional office space within the high school facility to accommodate the number of staff and students the campus now serves.
– Provide adequate seating and parking for school events and programs.
– Renovate and expand the cafeteria space to accommodate the number of students now served at the JH/HS campus.
How much would the bond election be for and what would it do to my taxes?
The bond election would be for $7.5 million.
– Based on current values, the board would adopt an I&S rate of no more than .16 cents.
-T his increase would not occur until the 2020-2021 school year.
If I am over 65, will my taxes go up if this bond passes?
– Not on your homestead
– All Lovelady ISD taxpayers over 65 years of age are frozen on their homestead rates.
– This tax would apply to properties outside of the homestead.
Early Voting & Election
Early voting will be held from Oct. 21-Nov. 1 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Lovelady Community Center. Election day is Nov. 5.