Election 2017: These Amarillo ISD campuses would share $100 million in bond upgrades

Posted by Mike Smith on
Students change classes at Caprock High School.

This Nov. 7, the Amarillo Independent School District is asking voters to approve $100 million in bonds for a series of upgrades at 49 campuses.

The project list consists of mostly maintenance priorities that were whittled down from about $330 million in needs that were identified by a bond committee that began studying district campuses in late 2015, AISD trustee board President Jim Austin said.

The bond request involves adding space to accommodate for rising enrollment projections in growing areas of Amarillo; standardizing and updating about 900 restrooms and related water and sewer pipe replacements; installing energy-efficient windows to lower costs; adding bullet-resistant windows and doors at several campuses and reconfiguring student drop-off and pick-up areas at certain campuses to improve safety.

If approved, construction is expected to last three to four years, Austin said.

AISD commits money from year to year for maintenance and other projects. While the district has covered some improvements through the years with general fund revenue, the bundle of proposed bond projects satisfies a lot of growth and security needs at once, Austin added.

AISD voters generally have been supportive of district funding requests in recent decades. Since 1980, AISD voters have passed bond issues in 1980, 1987, 2003 and 2013. A $91 million bond election that failed in 1995 was repackaged as a $42.2 million request, which voters approved in 1996, district records show.

The League of Women Voters of Amarillo this week will host a question-and-answer election forum to discuss items on area ballots this November, including the AISD bond.


TAX RATE

The $100 million bond issue is projected to raise the portion of AISD's tax rate that pays down debt by 5 cents to 15.9 cents per $100 valuation.

That would make the district's total tax rate $1.239 per $100 valuation.

For a home valued at $120,000 with AISD's general homestead exemption of $25,000, the owner can expect taxes owed to the district to increase by $47.50 per year, or roughly $4 more per month.

In his 17 years on the school board, Austin said the district has carried surpluses from year-to-year. The district spends roughly $10 million per year to service its existing debt, and Austin said the district's annual budgets will support paying down the additional bonds, should voters approve them.


UPGRADES AND MAINTENANCE

The bond request has four categories:

Facility upgrades ($35.3 million): AISD states this amount will go to refreshing and updating bathrooms and locker room bathrooms, and renovating high school auditoriums. In all, this portion of the bond will cover work at 12 campuses including all four high schools.

Restoration and replacement ($27.9 million): This category includes new and upgraded sewer and plumbing lines, drainage and more energy-efficient windows at 25 campuses.

Classroom additions ($25.3 million): This is the only portion of the bond that involves new construction. New classrooms are planned at Caprock High School, Fannin Middle School, Palo Duro High School and Sleepy Hollow Elementary to accommodate growing enrollments.

Safety and security ($11.5 million): Though the smallest portion of the total bond request, work will be done at the most campuses – 34 in all. Planned enhancements include bullet-resistant glass doors and changes to areas where parents pick up and drop off students.

The board has heard proposals for some of these projects. For example, architects presented proposed changes for 60-year-old Fannin Middle School during the Sept. 18 regular meeting.

COST BREAKDOWN

2017 AISD bond project estimates  (Source: AISD)
CLASSROOM ADDITIONS 
Palo Duro High School$1,650,000
Caprock High School$5,500,000
Fannin Middle School$11,000,000
Sleepy Hollow Elementary$3,300,000
Professional fees and inflation$3,900,000
  
FACILITY UPDATES 
High school auditoriums$6,853,000
Bathrooms$16,637,500
Secondary locker room bathrooms$6,344,885
Professional fees and inflation$5,424,615
  
RESTORATION AND REPLACEMENT 
Sanitary sewers$9,764,700
Drainage$7,387,600
Windows$4,620,000
Portables$1,822,700
Professional fees and inflation$4,307,700
  
SAFETY AND SECURITY 
Bullet-resistant glass/doors$5,170,000
Student delivery & pick-up$4,565,000
Professional fees and inflation$1,752,300
  
TOTAL$100,000,000

 

2017 AISD proposed bond projects  (Source: AISD)
SCHOOL
Classroom additions
Facility updates
Restoration/ replacement
Safety & security
Allen
Amarillo HS
Austin
Avondale
Belmar
Bivins
Bonham
Bowie/Bowie 6th
Caprock HS
Carver
Carver ECA
Coronado
Crockett
Eastridge
Emerson
Fannin
Forest Hill
Glenwood
Hamlet
Houston
Humphrey's Highland
Lamar
Landergin
Lawndale
Lee
Mann
Mesa Verde
North Heights
Oak Dale
Olsen Park
Palo Duro HS
Paramount Terrace
Pleasant Valley
Puckett
Ridgecrest
Rogers
San Jacinto
Sanborn
Sleepy Hollow
South Georgia
South Lawn
Sunrise
Tascosa HS
Travis/Travis 6th
Western Plateau
Whittier
Wills
Windsor
Wolflin
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


ELECTION DAY

Early voting begins Oct. 23 and runs through Nov. 3. Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 7. Also on the ballot are seven proposed amendments to the Texas Constitution and, for Potter County residents, a two-cent sales tax increase for rural areas to fund the county fire department.

AISD school board members have approved election services agreements with Potter and Randall counties.

Sample ballots and Election Day information are available here:

Potter County
Randall County

Voters can double-check their registration status on the Texas Secretary of State's website.

 

 

Mike Smith is a digital content producer for Panhandle PBS. Contact him at mike.smith@actx.edu, on Twitter at @newsmithm and on Facebook.

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