In a unanimous vote June 20, the Lake Travis school board approved an order calling a $253 million bond election for November 7, 2017.
Last month, a citizens’ advisory committee presented its proposal to the board, calling for district-wide capital improvements to accommodate the district’s continued increase in student enrollment. According to demographer Population and Survey Analysts (PASA), student enrollment at Lake Travis ISD has increased by approximately 76% since 2007. Considering a moderate growth rate scenario, projections indicate a continued increase of more than 60% during the next 10 years, resulting in a district-wide enrollment of nearly 16,000 students.
The major components of the district’s 2017 bond program include the following:
- Middle School #3
- Middle School #3 Offsite Utilities and Road Construction
- Elementary School #7
- District and Campus Improvements
- District Transportation (including installation of seat belts)
- Land & Development for Future Facilities
- Closing Costs, Administrative Costs & Contingency
With the recent passage of Senate Bill 693, school districts are required to install seat belts on any school buses purchased after September 2017. As a result, the district has allocated $1.3 million to the November bond package to cover the cost of equipping its existing fleet of buses and any new bus purchases with seat belts.
“We are obligated to meet the requirements of this new law,” said Dr. Brad Lancaster, Lake Travis ISD Superintendent of Schools. “We are lucky enough to have the advantage of an upcoming bond election to address this issue.”
In 2011, the district’s most-recent bond election, voters approved a $158.5 million referendum for the construction of two new schools as well as the expansion of two existing campuses, among other district-wide upgrades and improvements. As a result, the district’s tax rate increased by $0.0916 to a total tax rate of $1.4075 per $100 of assessed property valuation.
“The exciting news is, the entire 2017 package can be done without increasing our total tax rate,” continued Dr. Lancaster. “That is a rare occurrence in school bond elections and a highly significant position for the district and our taxpayers. The zero impact to our current tax rate comes as a result of our district paying down our current debt early. In fact, over the past six years, LTISD has saved its taxpayers more than $38.7 million in interest through aggressive debt management, resulting in increased capacity for future bond programs.”
Additional information on the bond program, including an itemized list of projects, will be available on the Lake Travis ISD website beginning June 26. Community presentations regarding the 2017 bond program will begin in the fall.