The Mansfield school board voted Monday to ask voters for $275 million to build new schools and improve existing ones.
The bond package will be on the May 6 ballot, which also includes candidates for a pair of trustee seats. Trustees voted 6-0 to call for the bond election, with trustee Michelle Newsom absent.
If voters approve the bond package, the tax rate would go from $1.51 per $100 of assessed value to $1.54 per $100 of assessed value. This would add $52.56 per year to the property taxes on a $200,000 home.
Karen Wiesman, associate superintendent of business and finance, says the tax rate was figured at a very conservative rate on 30-year bonds.
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“Due to the previous refunding savings of $63 million and the fact the Mansfield ISD has no Capital Appreciation Bonds (CABS), the district is fortunate to be in a position to support the 2017 Bond Program,” Wiesman said. “A potential 3-cent tax increase would be approximately $4.38 a month for a $200,000 home. If growth exceeds 6 percent or the interest rate is less than the projected 4.1-4.6 percent, the actual tax rate could be less.”
More than half of the bond package -- $143 million -- would go for three new schools, an elementary, intermediate and middle school to be built in the southeast part of the district.
“Schools for growth are very high priority,” said Jeff Brogden, associate superintendent for facilities and bond programs. “We are at capacity at Mary Lillard Intermediate and Danny Jones Middle School, as well as a couple of elementary schools.”
The new schools would be larger than the current designs, holding 900 elementary students instead of 800, and 1,200 intermediate and middle school students, up from the current design that holds 1,000, he said.
“That gives us flexibility to have a school within a school,” Brogden said. “Or to have a STEM academy or a STEM academy within a school or a fine arts academy.”
If voters approve the bond, construction on the schools could start next year, he said.
“It will take six to eight months to complete the design,” Brogden said “Construction could start on the intermediate and middle schools by 2018. The middle school takes 24 months to build, intermediate takes 18 months. We could start in January 2018. We would start design of the elementary in fall of 2018 or spring of 2019. The goal is to open it in the fall of 2020.”
More than $64 million of the bond package is for repairs and renovations, lighting, security, technology, and replacing roofs, playground equipment and heating and air conditioning.
“Some of the equipment is at end of its life cycle, like air conditioning and roofing,” Brogden said. “One of the other projects is playground equipment, which is a very high priority. We’re changing from wood chips to a synthetic surface. It’s expensive to maintain and the ongoing expense of wood chips is the No. 1 reason to go from wood chips.
“Anything that is a maintenance item that has outlived its life,” he said. “Lots of concrete, landscape and irrigation improvement, interior painting, flooring, restroom renovation, maintenance and repair items at every single school, electrical upgrades, technology upgrades and kitchen equipment.”
The repairs would be spread over five years, Brogden said, with principals and administration prioritizing repairs and improvements.
Items included in the bond package:
- Renovate the Summit High School library and commons area, enclose the connection to the Performing Arts Center and new entry for $9,113,654.
- Enclose Howard Middle School courtyard for additional classrooms and remove portables, renovate exterior entry, and enclose Worley Middle School courtyard, update library, special education and art classrooms for $8,070,808.
- Renovate Willie Pigg Auditorium lobby and restrooms, replace seats and replace stage lift for $794,630.
- Renovate Mansfield and Summit high school tennis courts for $635,704.
- Renovate Mansfield High cafeteria and kitchen $3,919,431.
- Add two-story 40,000-square-foot locker room, weight room and training room at each high school, plus covered batting cages and bullpens for $36,100,000.
- Convert classrooms at each elementary into science labs for $5,080,668.
- Renovate Cross Timbers Intermediate School exterior entry and replace furniture for $2,288,533.
- Renovate Phoenix Academy exterior canopy between buildings for $413,207.
- Renovate Donna Shepard Intermediate office and reception area for $996,466.