Birdville district considers another bond program

HALTOM CITY -- Tonight, Birdville trustees plan to discuss results from a telephone survey conducted over spring break to gauge whether residents would be open to voting on school bonds for the third time in five years.

Officials in the 22,700-student school district are gathering information on whether to call a facility bond election to renovate or replace aging schools, said Dolores Webb, school board president.

Architects HKS, hired by the district last year to evaluate Birdville's facilities, has identified $160 million in projects for high-priority consideration and $41 million in other projects.

Pollster and political consultant Marc DelSignore, president of Austin-based Perception Insight, was hired to conduct the survey. A short presentation on the survey is planned at a school board workshop tonight.

Also tonight, the board is scheduled to hear a report on the district's debt capacity and how different bond amounts would affect the tax rate.

At the end of 2009, the district had $255 million in outstanding bond principal, schools officials said. The district's fiscal 2009-10 tax rate is $1.405 per $100 of assessed property value. That includes $1.04 for operating costs and $0.365 for debt repayment, known as the interest and sinking rate, to build and equip facilities.

If trustees go forward with a vote, they would create a resident advisory committee to make a recommendation.

JESSAMY BROWN, 817-390-7326