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Home News-Telegram News SSISD bond rate better than expected; tax rate won’t go up as much as first thought

SSISD bond rate better than expected; tax rate won’t go up as much as first thought

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It turns out that Sulphur Springs Independent School District officials were dead wrong when they estimated taxes would go up about 30 cents per $100 of property value if voters approved a $48.4 million bond proposal in May. It’s going to be a good bit less, and that’s a good thing, said SSISD Director of Finance Mikki Eddins.

“It’s good news,” said Eddins. “We were very, very pleased at the news.”

The district received a better than expected interest rate on bids for the bonds Wednesday, Eddins explained.

“We ended up selling them at 5.004, which is great,” Eddins said.

The payout on the bonds will cover 30 years. The amount of tax for the districts “interest and sinking” fund — the portion of the tax rate to pay for debt — will be 37 cents, but about a fourth of that is existing debt.

“We’d already had nine of that, so the actual increase [is less than expected],” Eddins explained. “We had said all along the maximum it could be was an additional 30 cents, so it ended up being a 27.276 increase for the voters.”

Superintendent Patsy Bolton was understandably pleased with the outcome, as well.

“The rate of interest and the projected tax rate are both better than voters were told prior to the election,” Bolton stated. “We are pleased that the results are better than expected.”

More money that will be coming from the state’s treasury should also help hold down the property tax levy. School officials said in the days before the election that the district could expect to receive as much as $13 million from the state of if voters approved the $48.4 million bond proposal.

In recent years the district has received an “Existing Debt Allotment,” or EDA, which is essentially a rebate from the state to help pay for improvements. Under last year’s guidelines, 27 percent of the cost of the bond — or just over $13 million — would be reimbursed to SSISD through EDA funding.

That law stayed in place in this year’s session of the Texas Legislature, so the district will again receive the EDA funding, although the percentages have yet to be calculated

“Depending on the percentage of the Existing Debt Allotment for the district, the tax rate could possibly be lowered several cents,” stated Bolton. “That would be great.”

In fact, Eddins said, district officials have been told the EDA will permanently be part of the state’s school funding formula..

“We know that we will qualify because we’ve qualified in the past,” she said. “The only thing we still don’t know is how much we will get, what percentage of our debt. When we find that out, that rate will come down even more, so we’re very, very pleased.”

While plans are being drawn up and logistics worked out, no actual construction work of any kind will begin until July 21, when the actual bond money will be delivered to the district.

The bond money is being used to build a new middle school south of Interstate 30 and east of State Highway 19 near the extension of State Highway 11, which will ultimately alleviate crowding at the existing campus for sixth, seventh and eighth grades as well as elementary schools.

Once the new school is open, all third and fourth graders will move to the existing middle school. First and second graders will go to Bowie, Lamar and Travis Elementary schools, which are all either exemplary or recognized schools according to state ratings. Austin Elementary, the only primary campus rated academically acceptable, would be used only for the Alternative Education Program.

 

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