Raise your hand if you feel personally attacked by your property tax statement that arrived in the mail last week? *ME* At the same time, a bond is up for vote for Belton ISD. At first glance, this doesn’t make sense. “BISD is must be getting an increase with these taxes! Why should they need a bond?!”
Texas fiscal policy is clear as mud. Educating students, paying for quality teachers, safe facilities, and providing extra-curricular funding requires a lot of money! BISD has 19 campuses, 2,090 employees, and 13,384 students. BISD taxes, via property tax last year were a little less than 39 million dollars. The state says that each district should receive $6,100 per student, plus additional funds for special populations (ESL, special needs, career technical programs, etc.). Per state calculation, the BISD budget is $115,272,275. The district collected just 33.6% percent of that from property taxes, and the state added the other 66.4% to Belton’s coffers. It’s not easy to follow, but BISD has done a good job of providing as much transparency as possible to the district website.
More about the BISD Bond- the beltonisdbond.net website has a six-minute video that explains it on a macro level. A school district proposes a bond, which is voted on by the constituents of the district, in order to pay for new buildings, improve existing facilities, technology infrastructure, and equipment. Bond funds cannot be used for salaries or operating expenses. Voters are giving the district permission to take out a loan and pay it back over an extended period of time.
Belton’s bond is two propositions. Prop A is for $168,825,000 to fund new property, new schools, renovations, and improvements to the facilities in the district. Additionally, the district is investing in safety and security. Prop B, for $5 million is to fund technology devices and equipment for students, staff, and teachers. I would encourage you to watch the video to see a list of all the improvements associated with the bond-like facilities for the DELTA program and improvements to the district Ag barn.
The website also shares that an independent demographer assessed growth within the district, and in the next five years they anticipate an increase in 3,100 students to the district and nearly 6,000 additional students by 2031. That’s a huge increase over the next 10 years, and the district is trying to prepare through the projects associated with the bond.
Finally, the Belton ISD 2022 bond, if approved, does NOT increase the property tax rate paid by homeowners (even though the ballot says “This is a property tax increase”, which is mandatory verbiage per the state). As a matter of fact, tax rates in the district have declined over the past three years.
As a BISD parent, and being married to a BISD employee, I am happy to see the district investing in the future of our students. I hope you’ll make a point to get out and vote on the Bond proposition! Early voting is open through May 3rd, and the last day to vote is May 7th. If you have questions about where to vote, see the beltonisdbond.net website for the voting tab.