SINTON, Texas — Super Tuesday and the Texas Primaries are only a couple weeks away, but voters in Sinton are already looking ahead to May.
Earlier this month, the Sinton Independent School District approved a $111 million bond proposal, which goes before voters on May 2. What stands out about this proposal is that it comes with no increase to property taxes.
Sinton High School was built in 1967, it's the only building left in the district that was built during the 20th century. That's just one of the reasons why Sinton superintendent Dr. Chad Jones says a new building is long overdue.
“Classrooms don't meet TEA standards for size a lot of them,” Jones said. “You know, we do expect some growth through this incoming industry.”
That industry is Steel Dynamics, and its proposed $1.9 billion flat-roll mill planned for TX Highway 89 just outside Sinton.
“It's a unique situation here with Steel Dynamics coming in to town and the financial impact they're going to have on our community,” Jones said.
Under Steel Dynamics' Chapter 313 tax abatement deal, Sinton ISD expects more than $100 million in revenue in the mill's first 10 years alone. Working with Dan Casey of school finance specialists Moak, Casey, and Associates, Jones realized just how big a deal Steel Dynamics coming to Sinton was for his district.
“Since 2002, (Casey’s) worked over 400 Chapter 313’s and this is in the top three to five deals he's ever seen,” said Jones.
The expected windfall to the district allowed the board to propose that $111 million dollar bond package without increasing property taxes.
“It's like hitting the lottery,” said Sinton ISD parent Robin Brown.
Not only is Brown a district parent, she’s also a local business owner. She believes the Sinton desperately needs a new high school so that her kids, as well as future Pirates are better prepared.
“The school is super old, the classrooms are very small, and we haven't kept up as well as we've needed to with the training that they need,” said Brown.
The bond package is broken into two propositions.
Proposition 1 is worth $91.39 million and funds building a new high school, expanding the Agriculture Livestock Building, as well as security improvements district-wide.
Proposition 2 is worth another $19.67 million and funds a new field house as well as other athletic facility improvements.
In order to educate voters about the bond, Sinton ISD has created a website with more information. Jones says that site will be updated as the process moves forward.