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ELECTION 2020: Gregory-Portland and Sinton ISD bond

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Posted at 4:10 PM, Nov 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-03 17:10:18-05

Two school districts in San Patricio County are looking ahead to the future.

Sinton and Gregory-Portland school districts will be growing with students in the coming years as new industrial businesses move in.

Sinton has already seen the effects of the Steel Dynamics steel mill that will be operating in a years time. Superintendent Chad Jones of Sinton ISD, said there are two propositions for a new bond to renovate the campuses. Dr. Jones said Sinton High School is 53 years old, and while the other campuses are fairly newer, none have a recommended security-vested entryway.

"The law requires you separate certain things out into different propositions," said Jones. "And propositions B, is the multi-purpose facility at the high school which will include an indoor practice facility. It will include coaches offices, a weight room, a field house, also includes some new tennis courts."

According to the Sinton ISD, Proposition A includes:

The issuance of $91,390,000 of bonds by the Sinton Independent School District for, "a new high school on the existing campus site and expansion of the agriculture livestock building. It will also provide facility improvements and safety upgrades at Welder and Sinton Elementary Schools, and Smith Middle School."

Proposition B is the issuance of $22,980,000 of "new extracurricular and athletic facilities at Sinton High School and Smith Middle School to increase equity and accessibility to student programs and replace undersized, inefficient facilities."

According to Jones, a property tax increase is required to be written as part of the bond, but he believes that is the biggest misconception.

"Once Steel Dynamics comes on the books, our certified value will jump around 2.5 billion. Think about it, the entire property value here is 800 million. With them coming in, it's going to more than triple."

He said although the bond says property tax increase, no resident will actually have a raise in taxes.

"Anytime you're adding debt, you have to put that in the ballot language, this is a property tax increase. What it doesn't take into account, is where is that extra tax money coming from? It's coming from this huge influx of tax dollars that Steel Dynamics is bringing. It's not coming from the everyday citizen of Sinton."

Jones said this opportunity seems too good to be true but the money generated from Steel Dynamics will cover the cost of the property tax increase.

Gregory-Portland ISD will have the same opportunity with their school bond propositions.

According to GPISD, Proposition A will include issuance of $98,486,333 of bonds for the construction, acquisition, renovation, and equipment of school buildings in the district, for the purchase of the necessary sites for school buildings, and for the purchase of new school buses. And the levying of a tax sufficient, without limit as to rate or amount, to pay the principal of and interest on the bonds and to pay the costs of any credit agreements executed or authorized in anticipation of, in relation to or in connection with the bonds.

PROPOSITION B will be an issuance of $9,253,667 of bonds for the acquisition or update of technology equipment And the levying of a tax sufficient, without limit as to rate or amount, to pay the principal of and interest on the bonds and to pay the costs of any credit agreements executed or authorized in anticipation of, in relation to or in connection with the bonds.

Michelle Cavazos, Superintendent of GPISD said this is a prime opportunity with the high industrial tax base that the district has.

"They generate and will fund, should this pass, 88% of the revenue for it. So we're in a very unique situation as a district, even across the state. Our district is very unique, that it involves no increase to our total tax rate and we really have this opportunity to capitalize on this, should this bond be approved by our communities."

Cavazos said the only reason she believes this bond will not pass is because people may not understand fully how the bond works.

"By law having to put those words on the ballot, that it's a tax increase and it's not in our situation and our tax rate stays completely the same. I think that would be the only factor that people just may not knowing that information."