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LISD Bond Phase Two

The Liberty school board unanimously agreed, Tuesday night, to move forward with issuing the remaining $10.465 million for phase-two work connected with the $33.5 million bond package approved by LISD’s voters back in May 2015. Tuesday’s action did not actually approve funding; instead, Liberty ISD trustees set in motion the processes that need to take place in order to make a final decision this April. After voters in the Liberty school district’s boundaries approved the $33.5 million bond deal for technology and infrastructure improvements, trustees initially issued $23.05 million of that total to begin the work. At that time, Liberty school trustees said they would issue the remaining $10.45 million for Phase Two projects around the year 2017 provided board members continued to believe it’s in the best interest of the district and the taxpayers. At Tuesday’s board meeting, LISD trustees heard from the district’s financial advisor Mark McLiney with SAMCO Capital. Using what he called a no-growth scenario where overall property values don’t increase in the district, Mr. McLiney said LISD will still be able to issue the funds and keep property taxes at or below projections made when voters approved the bond package back in 2015. The interest and sinking or I&S portion of a school district’s budget goes to pay off debt.  Under the scenario presented by the district’s financial advisor, the I&S tax rate will vary in the next few years from 32.48 cents to 32.9 cents per $100 of property valuation. The I&S rate for 2016 is 31.62 cents. Again, that is based on zero growth in the district’s overall property tax base. Any increase in overall values would cause those tax rates to drop. Mark McLiney also told trustees that interest rates are likely to rise during the next few years, so now is the time to take action if the district plans on using those voter-approved funds. Liberty ISD Chief Financial Officer Julie Hebert pointed out that bond and construction costs are expected to rise in coming months and years. Therefore, she said the longer the district waits to issue those funds the less work they will be able to accomplish because of those rising costs. So, with those things in mind, the Libertyschool board unanimously approved moving forward with issuing the remaining $10.45 million in bonds previously approved by voters. All of the legal requirements associated with the process will take place in March and April. Then, LibertyISD trustees are expected to approve the bond order at their April meeting with the district receiving funds in May. Most of those bond dollars are for continued improvements at Liberty Elementary School, including library renovations along with new classrooms and science labs. The money is also expected to be used for kitchen renovations districtwide along with five new school buses. Liberty ISD trustees also hope to have enough money for a new transportation and maintenance facility.    

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