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Valley View ISD Bond Questions

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Valley View ISD Bond Election has raised some questions:

Q: How many times has Valley View ISD called a Tax Increase election in the past four years and how many more will there be?

A: This is the fourth Tax Rate election called by Valley View ISD in the past four years.  We don't think this will be the last, even if it passes.

They first tried to raise the M&O rate in the Fall of 2009 from $1.04 to $1.17.  That failed by a Two to One margin.

In 2010, they called another election to raise the M&O rate from $1.04 to $1.12.  They said that net taxes would not go up.  The explanation was that the state of Texas has a better match for M&O taxes than debt service taxes so they wanted to move the eight cents in debt service taxes to M&O which passed in the Fall of 2010.  They took advantage of a quirk in the law that allowed them to call the election on a date of their choosing with less than 60 days notice.  The reason the legislature usually requires all elections to be on the second Saturday in May or the first Tuesday following the first Monday in November is to encourage voter turnout.  As a result of calling a special election on a special day, voter turnout was very low and it passed. 

They tried for a bond election in the amount of $12 Million in May 2013 which failed with a high voter turnout.

They now want to issue new bonds in the amount of $9.8 million.  The total improvements have grown from $12 Million in May to $14 Million now.  They plan to finance some of the rest with Lease Purchase agreements and other forms of debt that don't require taxpayer approval.  That is phase 1 of a $21.5 million capital improvement program most recently presented to the VVISD Board in January 2013.  A copy of that presentation is available on this web site.  The $9.8 million dollar bonds will raise the Valley View ISD tax rate by about 27.5 cents to $1.395, the second highest tax rate in Cooke County and only half a penny, (.005) below the highest, $1.40.  The bond resolution allows an interest rate up to the maximum allowed by law so the tax rate could be quite a bit higher if rates go up.

Mr. Stokes indicated to the board that he wants to wait a few years to call another bond election to cover the remainder of the capital improvement program.  We are estimating the added tax for those bonds to be about 21 cents for a total tax rate of $1.605.  Of course, if construction costs or interest rates go up, that tax rate could be higher.

We believe the answer is Yes, we will continue to see more elections to increase the tax rate, even if this latest 27.5 cent tax increase passes.

Q: Will the proposed improvements provide enough security to prevent a shooting like what happened at the Sandy Hook school in Connecticut?
A: Mr. Stokes has told the board that these improvements would not prevent a well armed shooter like that from getting on the premises.  If they close the entrances down from forty to three as they claim, if there was a shooting there might not be many exits available to get away.

Q: How much of the $9.8 Million Bond is designated for Security Improvements?
A: The proposal from the last bond election shows a single security item, a 1,000 foot 12 foot high fence budgeted @ $250,000, we think it may be up to $500,000.
There may be additional security considerations but we don't see where there costs are called out specifically in the proposal.  We've heard there will be a fence around the campus but we don't see it in the bond.  Security professionals have estimated a secured fence could be installed for about $500,000 which we believe would be a cost effective way to improve security at Valley View ISD.
Since we put this up, Mr. Stokes has clarified that the remainder of the Perimeter Fence is on a line item called Site Improvements that in one column is listed as $250,000 and in another is $300,000 so all total, security fencing should be under $500,000. 
Mr. Stokes declined to provide updated costs for the November 2013 bond election.

Q: How much has the student population grown at Valley View ISD? 
A: According to reports available from the State of Texas @ the VVISD student population was 662 for the 2000-2001 school year and grew to 673 in the last year available, 2011-2012.  That is a growth of 1 student per year, on average.  We will provide some of the reports with highlighted areas on another page on this web site.  The student population appears on Page 4 of the 2001 report and page 2 of the 2012 report.
Q: Didn't Valley View ISD Build a new Middle School Building since 2002?  How many classrooms did it add?
A: The new Middle School Building has 12 classrooms that were not available until sometime after 2002.
Q: How many more classrooms is the Valley View ISD Board and superintendent wanting to add as a result of this bond?
A: They say they need room for growth and are planning to add a minimum of 16 additional classrooms with the bond money.  
Q: If our average growth is one student per year, why do we need to add 16 additional classrooms when we've already added 12??
A: That seems to be the $9.8 Million Dollar Question.
Q: How many teachers has Valley View added since 2001 to fill those new classrooms?
A: According to the reports filed with the state at the above web site, Valley View had 55.8 teachers in 2000-2001 and they had 55.5 teachers in  2011-2012 so they have not added any teachers.  (Apparently they have a way to count teachers that may only work a half year, based on the decimals.)

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