The school district budget is divided into two “buckets.” The first bucket is the Maintenance and Operations budget (M&O), which funds daily costs and recurring or consumable expenditures such as teacher and staff salaries, supplies, software and utilities. The second bucket is the Interest and Sinking budget (I&S), also known as Debt Service, and that is for longer-term capital improvements approved by voters through bond elections. I&S funds cannot by law be used to pay M&O expenses, which means that voter-approved bonds cannot be used to increase teacher salaries or pay rising costs for utilities and services.
Grapevine-Colleyville ISD has issued a portion of the $248.97 million bond package approved by voters in May. The district issued $188.65 million in bonds for the 2016 bond program at an interest rate of 2.8 percent. Prior to the public’s vote on the bonds, the district communicated to voters a projected maximum Interest and Sinking (I&S) tax rate increase of 12.81 cents. As a result of a secured lower interest rate, the actual I&S tax increase for these bonds will be 7.66 cents. The interest rate for the remaining unsold bonds could vary.
By securing the 2.8 percent interest rate, projections show that over the 25-year repayment period, GCISD taxpayers will pay $84.9 million less in interest costs than what was originally projected for the 2016 bond program.
The new total tax rate will be $1.3967, which includes $1.04 for Maintenance & Operations to pay for operating costs and $.03567 to pay for voter-approved debt. Even with the tax increase for the 2016 bond program, the total tax rate remains lower than the 2005 rate of $1.70.
Estimated Monthly Tax Impact
(Includes 2.8 interest rate)
Taxable Home Value*
*Less homestead exemptions
State Law allows for school building bonds to mature over a period up to forty years. However, as GCISD has done before, the budget and estimated tax rate impact for this bond was built on the basis that the bond will be repaid over a 25-year period and the bonds are structured to allow the District to prepay the bonds prior to scheduled maturity, without penalty. Furthermore, the bonds are typically sold in phases, and short-term bonds that are repaid in five to fifteen years will be utilized to fund shorter life projects within the bond proposal, including technology, equipment and buses.
IMPACT ON SENIOR CITIZENS' PROPERTY TAXES
Under state law, the dollar amount of school taxes imposed on the residence homestead of a person 65 years of age or older who has filed an exemption application, may not be increased above the amount paid in the first year after the person turned 65, regardless of changes in tax rate or property value. This excludes the value of any new improvements, such as additions or renovations that increase the value of such homestead. Therefore, if this bond election is successful, it will not have an impact on the tax bill for homesteads that are receiving the senior citizen exemption, unless you make significant improvements to your home.
Contact the Tarrant Appraisal District with questions about the Over 65 Homestead Exemption. To download a copy of the Homestead Exemption form, click here.