If successful, proceeds from the bond will be used to construct a new field house, new softball/baseball field complex, three new tennis courts for school and public use, new homes to serve as rental properties for district employees, and renovations to the Student Activity Center, explained Three Rivers ISD Superintendent Kenneth Rohrbach.
Hiring employees has been a challenge for the district due to a lack of affordable rental properties in the district, and the district currently has three mobile homes that are rented to staff, he said.
“It is exciting that the district is able to complete the building projects that are included in the master plan without any increase in the tax rate,” Rohrbach said. “This is possible due to the rapid growth in mineral values in the school district.”
Board members will schedule two public meetings to discuss the proposed bond. With the construction of a new junior-senior high school and a new elementary school, the district has completely replaced all instructional facilities with building that will serve the district well into the future, reports show.
It should be noted that the board spent a great includes the facilities that are part of this bond package, Board President David Saenz said.
“The board firmly believes that replacement of the remaining facilities and construction of rental homes is in the best interest of this community and students,” Saenz said. “The fact that we can do this without an increase in the tax rate is incredible.”
Meanwhile, in a separate action, the board also recently voted to retire $810,000 in debt 18 years early.
When the Three Rivers ISD passed a bond in 2012 to build a new elementary school, the board voted to put the 20-year bonds on a three-year call, Rohrbach said. (Bonds are normally placed on seven or 10-year call.)
The three-year call was put in place due to the rising mineral values in the district, Rohrbach said.
By doing this, the board would have the option in 2014 of calling the bonds and begin paying off principal early. The tax rate that the district collected for bond payments for 2013-2014 was $0.1066 per $100 valuation.
At current values, the tax rate needed to make bond payments for 2014-2015 is $0.07598 per $100 valuation. With the ability to call the bonds this year, the board had the option to leave the tax rate at $0.1066 and apply the excess collections to paying off principal early, reports show.
Doing so would retire $810,000 of the debt that would mature in 2032, saving approximately $442,379 in interest payments over the life of the bonds.
On July 29, 2014, the board passed a resolution which called the series 2012 bonds and redeems $810,000 in debt.
“In voting to pay off a portion the debt early, the board is saving taxpayers almost half a million dollars in interest payments over the life of the bonds, without raising the tax rate for debt service,” the superintendent said. “If mineral values continue to increase, it will be possible to pay off the bonds much earlier than the 20 years for which they were financed, potentially saving millions of dollars in interest.”