Bond talk: School should use caution

August 21, 2013

Granbury school personnel and board members have to watch what they say before the $85 million bond election Nov. 5.

It’s the law.

And they could be slapped with a Class A misdemeanor, which is possible jail time and fines.

It has to do with bond election laws and ethics.

They can basically say what they want as individuals, but not as school board members or employees and certainly not on school time or using school district resources.

Here’s a violation: “Our citizens now have the opportunity to support GISD children. Please support the vision – our future depends on your commitment.”

The school should provide factual information only, which includes projected projects and costs, voting times and locations, growth rates, performance data, student capacity, age/condition of buildings and tax rate effects.

The lecture came from Dallas attorney Rudy Segura Monday evening after the board unanimously approved the bond steering committee’s recommendation that, if voters approve, will renovate aging campuses, increase security across the district and provide technology for students and teachers.

Two propositions will be on the ballot. Prop. No. 1 calls for the issuance of $81.9 million of bonds. Prop. No. 2 calls for the issuance of $3 million of bonds to refund the district’s maintenance tax note and levying the tax in payment thereof.

Prop. 2 is for this summer’s energy conservation projects that have been completed through tax notes from maintenance and operation funds.

At first, the $3 million was lumped with the $81.9 million.

The bond counsel, however, advised that the $3 million needed to be separate because it is technically “refunding” of the district’s maintenance tax note for these projects.

If Prop. 1 passes and Prop. 2 fails, the project will move forward, school officials said. If Prop. 1 is defeated, the project fails.

The tax rate would increase about 15 cents per $100 valuation. Taxes would go up $300 on a $200,000 house and $450 on a $300,000 house. School taxes are frozen for homeowners age 65 and older.

Board member Barbara Herrington said good schools can help keep a community vibrant and property values constant. She said Aledo doesn’t have much of a town, but the Aledo schools are “what bring people there.”

[email protected] | 817-573-7066, ext. 245

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