As coronavirus lockdowns begin to ease and the U.S. economy continues to limp, Dallas Independent School District (DISD) is proposing $3.7 billion worth of tax increase-bonds to pay for school buildings, technology equipment, stadiums, a performing arts facility, and natatoriums.
The DISD Board of Trustees passed the series of proposals in an 8-0 vote in August. It is the most costly bond proposal in the Lone Star State’s history.
The package is divided into five propositions, placed by the district on the ballot to, in part, address “racial equity” concerns.
On his website, DISD District 2 Trustee Dustin Marshall characterizes the $1.6 billion in bonds passed in 2015 as a “good start,” but says the district’s schools “have additional needs that are not being met.”
“That is why we will likely be giving voters the opportunity to approve another bond program on the November 2020 ballot. This would be an opportunity – without a tax increase – to invest in further upgrades to our facilities,” Marshall said.
Marshall’s comments likely refer to the fact that the tax rate will not change if the propositions pass, although taxpayers will still be liable for repayment of the bonds via property taxes.
Proposition A, the most expensive of the bunch, is a $3.3 billion bond for “construction, acquisition, and equipment of school buildings and for the purchase of necessary sites for school buildings…”
Like all five propositions, Proposition A would also authorize repayment of the borrowed cash via the levying of property taxes “without limit as to rate or amount.”
Proposition B has a $270 million price tag and would pay for technology equipment. $53.3 million would be designated for “improvements and renovations” to DISD stadiums via Proposition C.
The school district would construct a $66.1 million performing arts facility if Proposition D passes, and Proposition E asks voters to authorize $33.5 million for natatorium renovations and improvements.
At the close of Fiscal Year 2019, DISD taxpayers already owed $3.8 billion, according to the most recent data available.
If approved by voters, the district’s total debt will be about $7.5 billion once all the bonds are sold, which amounts to approximately $48,745 in debt for each of DISD’s 153,861 students.
Proposition Tax Increase Stated Purpose
A $3,271,600,000 “...construction, acquisition, and equipment of school buildings and for the purchase of necessary sites for school buildings…”
B $270,000,000 “...acquisition and updating of District technology equipment…”
C $53,300,000 “...construction, acquisition and equipment to provide improvements and renovations to existing District stadiums…”
D $66,100,000 “...construction, acquisition and equipment of a performing arts facility and the purchase of a necessary site therefor…”
E $33,500,000 “...construction, acquisition and equipment to provide improvements and renovations of existing District natatoriums…”
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Hayden Sparks is a reporter for The Texan in Dallas. During the academic year, he coaches high school competitive speech and debate and has also been involved in community theater and politics. A native Texan, Hayden served as a delegate at the Republican Party of Texas Convention in 2016. He is on track to receive a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Liberty University. In his free time, Hayden is known to take walks around the neighborhood while listening to random music on Spotify.