Less than a year after the 86th Legislature approved $11.6 billion for a combination of property tax buydown ($5.1 billion) and school finance ($6.5 billion), Dallas ISD is considering a bond issuance of between $2.7 and $3.7 billion.
This would be the largest bond request by any type of taxing entity in Texas history.
According to the Texas Bond Review Board’s latest data, as of 2018, Dallas ISD has $4 billion in outstanding debt — 36 percent of which is interest. That amount comes out to $2,504.56 debt outstanding per Dallas resident.
The taxable value for 2019, on which the budget revenue is based, is over $128.3 billion. That means Dallas ISD is set to bring in $1.7 billion in property taxes for the district this year, a 7 percent increase from the previous year’s net revenue according to the school district.
According to the Dallas Morning News, the bond is planned to finance building renovations; construction of three new campuses; technology operations; five indoor athletic facilities; security improvements; a performing arts center; and other construction endeavors.
To temper the property owner tax burden during the life of the bond, should it pass, Dallas ISD’s $3.7 billion option would be issued over a 30-year time frame rather than the typical 20-year ones. Its other options include 20- and 25-year bonds based on the total cost of the proposed plan.
The final plan’s cost could vary between that $2.7 and $3.7 estimate, but Dallas ISD superintendent Michael Hinojosa prefers the latter option.
Dallas ISD says based on its calculations — importantly due in large part to the planned extra 10-year span of the bond — it’s tax rate will not need to increase. However, appraisals on taxable property value increased by 7.6 percent.
One thing voters and property owners alike should bear in mind when considering property taxes is that due to appraisal increases, a no-tax rate increase-option does not necessarily mean their individual property tax bill will decrease — in fact, due to appraisals, bills more often than not increase since property valuations rarely decrease year to year.
Whatever Dallas ISD’s final plan is, it is expected to be officially voted on at a special meeting of the board on August 13 and will likely be put before voters on the November ballot.
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Brad Johnson is an Ohio native who graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 2017. He is an avid sports fan who most enjoys watching his favorite teams continue their title drought throughout his cognizant lifetime. In his free time, you may find Brad watching and quoting Monty Python productions.