Other than using cash, a bond election is the only way Texas law allows school districts to fund additions, renovations, and new facilities. School districts borrow money in the form of bonds to finance these projects from design through construction. This is similar to homeowners borrowing money in the form of a mortgage to finance a home.
Bond interest rates are at an all-time low in the 41-year history of Bond Buyer Index. If districts need to borrow money, now is the time in order to lock-in historically low borrowing costs.
A Facility Advisory Committee with nearly 50 parents, staff members, and community leaders toured the district and reviewed data to identify potential needs and make a recommendation regarding a bond election. The Board of Trustees unanimously accepted the committee’s recommendation.
Lone Oak ISD is complying with a recently enacted state law that requires certain projects, including most stadiums, to be listed as a separate proposition.
The bond is proposing additional science labs and classrooms at the high school because the campus currently has one lab, which is shared among approximately 21 classes. Since the baseball and softball fields are located next to the science wing, the bond is also proposing that they be relocated to make room for the science lab and classroom addition. More parking and future high school additions would also be possible if the baseball and softball fields were relocated.
The bond is proposing renovations to Red Hall classrooms in the Administration Building. These classrooms originally served and were sized for elementary students. They are now being used by older students who also have more technology needs. The proposed Red Hall renovations would address the current use of the classrooms. The district would also be able to turn the Administration Building into another campus if the need were to arise.
Lone Oak ISD is expected to experience an increase in future enrollment. If/when that occurs, the relocation of current baseball and softball fields would allow for additions to the high school. Renovations to Red Hall classrooms would also allow the Administration Building to be turned into a Junior High (7th and 8th grade) so that the Middle School could transition to an Intermediate (5th and 6th grade).
The district is in the process of considering several available options. Lone Oak ISD owns property across the street from the high school, as well as adjacent to the ag barn. The district is also talking with the owner of the land behind the high school.
Buffalo Stadium hosts a range of district and community games and practices. The maintenance of a grass field can be both costly and time consuming. Rain can also cause the field to be unusable. Turf fields do not require watering or maintenance. They also include drainage, which allows for less cancelled games and events.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities. It aims to ensure that they have the same opportunities as everyone else in jobs, schools, transportation, and all public and private places that are open to the general public. The bond is proposing renovations to Buffalo Stadium that will address wheelchair accessibility.
The bond is proposing to reroute drop-off and pick-up procedures, which would allow the district to not have to stop traffic on Hwy 69 and to keep student drivers from having to pull out onto Hwy 69.
The proposed band hall expansion includes additional instrument storage and larger practice rooms. It would also allow for growth of the fine arts program. The proposed Career and Technical Education expansion would provide dedicated space for two ag programs that currently share one lab. It would also allow the district to add new programs such as HVAC, Electrical, AV, etc.
The district’s two gyms are currently shared by middle school and high school PE classes, as well as junior high, JV, and varsity athletics. To accommodate both practices and games, the gyms typically open at 6 a.m. and do not close until after 8 p.m. Academic offerings are also affected by the scheduling of PE classes and athletic practices. The bond is proposing a multipurpose facility that would allow both girls and boys athletics to practice at the same time. This would allow for more academic course offerings as well. It would also allow the district to continue hosting communitywide pep rallies, since the current gym cannot accommodate the growing audience.
A school district’s tax rate is comprised of two components or “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.
The proposed total tax rate would be $1.322, an increase of 10 cents. For a $100,000 LOISD home, this would mean an increase of $6.25 a month.
The district can sell approximately $36 million worth of bonds without impacting the current tax rate. Since LOISD plans to sell bonds and complete the projects in phases, it will likely be a few years before taxpayers see the entire increase.
No. By law, if you receive an Age 65 or Older Exemption, your homestead tax rate cannot be raised above the frozen level unless you make significant improvements to your home. A significant improvement would be anything beyond normal maintenance or repair, such as building a swimming pool or adding a garage or game room.
Early voting takes place from Oct. 18-29, and Lone Oak ISD’s Administration Building is a polling location. Hours of operation are 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday. On Tuesday, Oct. 19, and Thursday, Oct. 28, voting will be held from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 2, and voters must cast their ballots from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. at precinct polling locations. Visit huntcounty.net/page/hunt.election and co.rains.tx.us/page/rains.elections for a list.