Bond FAQs

What is a Bond?

Just as homeowners borrow money in the form of a mortgage to finance the purchase of a home, a school district borrows money in bonds to finance the construction of new schools and other capital projects. Both are repaid over time. A school district must seek approval from voters in the form of a bond election to issue bonds. Bond funds cannot be used for salaries, utilities, or other operational expenses.

Why did Thrall ISD call a bond election?

A short and long-range planning committee composed of community members, parents, staff, and students, along with a 3rd party consultant, worked for over nine months studying TISD building capacity, existing conditions, and the district's projected growth. After gathering information and exploring options, the committee unanimously recommended the board call a bond election. The bond election will have two propositions, including a new PK-5 elementary school and additions to the middle school, high school, and athletic programs.

How can bond money be used?

The district can only use bond funds for the purposes described in the bond proposal. Should there be a cost savings from the projects, the Board of Trustees must hold an open public meeting to vote upon the use of those funds beyond described in the bond proposal including a cost reduction for the project due to cost being lower than projections indicated.

Why does the bond election have two propositions?

Thrall ISD is complying with changes made in 2019 to section 45.003 of the Texas Education Code. In 2019, the state passed new legislation that requires certain projects like renovations to a stadium with a seating capacity greater than 1,000 spectators to be separated into different propositions on the ballot. Thrall ISD is required to separate these projects on the ballot in the form of propositions. Propositions are voted on individually.

How much will the Bond cost, and how did the district come up with this number?

Proposition A:
$64,816,680.00 includes general education facilities. Plans for a new Elementary campus (including playgrounds, gym space, cafeteria, and parking), addition to the High School campus (including classrooms, gym space, and parking), renovation of current Elementary campus to convert to a Middle School, and athletic facility upgrades including a new Weight room, Tennis courts, Baseball, and Softball upgrades.

Proposition B:
$3,683,320.00 includes the Tiger Stadium facility. Plans for bleacher expansion, parking, and field/facility improvements are included in this bond proposal.

The district has been in communication with architects, engineers, financial advisor, and other districts who are currently involved with other construction projects. Through these conversations, we have determined the estimated price per square foot and scope costs associated with similar projects including factors like inflation, interest rate, etc.  

How was the Short & Long-Range Planning Committee selected, and why were students involved?

The district has seen a steady increase in student enrollment and student growth over the past 8-years which has triggered the Strategic Facility Plan being formed. During this process, a Short & Long Range Planning Committee was formed through selection of stakeholders interested in assisting with future planning. This includes administrators, faculty, parents, community members, students, and consultants who were involved with campus and district advisory groups. The goal is to make sure every student and every teacher on every campus and in every program has the tools and facilities they need to maintain our long-standing tradition of excellence in academics and athletics. This plan provides a vision that guides our decisions to expand 10-20 years going forward in an effort to be proactive. 

Wouldn't the money be better spent on our teachers or student's education?

Research shows and our board trustees support the administrator’s recommendation regarding the current salary for staff and the class sizes for students. Teachers choose to come to Thrall ISD for several reasons, one of those being a consistent class size conducive to student success. We have one of the best faculty turnover rates in the county and region.

Bond approval authorizes the district to build facilities and is not designated for the operations and salaries. We have a fund balance (considered a healthy district by the auditors on an annual basis) and that can be used to supplement or assist with operations and potential salary increases or staffing. Each year we set a goal to have a balanced budget without using these funds from the Fund Balance.

The new facilities will allow for the continuation of smaller class sizes, which promotes the culture we desire and will continue to be a district goal.  

Why is there no other way to fund these projects?

Planning for the district’s current and future needs is one of the fundamental duties of school boards and district administrators. As such, there is a constant evaluation of facilities and other needs in light of the changing district population, the age of district facilities, changes in technology and changes in instructional practices. When the district determines that it has needs beyond the capacity of the maintenance and operations budget, the Board may issue a bond.

The Maintenance and Operations (M&O) budget covers the day-to-day expenses of the district, where 78% is directed towards staff salaries and benefits. The Texas Education Agency, through the Financial Integrity Ratings System of Texas (Schools FIRST), sets the guideline for school districts to have three months of operating expenses in fund balance. Maintaining the required fund balance, as well as the operational needs may restrict districts from building adequate savings to fund facilities and infrastructure needs. 

Can bond funds be used to increase teacher salaries?

Bond funds cannot be used for salaries or operating expenses of the district. These expenses must come from the district’s maintenance and operations budget.

Bond funds can only be used to finance new construction and additions, renovations, land purchase, large equipment replacement, technology infrastructure, etc. Bond funds come from the district’s interest and sinking budget. 

If we build new schools, can we eliminate portable classrooms?

We currently do not have any portable classrooms. As of the 2015 Bond, our goal of moving away from the use of portable classrooms became reality. This bond will allow us to continue to succeed in that goal. Portables may be added if we can’t keep up with the demand for our capacity (currently 2-campuses are demonstrating the need for space). If the bond does not pass, and the need for portables arises, they would have to be purchased from the maintenance and operations budget, which will take funds from the Fund Balance (although not recommended).

How is the district's tax rate configured?

A school district’s tax rate is composed of two components: the Maintenance and Operations tax (M&O) and the Interest & Sinking tax (I&S). The M&O rate is used to operate the school district, including salaries, utilities, supplies, gas, etc. The I&S rate is used to pay off school construction bonds. Bond sales only affect the I&S rate.

Are we immediately going into $68.5 million of debt?

No, School Bonds are sold based on property values and growth. There is a preliminary evaluation each April and a certified evaluation every July that determines the amount of bonds Thrall ISD would sell. If growth slows and/or property values decrease, the Thrall ISD will sell fewer bonds. If growth speeds up and/or property values increase, then Thrall ISD will sell more bonds.

How will this bond election affect homeowners who are over 65? 

There is no impact on homeowners over the age of 65. School district taxes on resident homesteads may be frozen in the year the taxpayer turns 65 years of age and will not increase because of a school district bond election.

What would happen if the Bond didn't pass?

The current needs of the district persist and will not go away; this is being visionary to plan for the future and provide adequate facilities to meet the District Goals. 

Did you know we have been anticipating becoming a 3A District for many years?

Each year our administration* has managed student numbers to maintain the 2A UIL Classification, although we continue to be one of the largest 2A districts every time UIL realigns.
*Current Administration (majority) have been here through 5-realignments (10+ years) 

What is the cost for participation in the EWCC Taylor ISD Coop for Special needs vs what it would cost for Thrall ISD to house and serve the program.

As of the 2023-2024 school year, Taylor ISD will no longer be the fiscal agent for the EWCC, which means Thrall ISD Life Skills students will return to their home campus. Thrall ISD will manage all Special Education caseloads at each campus. Currently Thrall ISD has about 10% of the student population that are served through Special Education and appropriate classroom space will be required to serve our students..  

Are there any Electric Vehicle Charging Stations and Solar options for building construction included in this Bond for School Buses or for students and/or teachers parking lot areas? Is this bond including Electric School Buses? 

No, this is being investigated due to the current state of our nation and the request for having some energy efficient options. Construction planning will include energy efficient options.

What is going to happen to the current middle school building?

It will continue to serve as a Maintenance operations facility including shop for repairs, office space, and climate-controlled storage. Some of this building can be dedicated to serve as a Community Center for after hour meetings such as for the Thrall 4-H Club, TCEF Foundation, and other groups who have limited space currently. Some of the space can be dedicated to offices and meeting space needed for the EWCC Special Education Coop as Thrall ISD will be the largest school taking on services for our students. *Eventually this building may be removed if deemed unsafe or inefficient.

Please explain the need for new tennis courts and field turf.

Thrall’s Tennis program has many student athletes and is known as one of the best in the 2A-3A UIL classification. 2-New courts were included in Bond 2015 and were a positive addition (additional courts were cut from the previous bond). The remaining courts at the MS are at the end of their life span and lights have been removed due to safety reasons. The new courts will have lighting included and some shade structures. Using tennis courts during the summer are limited to evenings due to the daytime heat.

The field turf is an option to provide an upgraded surface that will save maintenance costs over time. There is an estimated savings of 33-50% over the life of the turf for these fields. Grass fields require more labor, time, chemicals, fertilizer, and water in comparison and there is added value for turf that allows fields to be used during active rain events.

Why do we need more classrooms when the classes we have now are not filled to capacity?

Thrall ISD offers a variety of college and career pathways for students to prepare them for life after high school. Dual credit and Advanced Placement courses have increased to ensure we are allowing students opportunities to earn college credits while in high school. Career and Technology Education courses have increased in addition to students earning industry based certifications by the time they leave high school. By offering a variety of courses, we limit the need for students to travel outside of the district.

Thrall ISD’s goal is to maintain small class sizes even with continued growth. Although having larger class sizes would be a cost saving, we believe having smaller class sizes allows Thrall ISD to offer the best educational opportunities for our students.

See this chart regarding Thrall ISD’s Class Sizes in comparison to the state (Data Source 2021 TAPR) .

The state is holding an election to increase the homestead exemption from $25,000 to $40,000. How will this impact me?

If approved by voters, all Texas homeowners who have the homestead exemption would receive tax relief because the state would increase the homestead exemption for school district property taxes from $25,000 to $40,000. The amount of taxes you owe would be calculated at an amount that is $40,000 below your home’s appraised value.

What is going to be the tax impact of the bond package on Thrall ISD taxpayers?

Zero rate increase.

Who is eligible to vote in the bond election?

Any registered voter who resides within the Thrall ISD boundaries. Not sure if you’re eligible to vote in the Thrall ISD bond election? Click here and use the log in to check: voter registration status, elections on your ballot, poll locations, early voting locations, and key election dates. 

Is there a deadline to register?

The deadline for voter registration is Thursday, April 7, 2022. If you are not registered to vote by this deadline, then you are not eligible to vote in this election. The Texas Voter Registration Application can be found online here.    

How many years will the additional tax burden last?

It is a 30 year commitment. However, the District is always looking for ways to reduce the taxpayer burden. For example, the 2015 Bond was passed on the promise/expectation that the rate would be $1.39 for 30 years. The rate of $1.39 only lasted a few years due to increased property value growth, state legislation, and strategic decision making by the District Administration. The current rate will remain the same at 1.2897. Zero rate increase.

Still have questions?

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For more information contact Tommy Hooker, Superintendent at 512-898-0062 Ext.108 or visit