By Jimmy Isaac
Tatum Independent School District voters on Saturday approved a $29.9 million bond package.
The final tally was 299 votes, or 79.9 percent, in favor of the proposal, and 75 votes against the bond. It was the school’s sixth successful bond election in a dozen years.
The 2012 bond will increase the TISD property tax rate by 11 cents, resulting in a yearly tax increase of less than $63 for the average homeowner.
Tatum ISD is a revenue contributing district under the state’s recapture-the-wealth public school funding system. Since 1994, TISD has generated $223 million in maintenance and operations tax revenue but has sent 48 percent, or $112 million, to the state for recapture.
Texas does not require school districts to share tax revenue from bond elections with other districts. Between 2000 and 2009, TISD held five successful bond elections totaling $42 million. Without that bond debt, the district would have sent about $94 million in recapture payments at relatively the same tax rate, which might have been required under the state’s hold harmless funding clause. Instead, the district has seen $42 million in bond construction and additions while saving local taxpayers $52 million in maintenance taxes, including more than $27 million that would have been recaptured.
Proceeds from the 2012 bond are scheduled to be directed as follows: $5.5 million for technology, transportation and facility maintenance costs over 10 years; $19.265 million to construct a new elementary school campus on Texas 149 North to serve grades three through five, plus add three classrooms at Tatum High School and space to the school’s Future Farmers of America project building; $3.88 million to upgrade Career and Technology Education facilities at the high school and middle school, plus expand the band hall and possible renovation and expansion of the middle school cafeteria; $1.165 million for additional parking at the primary school, high school and Tatum Community Park, which TISD owns; and, $180,000 in security system upgrades.