North TX ISD Voters Facing Another Big Bond

Sulphur Springs ISD
Sulphur Springs ISD | Image by Sulphur Springs ISD/Facebook

Another North Texas school district is asking voters to support a large bond for the 2024-2025 school year, with a considerable chunk aimed at boosting its elementary school offerings.

Sulphur Springs ISD, located about 80 miles northeast of Dallas, is seeking approval for a $157,150,000 bond. The district’s school board voted unanimously on February 12 to put the bond on the May 4 ballot.

The bond would add two additional elementary campuses, renovate three current elementary campuses, and retire three campuses that are 58, 65, and 70 years old, according to the district’s bond website. The bond would impact learning spaces for more than 2,100 students in pre-K through fifth grade.

The new elementary school projects comprise most of the funds sought in the bond, totaling $137.82 million.

“The projects in the bond were developed by citizens on the SSISD Bond Planning Committee following months of evaluation and prioritization,” a bond fact sheet reads. “These residents recognized that building two new schools now — compared to multiple smaller bonds, renovations, and rebuilds over many years — would cost less and save taxpayer money.”

Sulphur Springs ISD’s total tax rate is $0.9914 per $100 valuation and would increase to $0.9939 if the bond passes. Residents aged 65 and over would not see their property taxes affected if they filed an exception with the Hopkins County Appraisal District.

The community voted against the last bond pushed by the district, which totaled $81.5 million back in 2022, as reported by KETK Fox. The bond looked to add a new campus, update aging facilities, and adhere to ADA/TAS and ventilation guidelines, among other things.

The district also proposed a $93 million dollar bond in May 2022 to address many of the same issues, but it was not approved.

On the May 4 ballot, voters will also be asked to fill two seats on the school board.

As previously covered by The Dallas Express, Kaufman ISD, located southeast of Dallas, will ask voters to weigh in on a $171 million bond aimed at addressing aging junior high facilities and improving safety and security for its student body, which is expected to reach 5,000 in the next few years.

The enrollment growth at Kaufman ISD — 10% over the past three years — is contrary to the downward trend seen at many public school systems, including Dallas ISD and Fort Worth ISD, as covered extensively by DX.

As for Sulphur Springs ISD, its student enrollment for the 2021-2022 school year totaled 4,329 students across nine campuses and has remained steady.

According to the most recent available accountability report from the Texas Education Agency, Sulphur Springs ISD received a B rating for student achievement with a score of 84 out of 100. The district performed best in college, career, and military readiness, scoring 91 out of 100. On the 2021-2022 STAAR exams, students performed above the state average (48%), with 50% scoring at grade level. Similarly, its on-time graduation rate bested the state average (90%), with 92% of its Class of 2022 earning a diploma within four years.

In comparison, in 2021-2022, Dallas ISD had 141,430 students across the 237 schools. On the same STAAR exams, just 41% of students scored at grade level, and nearly 20% of seniors didn’t graduate on time.

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