Can we revisit the CSISD Bond Discussion (signs are up, voting day approaches)

52,356 Views | 460 Replies | Last: 27 days ago by Stupe
Tailgate88
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aggiepaintrain said:

The real problem is Biden's and the Feds handling of the economy which has given taxing authorities the green light to keep raising values.

Let's not punish the kids over couple
hundred bucks. Consol desperately needs these upgrades.


Amen.

Coming from a former Purple school Dad. There is tremendous support from CSHS parents for this bond to pass to get Consol's facilities up to par. We're not talking Taj Mahal stuff we're talking big enough for all the athletes and addressing health and safety issues.
SARATOGA
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I hear what Hornbeck and Cartographer are saying.....absolutely solid points on both accounts. But in my mind CSISD is separated from "government". It is a separate entity doing a separate thing, it is just lumped in with the most convenient way to raise the necessary funds to operate schools.

I'd vote no on absolutely anything from the city and county. The wasted money literally sits as an idol in the middle of town, and judging by the way things are run out of town, I'm not sure what the county does with their money either.

My voting patterns are YES for the schools and NO to every level of government. Government needs to shrink and spend less, and mandate balanced budgets from the top down.

If you were able to hack your bank account and change your balance with a couple of clicks - that is fraud.

When the Federal government just increases the balance out of thin air it is called "monetary policy"
scs01
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HWY6_RunsBothWays said:

Hornbeck said:

Does anyone have any figures on how much revenue CSISD received in 2017 versus 2022? I get that their *rate* has gone down, but the amount we pay has gone up, dramatically. Add in the new rooftops that we've added, that's a lot of money. They spent some time talking about the rate and how it was only going up 2 cents, but what is the total revenue? I'd love to see that.

ETA:
I did some googling, and it seems it was $135M in 2017 versus $169M in 2022, a 25.2% increase. Where did that extra $34M go? Would seem like they could have addressed the rat and insect problem with some of that.

Did any of you guys get a 25% raise over the last five years? I know I sure did not. Like another poster said, it's never enough.

You are assuming everything held the same from 2017 to 2022.
The number of students increased.
Inflation.
Exactly. About 19% inflation from 2017 to 2022, and about a 7% increase in students. Stack those two on top of each other and you get about a 27% increase in costs. Which is a little over the actual increase in income.
Hornbeck
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But when taxing entities take more and more as a percentage, like the schools did here, 25%, and I only get COLAs from my employer, the best I could possibly do is 15% more (3% a year) I'd wager the city and the county are taking 25% more (or even higher) At some point, I'm going to sell my $450k house and buy something cheaper in a neighboring county with a much lower tax rate. I think this point is being lost on some of y'all. At some point, I'm going to say "That's it" because I don't have my taxes frozen like the Munson PAC members do, due to their advanced age. I don't see how the folks working for the University can continue to as well. If you own your own business, you can raise your prices, and maybe come out a little further ahead, if it doesn't run off too many customers. At some point, continually raising taxes is going to hurt quality of life. If you don't believe me, look at the flight from California. Did the educators and staff get 25% raises?
EBrazosAg
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He actually did a pretty good job but really didn't answer a question or two. Remember- hired because of his history of getting bond issues passed ……
College Station ISD Superintendent marks three months with the district, discusses bond election https://www.kbtx.com/2023/10/13/college-station-isd-superintendent-marks-three-months-with-district-discusses-bond-election/
No material on this site is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. See full Medical Disclaimer.
George Costanza
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"Remember- hired because of his history of getting bond issues passed ……"

That's an oversimplification. Lots of superintendents have experience with bonds and probably more successfully than the new superintendent. A quick google search shows 3 bonds passed on his watch and 2 failed … and the two that failed were under the new ballot language law in the last few years.

If that was THE reason he was hired, they could have made a better choice?
George Costanza
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"I don't have any children in public schools, and never have. I pay their tuition to private school. Why should I have to pay thousands a year for something I get zero benefit from?"

You get zero benefit from having the people who live and work in our community being able to read, write, etc? You get zero benefit from community use of public school facilities?

Whether bonds should pass or fail, where can our schools do better, etc are legitimate questions, but to state you get ZERO benefit from public schools is a bit myopic and a very elitist.
George Costanza
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"It's $88 INCREASE. You don't get to ignore all the other money they bring in. It's only $88 PLUS all the other money that comes out of my pocket."

This where we have to separate how we view school funding vs city and county funding. Schools are basically funded two ways … local property taxes and state dollars and state dollars have remained flat for several years despite inflation and increased unfunded mandates. Other government entities have other funding streams … the feds can print and borrow money, cities have sales tax revenue, utility income, etc.

Schools are stuck with the mess the Texas legislature gave them.
scs01
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Hornbeck said:

But when taxing entities take more and more as a percentage, like the schools did here, 25%, and I only get COLAs from my employer, the best I could possibly do is 15% more (3% a year) I'd wager the city and the county are taking 25% more (or even higher) At some point, I'm going to sell my $450k house and buy something cheaper in a neighboring county with a much lower tax rate. I think this point is being lost on some of y'all. At some point, I'm going to say "That's it" because I don't have my taxes frozen like the Munson PAC members do, due to their advanced age. I don't see how the folks working for the University can continue to as well. If you own your own business, you can raise your prices, and maybe come out a little further ahead, if it doesn't run off too many customers. At some point, continually raising taxes is going to hurt quality of life. If you don't believe me, look at the flight from California. Did the educators and staff get 25% raises?
Not sure about all staff, but from 2018-19 to 2023-24 the base new teacher pay increased from $43K to $51K, which is about a 19% increase. So yes, the district has been increasing pay for teachers, probably close to inflation.

But your question also doesn't entirely make sense; we've seen an increase of 1000 students or so in the same time period, or 7%. That requires more teachers...so we aren't just paying teachers more, we are paying more teachers. In addition, the 25% increase in district income doesn't all come from properties that existed 5 years ago--some of it comes from new properties added to the tax rolls. Like for example the new homes that have been built to house those 1000 new students.

If you stack together inflation/COLA adjustments to staff pay and other costs with the increase in students, you pretty much track the growth of the district budget. I'm not sure what else the district should reasonably be doing; we for example already don't always compete well on salary with other districts (I just looked up Magnolia, for instance, and they're about 10% ahead of us on teacher pay).

I also have calculated my own school property tax increases vs. inflation, and the trend has pretty much been spot on (not necessarily every year, but overall). I don't like tax increases either, but it seems reasonable to me. And, this year you should see a substantial decrease as long as voters pass Proposition 4 (please vote!). You can see the effects for your property here if you haven't already looked:

https://brazos.countytaxrates.com/tax

Hornbeck
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I can't go straight back at you, because I'm not interested in a 24 hr ban that staff threatened yesterday *on this thread*.

I'm not attacking anyone on this post individually like you are. If it's my opinion that I don't get value out of the money that's forcibly taken from me by way of taxation, it's my opinion. But, by all means, insult my intelligence and call me elitist, since I disagree with you, nameless internet person.

Instead of going at you, I'll talk about my situation. I, as a parent, have taken 100% responsibility for my children and their education. I have three kids, two are college grads, one with a post-grad degree, and the third still in high school and doing quite well. There's nothing elitist about it. We made sacrifices, didn't buy the bigger house, didn't buy the most expensive cars we could for many, many years funding all that. I've got two that have moved off, and have their own places and careers, from my vantage point, successful. Did public schools have anything to do with that? No, if I'm completely honest. If you think it's elitist that I don't feel it's my responsibility for other people's kids' education, you're entitled to that opinion. I have and am doing what I see as my responsibility to *my* kids. That's as far as my responsibility goes in my book. I'm going to stay in my lane.

What if I told you that people were literate for thousands of years before public schools? I think there's a mentality in this country that because our schools aren't so great, many kids struggle to pass state mandated tests, struggle going to college, that we as a society need to dump yet more money into these same public schools.
Who, from my vantage point aren't doing a great job with the product they are turning out. There's also a mentality I've seen in many parents, and that is that it's the school's responsibility to educate the kids, and I believe that is a big part of the problem. I don't think putting more and more money into the school district is going to solve the problem of parents who don't take 100% responsibility for ensuring their kids are raised right, and educated.
Hornbeck
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So, if 1000 students moved in, there should be property taxes associated with those thousand, as well as other new residents who don't have kids. The new properties are newer, and probably more expensive as well. I don't see where the huge shortfall there is.

Yes, you can bet I'll vote. You guys won't like what I do vote, but I have that right.
George Costanza
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All fair points, but on the flip side, what if I told you that even more people were illiterate for thousands of years before public schools?

We should demand the best possible schools, but your situation isn't everyone's. Unlike most private schools, public ones are tasked with taking on any child that walks through the door … the one that needs transportation to even get to school, the one's with special needs who requires 24 hour assistance, the one in and out of the juvenile justice system, etc, etc.
HWY6_RunsBothWays
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scs01
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Hornbeck said:

So, if 1000 students moved in, there should be property taxes associated with those thousand, as well as other new residents who don't have kids. The new properties are newer, and probably more expensive as well. I don't see where the huge shortfall there is.

Yes, you can bet I'll vote. You guys won't like what I do vote, but I have that right.
I don't think I disagree with (most) of what you said.

It was pointed out that the district budget had increased by 25% over 5 years, and some questioned whether that was appropriate. If asking whether a budget it appropriate, I guess you ask whether the inflow is manageable, and whether the outflow is reasonable.

On the outflow side, I pointed out that the budgeted cost per student in inflation-adjusted dollars has remained level. So no profligate increases in spending, just essentially treading water.

On the inflow side, I was trying to point out that the increased tax revenue comes from a mix of increases on properties that existed five years ago, and new ones added to the rolls. You seem to be saying those new properties should cover *all* increases in the district budget, while I think it is reasonable to additionally expect some tax increases on existing properties that are in line with inflation, which would mean a constant tax bill in inflation-adjusted dollars. I think that's about how our district has managed things over the years.

I was actually encouraging a yes vote on state Proposition 4, which will lead to an increase in the homestead exemption from $40,000 to $100,000. This will give a property tax break for homeowners. I'll be voting yes; are you voting against, and thus for higher taxes? I agree that I wouldn't like that, but yes, you do have the right to vote to keep our taxes at a higher level with no immediate benefit to the schools.

As for the bond proposition vote, I will be voting yes, and I'd like to see all four passed. But I respect that taxes are painful. My main contentions are first that the district has been reasonable in its spending (middle of the road, probably nicer/more facilities than Bryan and the same teacher pay scale, lower teacher pay scale and not as nice of facilities as many other similar suburban districts). Second, our facilities are not in good shape with regard to condition (AMCHS) and capacity relative to student population (both high schools), and improvements are needed. Third, tax increases over the years have hurt, but when inflation is taken into account mine have mainly been reasonable, the state has additionally taken steps to lower property taxes, and the bond isn't going to lead to a big increase. I add that up and I think it's well worth it.
Hornbeck
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Okay, so let's say Prop 4 passes. Maybe we see a decrease in taxes a year, maybe two, but they will just increase the rate to make up for the deficit, then we'll be right back where we were.

I'm not going to post on this thread any more. I've said my peace. We'll see what happens come November.
BiochemAg97
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Hornbeck said:

Okay, so let's say Prop 4 passes. Maybe we see a decrease in taxes a year, maybe two, but they will just increase the rate to make up for the deficit, then we'll be right back where we were.

I'm not going to post on this thread any more. I've said my peace. We'll see what happens come November.


You should take a look at your approved taxes for this year. https://brazos.countytaxrates.com/tax. My adopted taxes are dropping about $500 this year, due to a drop in the ISD taxes of about $800 from changes at the state level. That doesn't include the increase in homestead exemption if it passed in Nov.

I'm not suggesting give credit to the ISD for spending less, just pointing that the tax burden is shifting slightly from the local property owners to the state (and ultimately still paid by the tax payers.

Yes, increasing the homestead exemption, plus other changes, will decrease the overall taxable value and thus the future rate will have to compensate. However, the real drop in this year's school district taxes acts as a reset and will effectively lower the taxes for years to come, due to limits on how much they can increase tax revenue each year without voter approval.

ETA not saying this to change your mind on the bond election, just hoping you can enjoy the decrease in taxes this year.
scs01
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BiochemAg97 said:


You should take a look at your approved taxes for this year. https://brazos.countytaxrates.com/tax. My adopted taxes are dropping about $500 this year, due to a drop in the ISD taxes of about $800 from changes at the state level. That doesn't include the increase in homestead exemption if it passed in Nov.
Small correction--pretty sure the information on that website does assume that the homestead exemption is passed (I cross-checked their computed tax with my appraisal and it lines up with a $100K homestead exemption). I think districts were told to compute everything assuming passage of the exemption. Chances should be very high the increased homestead exemption will pass, in which case what you see on that website is what you'll get.
pudge
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I would vote for C & D if I still lived in CSISD. For many years, we would host multiple playoff games each weekend on the softball field at Consol and same at CSHS when it opened. Also, Bryan HS hosted many playoff games too.

These games brought in people from out of town who would spend money at the local restaurants, stores, gas stations, etc. The local economy always benefits from these out of town folks coming to visit.

Before coaching at Consol, I coached at a couple of much smaller schools and I still remember restaurant and store owners thanking me for getting teams to play their playoff games at our school because of the extra business that was brought in.

Now, Mumford, Caldwell, and Navasota have better softball facilities than the CSISD and BISD schools and coaches are opting to use facilities with turf that make games playable soon after rain passes through. Those towns are getting many playoff games and are now reaping the benefits of visitors coming to town.

Improving all of the athletic facilities is not just a win for the student-athletes, but for the entire community.
Aggie
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https://wtaw.com/brazos-county-republican-partys-executive-committee-is-opposed-to-college-station-isds-bond-issue/


I think the main problem facing CS residents is taxes are already too high due to inflated home values.

I will vote yes and encourage others to do so but I honestly don't see it passing.
AllTheFishes
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Even with the recent increases in property values, the lowered overall CSISD tax rate added, the decreases that have occurred since 2017, and the increase in the homestead exemption from $40,000 to $100,000 that is on the Nov. 7 ballot, many homeowners will be paying less in CSISD property taxes than they did in 2017. (Taxpayers should review their own property tax history.)
doubledog
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AllTheFishes said:

Even with the recent increases in property values, the lowered overall CSISD tax rate added, the decreases that have occurred since 2017, and the increase in the homestead exemption from $40,000 to $100,000 that is on the Nov. 7 ballot, many homeowners will be paying less in CSISD property taxes than they did in 2017. (Taxpayers should review their own property tax history.)

What I am hearing is that it is ok to raise our taxes now so that we are paying the same adjusted tax.
Why have a tax cut then?

Cartographer
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Does anyone care what the Republican executive committee has to say about this?

I think ultimately what bothers me so much about these issues is that no one will address the CAD directly. All of the issues stem from BCAD's rapid increase in land/property values and their misrepresentation of "built year" that allows them to adjust your property value to a different base rate.

The first time I successfully protested, they showed me pictures of my house from realtor.com and indicated that because they saw improvements, they adjusted my built year from 1993 to 2012 which changed the net base value on which they taxed me.

Not derailing but, again, we're stuck in this loop of "not another dime" because we won't address the root cause.

Party officials should spend time condemning the CAD instead of CSISD facilities.
AllTheFishes
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doubledog said:

AllTheFishes said:

Even with the recent increases in property values, the lowered overall CSISD tax rate added, the decreases that have occurred since 2017, and the increase in the homestead exemption from $40,000 to $100,000 that is on the Nov. 7 ballot, many homeowners will be paying less in CSISD property taxes than they did in 2017. (Taxpayers should review their own property tax history.)

What I am hearing is that it is ok to raise our taxes now so that we are paying the same adjusted tax.
Why have a tax cut then?


Because our politicians let the twittersphere set their policy and are more worried about fund raising than actually governing our state.
CS78
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So how much is all this campaigning for the bonds costing? Where does that money come from? Lots of signs, expensive mailers, email campaigns already being pushed around town. And we still have a ways to go. Is there a way to find out how much is spent and how it's paid for?
BiochemAg97
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CS78 said:

So how much is all this campaigning for the bonds costing? Where does that money come from? Lots of signs, expensive mailers, email campaigns already being pushed around town. And we still have a ways to go. Is there a way to find out how much is spent and how it's paid for?


What is your concern? Texas Election Code prohibits the use of school district resources to produce of distribute political advertising in connection with an election.

So, fund are provided by private groups (both for and against).
CS78
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BiochemAg97 said:

CS78 said:

So how much is all this campaigning for the bonds costing? Where does that money come from? Lots of signs, expensive mailers, email campaigns already being pushed around town. And we still have a ways to go. Is there a way to find out how much is spent and how it's paid for?


What is your concern? Texas Election Code prohibits the use of school district resources to produce of distribute political advertising in connection with an election.

So, fund are provided by private groups (both for and against).


Sounds like that answers it. As long as my tax money isn't being used to try to collect more taxes, then that would be my main concern.

My only other concern would be making sure people that stand to benefit from contracts aren't the ones funding it?
BiochemAg97
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CS78 said:

BiochemAg97 said:

CS78 said:

So how much is all this campaigning for the bonds costing? Where does that money come from? Lots of signs, expensive mailers, email campaigns already being pushed around town. And we still have a ways to go. Is there a way to find out how much is spent and how it's paid for?


What is your concern? Texas Election Code prohibits the use of school district resources to produce of distribute political advertising in connection with an election.

So, fund are provided by private groups (both for and against).


Sounds like that answers it. As long as my tax money isn't being used to try to collect more taxes, then that would be my main concern.

My only other concern would be making sure people that stand to benefit from contracts aren't the ones funding it?


I'd guess that the people funding the "for" campaign expect to benefit from the bond passage. That might be parents of students or future students expecting better facilities for their kids, and it might be owners of construction companies that do a lot of work for the school district. But do the owners also have kids/grandkids that they hope will benefit from better facilities too?

On the other hand, I would guess people funding the against campaign believes they will benefit (less taxes) from it not passing.

That is just the way our system works.
George Costanza
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That's poor journalism. The resolution was from the "undersigned members" of the Executive Committee, not the Committee itself and also not from the party itself.
George Costanza
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So how much is all this campaigning for the bonds costing? Where does that money come from? Lots of signs, expensive mailers, email campaigns already being pushed around town. And we still have a ways to go. Is there a way to find out how much is spent and how it's paid for?

By law a school district can only put out factual information about a bond. My understanding is that a group of parents and community members have put out the blue signs actually advocating for the bonds.
CS78
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Im sorry, I should have been more clear. I meant financially benefit from contracts that could be awarded to a company they own. A contractor paying for the signs and his company later doing work for the ISD.

Im all for parents fighting for what they think is best.
CS78
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George Costanza said:

By law a school district can only put out factual information about a bond. My understanding is that a group of parents and community members have put out the blue signs actually advocating for the bonds.


It does leave me wondering who is paying for the signs that we see on school property. Seems odd that a private group would be allowed to place them there.
CS78
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So who is paying for these mailers? They look like they are coming from the school district, AKA, the taxpayer. They dont come out and say "vote yes" but they definitely push hard that direction and they contain biased and debatable information. Seems to be skirting the edge of the law?

If they are being privately funded, then why does it contain the CSISD logo?

It all comes off as shady. I don't remember seeing this type of push on previous bonds.

*Please excuse the stains, I had to retrieve it from the trash.




trouble
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AG
They should say at the bottom who is paying for them. Now unraveling who that actually is might take some digging
BiochemAg97
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CS78 said:

Im sorry, I should have been more clear. I meant financially benefit from contracts that could be awarded to a company they own. A contractor paying for the signs and his company later doing work for the ISD.

Im all for parents fighting for what they think is best.


I have a friend who lives in another district and works for an engineering firm that does design work for schools, among other things. He also has a child in the district. Not surprisingly, he was generally pro bond. No idea if he has contributed financially to signs, but has certainly been an advocate on social media.

If the contractor also lives in the district, where does their voice as a citizen/taxpayer end and their voice as a contractor begin. My bigger concern would be a contractor that lives in Bryan paying to influence a bond election in CSISD where they have no skin in the game.

Not much anyone can do about it though. SCOTUS ruled 1st amendment applies to businesses campaigning in elections, thus we have PACs and we get money from NY and CA funding campaigns for Texas Gov or Texas Senator.
Tailgate88
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CS78 said:

So who is paying for these mailers? They look like they are coming from the school district, AKA, the taxpayer. They dont come out and say "vote yes" but they definitely push hard that direction and they contain biased and debatable information. Seems to be skirting the edge of the law?

If they are being privately funded, then why does it contain the CSISD logo?

It all comes off as shady. I don't remember seeing this type of push on previous bonds.

*Please excuse the stains, I had to retrieve it from the trash.





I do not have any inside knowledge, but the layout and design of that flyer seems to be consistent with the sign that is in front of Forest Ridge Elementary, which I drive past every day. I do not know if there are any different signs at other schools. So my suspicion is these are put out by the district. The sign just has "2023 Bond" and a link to the same website as is on the postcard.

That said, what on that flyer do you think is biased and debatable? Honest question. My interpretation is just they are laying out the facts, obviously from their perspective, but what is biased in there?

Full disclosure, I will be voting for all four of the bond measures. If these fail, especially the athletic updates for Consol, it is a slap in the face to those students and parents, and my closet is full of purple shirts.
 
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