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By Margaret Toal
For the Record 

Orangefield board calls for school bond election

 

Last updated 8/22/2023 at 6:16pm

Orangefield school district voters in November will decide on a $43 million bond issue for more classrooms at all three campuses, a new high school library and cafeteria, plus improvements at the elementary and junior high campuses. Board members say the projects improve school safety.

The school board Monday night unanimously called for the bond issue decision to be held on November 7, general election day. The district said the amount will be $42.9 million. The bonds, if approved by voters, would raise the tax rate for the debt portion by 35 cents per $100 valuation of appraised property value.

However, voters across the state will go to the polls on November 7 to cast a decision an a state constitutional amendment to cut school taxes. But that cut will affect only the M&O, or maintenance and operations, part of the tax bill. A cutback in the M&O tax payments cut offset the increased tax rate for the bonds. The proposed state tax changes will also drastically help people with homestead exemptions.


However, whether or not the constitutional amendment is approved, the state allows homeowners age 65 and older plus the disabled to freeze their school property taxes at the rate when they turned 65. Taxpayers with those exemptions will not pay more.

The Orangefield School Board earlier this year appointed a district-wide committee to study facilities and future needs for the district in preparation for a possible bond issue.

On Monday, Board President Laura Clark said, "Our plan will focus on safety by moving all students out of portable buildings" by adding classrooms to each campus.


Orangefield Elementary will also get a new cafeteria with stage, plus enough new classrooms to solve the current overcrowding and allow for future growth. The junior high will get new classrooms. At the high school, the projects are new classrooms, new library, new cafeteria, plus facilities to grow the CTE, or career and technology education, programs.

Early voting for the Orangefield bond election, plus the state constitutional amendment election, will begin on October 23 and run through November 3. People who are not registered have about a month to register in time for the election.

 

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