School district bond elections on many ballots for Central Texans

Published: Oct. 26, 2021 at 5:44 AM CDT
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - Some local school districts are hoping to make improvements, but they need funding for the updates, so there are several bond elections on this November’s ballot.

Temple ISD has two bond propositions on the ballot. Combined, they cost $184.9 million, and the district has a number of goals for the funding.

They fall into four main categories--updating safety and security, making sure all program facilities are equal, tackling master plan improvements--including updating the high school stadium and preparing for growth by building a new elementary school.

But what does this mean for your wallet? Right now, the district’s tax rate is $1.235 per $100 in valuation. That means if a home is worth $100,000, the yearly tax bill is around $1,235, or nearly $103 a month.

If the bond passes, the tax rate would increase by about 12 and a half cents, so the monthly tax bill would go up $10 a month, to around $113 a month.

The district said the tax rate has dropped more than 16 cents in the last three years, and if you’re over 65, you wouldn’t see an increase at all, thanks to a homestead exemption.

“That allows a person who is 65 years of age or older to lock in their school taxes to the rate they were there at that time,” Dr. David Ritter, an associate professor of accounting at Texas A&M University Central Texas, said. “So, if a person was 65 years old...then this tax increase would not impact their taxes.”

This exemption is available in Temple, as well as in Waco, Connally and Cameron ISDs, other districts with bonds on the ballot.

All homeowners need to do is file a form with their county. In McLennan County, you can find the form here or contact 254-752-9864. Bell County Residents can find more information here. If you live in Milam County, you can find more information here or call 254-697-6638.

Cameron ISD is also holding a bond election, but it’s a bit different than the others because there is not expected to be a tax increase.

The school district called for a $14.5 million bond to go on the ballot, but the district said it will be able to make the debt payments without raising the taxes because of the increase in property values.

The funding would be used to revitalize the original Cameron Yoe High School into a college and career technical education center.

The ballot will still list the bond as a property tax increase because that’s required by state law.

Cameron ISD’s current tax rate is about $1.28 per $100 dollars, so a homeowner with a house worth $100,000 would pay around $106 a month in property taxes to the district.

Cameron ISD allows for a homestead exemption, which Dr. Ritter said can be help people on a fixed income.

“If you’re a house and let’s say your property tax goes up $10 a month, $120 a year, and you’re trying to try and get by on $1,500 a month, that’s really a stressful impact,” Dr. Ritter said. “Because everything else is going up this past year is going up with inflation.”

The homestead exemption does have some limits. If a homeowner makes significant improvements to their home, like by adding a room or a garage, their taxes could go up.

Early voting is still open for these bond elections, and other elections around the state. You can find more information about voting locations and times below.

McLennan County Early Voting Locations:

- McLennan County Elections Administration Office -- (basement) 214 N 4th St, Suite 300 Waco, TX 76701

- Robinson Community Center – 106 W. Lyndale Ave Robinson, TX 76706

- Waco Multi-Purpose Community Center – 1020 Elm Ave Waco, TX 76704

- First Assembly of God Church – 6701 Bosque Blvd Waco, TX 76710

- Hewitt City Hall/Library -- 200 Patriot Court Hewitt, TX 76643

Dates and times:

- Monday, October 18, 2021 through Friday, October 22, 2021 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM

- Monday, October 25, 2021 through Wednesday, October 27, 2021 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM

- Thursday, October 28, 2021 through Friday, October 29, 2021 7:00 AM – 7:00 PM

Bell County Early Voting Locations:

- Belton - Bell County Courthouse Annex, 550 East 2nd Ave

- Killeen - Bell County Annex, 304 Priest Drive

- Killeen -Killeen Community Center, 2201 E. Veterans Memorial Blvd

- Temple - Bell County Annex, 205 East Central Ave

- Salado - Salado Church of Christ, 217 North Stagecoach

- Harker Heights - Parks & Recreation Center, 307 Millers Crossing

Dates and times:

- October 18, 2021 thru October 22, 2021 (Monday - Friday) 8:00 am - 5:00 pm

- October 23, 2021 (Saturday) 7:00 am - 7:00 pm

- October 24, 2021 (Sunday) 12:00 pm - 5:00 pm

- October 25, 2021 thru October 29, 2021 (Monday - Friday) 7:00 am - 7:00 pm

Milam County

- Bea’s Kitchen – 101 E. Main St, Cameron TX 76520 (Oct. 26, 28, 29 – 8 a.m. - 5 p.m., Oct 27 – 7 a.m. - 7 p.m.)

- Buckholts Community Center – 110 W. Main St, Buckholts, TX 76518 (Oct. 26, 28, 29 – 9 a.m. - 4 p.m., Oct 27 – 9 a.m. - 6 p.m.)

- Rockdale Clinic (formerly Rockdale Hospital) - 1700 Brazos Ave, Rockdale TX 76567 (Oct. 26, 28, 29 – 9 a.m. - 4 p.m., Oct 27 – 9 a.m. - 6 p.m.)

- Thorndale V.F.W. - 304 E. Moerbe, Thorndale, TX 76577 (Oct. 26, 28, 29 – 9 a.m. - 4 p.m., Oct 27 – 9 a.m. - 6 p.m.)

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