LLANO — With the promise of no tax-rate hike, Llano Independent School District officials hope voters will pass a $33.4 million bond package to improve, expand and upgrade facilities, security resources, maintenance, transportation and technology systems throughout the district.
Early voting started April 28 and goes through May 6. Municipal and school elections are May 10.
Enlisting the assistance of a 25-member community-wide committee, officials hosted about three dozen meetings with teachers, parents, business owners and nonprofit organizations for the past several weeks to share details about the bond proposal.
The bond, which totals $33,425,000, includes big-ticket items such as a $12.6 million expansion of Llano Elementary School and an $8.6 milion addition at Llano Junior High School.
Items that tally about $1 million each include new Llano High School baseball and softball fields, new turf for the football field, technology upgrades, districtwide energy efficiency projects, new buses and a new transportation facility. Projects that round out the rest of the bond money include an extracurricular multi-purpose facility at the high school, a district maintenance facility, entry-way security access hubs on all campuses, auditorium utilities upgrades and agricultural program improvements.
“Llano Elementary gets remodeled from top to bottom. Some of the older buildings will be demolished. Some of the buildings will have slight renovations,” Llano ISD Superintendent Casey Callahan said. “The junior high will be moving the students out of the (portable buildings) and moving them into the main building.”
Callahan said the district faces a challenge funding such projects by borrowing money because of the amount of property taxes the state recaptures from Llano school district property owners.
“Approximately 50 percent of Llano ISD taxes go back to the state as part of the Robin Hood recapture system,” he said.
Officials say, if passed, the bond will not come with a tax-rate increase. To do so, school officials say they expect to refinance some of its past debt.
“We have a three-year (bond) we passed last year. We are paying it down, payments this year, that we are currently scheduled to do,” he said. “For the next two years, the money that we’re getting from the (existing) bonds from a premium standpoint will help us pay the interest and payments for it, reducing that bond and giving us a little bit of a cushion that we can keep to use that amount that we can actually borrow from.”
The current tax rate $1.168 per $100 valuation on property.
The following is an approximate breakdown of projects cost:
• Llano Elementary School replacement — $12.6 million
• Llano Junior High additions — $8.6 million
• Llano High School improvements — $625,000
• Packsaddle Elementary improvements — $960,000
• New high school baseball field — $1.5 million
• New softball field — $900,000
• District-wide energy efficiency — $1.12 million
• Safety and security improvements — $205,000
• Replace buses — $1.6 million
• Bus parking and security — $605,000
• Transportation facility — $1 million
• Maintenance facility — $225,000
• Technology upgrades — $940,000
• Bond issuance cost — $500,000
Go to www.llanoisd.org for more details on the bond issue.