Dallas ISD Bond 2020 Community Meeting
Join Dallas ISD Superintendent Michael Hinojosa at a virtual community meeting at 6 p.m. on July 21 to hear updates about projects included in the district’s Bond 2020 proposal.
Your questions and feedback are important, and the district welcomes your participation. Please, register below to participate. Please note that registration closes three hours before the start of the meeting.
2020 Bond Proposal - June 11, 2020 Board Briefing
Thursday, May 7, 2020, 6 p.m.
Wednesday, May 13, 2020, 6 p.m.
Audio en español
Tuesday, May 19, 2020, 6 p.m.
Listen to the Telephone Town Hall Meeting by clicking on the web simulcast link. If you want to share a question, you can do so on our Twitter feed Tweet to @dallasschools
If you have questions about the community meetings, please call (972) 925-5555.
For questions about the Bond 2020 proposal, contact us or visit our Frequently Asked Questions.
Frequently asked questions
(Updated July 13, 2020)
New buildings, additions and renovations
What are the numbers to support building schools downtown?
The application data and overall enrollment of Downtown Montessori, Lassiter Early College High School and CityLab High School justify launching the new multi-use Dallas ISD downtown school. The facility will allow full build out for prekindergarten through eighth grade and two high schools. Finally, there are two charter schools downtown that are kindergarten through 12th grade. Our three schools serve as an opportunity to gain their market share.
Why are you spending $700,000 on a school downtown Dallas when the property doesn't belong to Dallas ISD? There are many campuses in need of a big make over.
Dallas ISD is leasing space to launch our first Montessori OTI school in downtown Dallas. The lease secures the occupancy of the third and fourth floors of the UNT Dallas building, which will provide space for prekindergarten through second grade, starting in the fall of 2020. A grade will be added each year. Currently, we have 250 students enrolling to attend.
When will local neighborhoods be able to hear a detailed presentation for changes planned for a specific school? I am concerned that parents and community will have limited input on the specifics planned for an individual school or the sequence/priority of changes.
During the implementation of a bond program, parents, students, staff and the community are an integral part of the construction and renovation of Dallas ISD schools. The district usually holds meetings to get feedback through the different stages of a project.
What is the time frame for the projects in the pipeline?
Downtown Project - Fall 2023
Midtown Project - Fall 2024
D-CAT High School - Fall 2023
MLK Arts Academy - Fall 2020
Pleasant Grove Montessori -
Will auditorium renovations include only curtains or rigging? Will seats also be replaced?
The production systems in the auditoriums will be renovated to provide modernized curtain rigging, LED theatrical lighting, and improved sound systems throughout all high school auditoriums. These modernized systems will empower show-stopping student productions in addition to ensuring state of the art safety systems. The curtains across the district will be replaced with new curtains made from fire retardant material. These curtains will provide a beautiful upgrade to auditorium facilities across the district in addition to supporting the safe operation of our campus auditoriums. Additional improvements to the auditoriums will be made as necessary with other funds.
Will there be updates to school libraries?
Work on libraries is not specifically included in this bond program, but improvements to these areas might be included in the general renovation work for specific schools.
Will this bond improve school curb appeal?
Exterior work in schools will include architectural/aesthetic Improvements; new signage and marquees; irrigation and landscaping in the front of the building; replacement of doors and windows (where applicable); exterior lighting improvements; sidewalk, parking lot and fence improvements; façade improvements; and emphasized entry appearance. The type and extend of work performed will vary by school.
How were these schools selected? Will you be using a need-based assessment to make those decisions?
The district selected projects included in the Bond 2020 proposal based on recommendations from the more than 100 volunteers in the Citizens Bond Steering Committee and several criteria, including:
- Follow in accordance with priorities 1 and 2 Long Range Master Plan
- Secure entries, keyless, cameras, code issues, accessibility requirements
- Facility Infrastructure Technology
- Roofs, MEP systems, building structure, exterior areas, interior spaces
- Technology infrastructure secure for device implementation
- Transformation and Innovation
- Continue to provide choices and best “fit” schools for families
- Academic Programs
- Ensure physical structure meets requirements for academy programs
- Refinements associated with choice and neighborhood campuses
- Extra-curricular/Co-curricular Programs
- Equitable, competitive facilities for athletics
- Equitable facilities relative to fine arts
Will additions to the schools be big enough to accommodate all current students?
The eight campuses identified for additions are near or over capacity or projected to exceed capacity. The additions should accommodate any expected growth.
Will there be any issues if certain propositions fail and others pass? How we will ensure programs are successfully executed if we don’t get all desired funds?
Pending Board of Trustees approval and in accordance to Senate Bill 30, the Bond 2020 proposal will be presented to voters as several propositions:
- A general-purpose proposition for construction, acquisition and equipment of school buildings, including necessary sites, and the purchase of new school buses, unless all or a portion of the bonds include certain special purposes for $3.27 billion
- A special-purpose proposition for construction acquisition or equipment of a stadium with seating capacity for more than 1,000 spectators for $53 million
- A special-purpose proposition construction acquisition or equipment of a natatorium for $33.5 million
- A special-purpose proposition construction acquisition or equipment of an arts facility for $66 million
- An acquisition or update of equipment other than equipment used for school security purposes or technology infrastructure integral to the construction of a facility for $270 million
Would that arts facility also be used for graduations?
The districwide state-of-the-art performing arts center will include a 2,000 seat auditorium, dance studio, black box theater, instrumental rehearsal spaces, and a visual art gallery, It will provide access to professional level facilities to students from throughout the district. When available, it could be used for appropriate district events that fit within the space.
Why are we investing money in a performing arts center that students will make use of maybe once per year when we have inadequate performing arts spaces in the schools where children spend time every day?
The Bond 2020 proposal includes improvements to school auditoriums, such as new fire retardant curtains and curtain riggings, lighting and sound systems as well as a districtwide performing arts center that will let students from throughout the district showcase their work to larger audiences in a state-of-the-art facility.
Is the plan for the reconstruction of the Thomas Jefferson High School and Walnut Hill Elementary campuses buried in these plans? Why not do a separate line item for this unique situation?
The reconstruction of the two schools that were decimated by the October 2019 tornadoes will be financed with other funds and is not included in the Bond 2020 proposal.
How would the community go about proposing edits to the bond package? For example, allocating a portion of the money to increase teacher salaries and guarantee school supplies in EVERY classroom. It would only cost a fraction of the $3 billion. Racial equity begins and ends with education, not fancy buildings.
Funds obtained from the sale of construction bonds can only be used for capital expenses like the construction, renovation and furnishing of buildings and cannot be used for expenses like teacher salaries or supplies. The district will have another community meeting before the presentation to the Board of Trustees in August to get feedback from the public on the proposal.
How will community members be aware of the progress that the district is making for each bond project?
If the 2020 Bond is approved, progress on projects will be shared at www.dallasisd.org/bond2020.
Are there funds earmarked for pool improvements or new pool facilities?
The Bond 2020 proposal includes $33.5 million for repair and maintenance of existing natatoriums, which includes facilities at Alamo, Lisbon, Alfred J. Loos, Pleasant Grove, Sprague, and White Rock.
So does your statement of the bond program being completed over a 10-year plan mean that you do not expect any additional bond issues for the next 10 years?
The District is not currently planning any additional bond elections. However, if an unforeseen need arises the district would have to make a determination on potential options at that time.
Any room in bond for transportation department?
The Bond 2020 does not include any projects related to transportation.
In lieu of the pandemic, how is the superintendent looking at going forward with the bond proposition this fall?
The Bond 2020 proposal addresses future district needs and the renovations of existing facilities that will provide safe and modern learning spaces for the children of Dallas. While the COVID-19 pandemic has had an effect on the learning process, this proposal is an investment that will impact education in Dallas in the long-range.
What is the likelihood that the amounts listed on the line item budget can change? Also, is there a website that indicates how much money is being distributed and the progress that is completed on the bond?
The amounts listed on the Bond 2020 proposal are estimates that were developed as part of the planning process. Several projects from the Bond 2015, for example, have come in under budget. If the proposal is approved, regular updates on Bond 2020 project expenditures will be available on the district’s website.
Please talk about building new versus remodeling or adding on?
Several factors were taken into consideration to determine if a facility would be replaced or renovated, including the cost, the age of the building and the extent of the work needed.
Will this be on the ballot in November?
The Board of Trustees will consider issuing a Bond 2020 proposal during it’s August meeting. If approved, the proposal will be included in the ballot for the November elections.
Do you plan on putting card readers and door sensors on all the doors in the district?
The Bond 2020 proposal includes $37.5 million for a keyless entry or access control that allows for electronic locks to be placed on exterior and interior doors where required. Access is granted using a key card and can be set with different levels of access as needed. This provides a safe and secure environment for students and staff. Door sensing devices allow for the notification that a door is ajar. These sensors show if the door was unlocked, propped, or forced open. While this works in conjunction with keyless entry the vast majority are not attached to a keyless door and are for notification only.
How is the public going to know what campus will be getting a part of the bond money?
If the proposal is approved, a detailed list of projects and costs will be available on the district’s website.
What can the parents do to help out?
Parents can help by providing feedback about the Bond 2020 proposal and attending community meetings to let us know their opinions.
Is there anything in this bond that's being allocated to the minority students?
Dallas ISD will invest a portion of the 2020 Bond program, in communities of color that have faced segregation and systemic disinvestment over the last century. Equity in Bond Planning is a project to develop concepts for four student and family resource centers in the Lincoln, Franklin D. Roosevelt, L.G. Pinkston and H. Grady Spruce school communities.
Is any of this money going to be allocated to indoor athletic facilities?
The Bond 2020 proposal includes $18.9 million for upgrades to locker rooms at nine central athletic facilities to meet current standards.
Has there been talk about a new campus in the southeastern part of the district in the secondary level? Was there any talk of building more campuses in the Seagoville Feeder Pattern?
Yes, there has been talk of additional choice schools in all quadrants of the city based on market share data and student interest. If there is a model the community is interested in adding, please reach out to the Office of Transformation and Innovation.
Will there be a website or a public system that will track the bond money spent?
Yes. If approved, all projects, including projected costs and actual expenditures will be shared in the Bond 2020 website at www.dallasisd.org/bond2020.
Do you have the ability to divert planned funds (perhaps sports funding) towards the needs for pandemic schooling (i.e. improved technology for at home use and increased broadband access)? Or are you looking for funds elsewhere for these urgent needs?
During the planning process for the Bond 2020 proposal, funds were reallocated for Operation Connectivity, which seeks to provide Internet access to students for learning at home.
Is our district enrolling enough to justify a bond package?
The bond proposal is not being presented as a response to enrollment increases but to address the aging condition of our facilities by providing more appropriate learning spaces for our students.
How does the recent 2015 $1.6 billion bond election (considering part of this debt is not sold) factored into the tax rate and bond debt capacity assumptions?
The 2015 and the 2018 transportation bond issues’ remaining balances are incorporated into the projections. The district is currently issuing $300 million of the 2015 bond issue on July 14. The final $300 million is projected to be issued in August 2021.
I assume your projection of future revenues includes some growth in property tax values to raise incremental tax dollars. What rate of increase do you assume for property values over the life of the bonds?
The valuation growth model projects property value growth percentage that decreases over time: 2020-2022 – 5%; 2023 – 4%; 2024 – 3.5%; 2025-2026 – 3%; 2027 – 2.5%; 2028-2029 – 2%; 2030-2031 – 1.5%, 2032-2033 1.25%, 2034-2060 – 1%.
Dallas ISD will receive the certified values for tax year 2020 by the end of July and will update the current projection with actual 2020 values received from the Dallas County Appraisal District.
Can you talk about the timing of this bond election and how you feel about the current interest rate and construction cost environment?
Interest rates are currently extremely low, making conditions very favorable for the issuance of bonds. The projected interest cost for the bond sale of July 14, 2020, was projected with a rate of 3.75%, but based on the current market conditions, the rate is expected to be around 2%.
It looks like the 2020 Bond finance committee only met once and did not look at student demographics or do any financial analysis connected with the $3.7 billion proposal. Where can one find the property value assumptions and growth assumptions covering the life of the bond? The debt bond rating is a function of student population and also the growth in property values —both will be greatly impacted thanks to COVID. Has this analysis been done?
The finance committee’s function was to develop possible bond amounts to guide the overall committee on the impact of size and length of bond options. Student demographics does not factor into that calculation. The finance committee did discuss and present an initial $3.5 billion option to the complete committee. At the request of the overall committee, adjustments were made to arrive at the $3.7 billion option. The valuation growth model projects property value growth percentage that decreases over time: 2020-2022 – 5%; 2023 – 4%; 2024 – 3.5%; 2025-2026 – 3%; 2027 – 2.5%; 2028-2029 – 2%; 2030-2031 – 1.5%; 2032-2033 – 1.25%; 2034-2060 – 1%. If for any reason, the collective valuation growth and prevailing interest rates will not allow for the current tax rate to remain constant, the district will adjust the timing and/or amount of future sales.
The majority of a debt rating is based on the financial condition and stability of the district. The handling of the fluctuations in student population is a minor part of the evaluation. The district recently received our rating for the $300 million bond sale for July 14, 2020. All three rating agencies maintained our high current ratings.
What is the difference between capital funds and operating funds? Many community members I spoke with about the bond needed more information.
Operating funds, or general funds, are the bulk of the funds used for the day-to-day operations of a school district. Salaries, benefits, and expenses like electricity, materials and supplies for classrooms are paid out of the general fund.
Capital funds are used to build new facilities and do major renovations and additions usually through bond programs approved by voters. Because these funds are designated for capital assets, salaries and costs for consumables are generally not paid out of this fund.
Why do the areas that are benefiting the most from the bonds not pay for the bonds themselves (increase tax rates in which new elementary schools are being built) as property values should increase in these areas.
Property tax is paid by all property owners within the district boundaries based the value of each property. The tax rate is uniformly applied to those values.
How can voters be assured there will be no tax rate increase? This was also said of the 2015 Bond, and, yet, shortly after its passage there was an increase in tax rate through the TRE.
There are two property taxes that fund the district. Maintenance and Operations (M & O) for general operations of the district and Interest and Sinking (I & S) for the payment of debt only. For the 2015 bond issue, no increase to the I&S tax rate was projected and those projections have held true. Projections for the 2020 bond proposal continue to reflect the I&S rate to remain at 24.2. The TRE was proposed to the voters to provide additional resources for the operation of the district through the M & O tax rate.
In eighth grade, they have the laptops, but what is being done to provide students with reliable WiFi?
Operation Connectivity is part of the Bond 2020 proposal and seeks to provide wireless Internet access to students on and off campus.
Please provide a numeric breakdown of the reasons that student homes lack internet connectivity. Is it a lack of wiring/availability at homes, lack of monthly fees for internet services, difficulty qualifying for internet service, etc.?
There are many reasons why families may not have Internet access at home. While students were learning at home this spring, Dallas ISD provided hotspots to students who did not have Internet access at home. Operation Connectivity, included in the Bond 2020 proposal, will continue to provide Internet access at home.
Does the bond program include technology for teachers who might need to work from home teaching class?
The Bond 2020 proposal includes funds for planned replacement of student and teacher computing devices, computer labs, audio visual equipment, 3D printers for STEM classes, and e-sports equipment. Teachers have laptops that they can use to work from home when necessary.
Safety and security
Why do we need $5 million on weapons detection? What about infrared tools to measure temperatures?
The weapons detection system is a more effective and efficient system that will replace the existing metal detectors at schools and facilities to continue to provide safe and secure learning environments throughout the district.
Can you define police equipment?
Police equipment includes handheld radios that allow direct communication with the Dallas Police Department when needed; dispatch/emergency operations radios to provide real-time information to officers; mobile data terminals for vehicles; in-car cameras to record traffic stops and detainees in the back seat; protective equipment; portable pole cameras that can be relocated as needed; a visitor management system for all campuses; and a report management system that allows for logging all calls and reports for the department.
Can these facilities be leveraged on usage for the community to be available during non-school times?
While details on specific services provided at the student and family resource centers are still being determined, the idea is that these facilities will serve families at times convenient to them.
How did the district decide to attribute $40 million dollars to the community hubs? We need a lot more details on these Racial Equity projects.
The $40 million estimate was based on industry square footage construction estimates. The Racial Equity Office has been holding community meetings to determine what services will be provided at each center based on the community’s needs. For more information, visit www.dallasisd.org/resourcecenters.