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Richardson ISD Proposes $750 Million Property Tax Bond

Five years after the passage of their last bond, Richardson Independent School District (ISD) is primed to move forward with another this year to the tune of $750 million.

The district’s Bond Steering Committee (BSC) recommended a tax rate of $1.40 per $100 of evaluation — while not a rate increase, a real dollar increase above the 2.5 percent allowed by Senate Bill 2 without voter ratification.

For a median homeowner in Richardson, their school district property tax bill would increase about $240 to roughly $3,750.

From 2019 to 2020, Richardson ISD added $85.8 million in taxable property values to the rolls.

Richardson ISD’s school board will now have to consider the bond and, if they choose to move forward with the BSC’s recommendation, will put the proposition on the May ballot.

One main purpose of the bond will be to move sixth-graders out of elementary schools and in with seventh and eighth graders — transitioning from the junior high to the middle school model.

To complete this change, school officials say the “replacement and substantial renovation of campuses” is necessary.

BSC member Megan Martin said during the bond presentation, “You’re going to see the impact of this bond in your kid’s school. You’re going to see it in the community. You’re going to see it at football games on Friday nights. You’re going to see it in the theater programs … at graduation.”

As of fall 2019, Richardson ISD projected a 1.1 percent increase in student population for the 2021-2022 school year. Their 10-year forecast projected a nearly 1,500 student enrollment growth.

Their budget for the 2020-2021 school year topped out at just below $500 million.

The school district says 95 percent of the projects financed by the 2016 bond have been completed. The money went toward creating new classrooms, updating classroom technology, and the construction of new, or repairs of existing, infrastructure.

That bond was worth $437 million.

Due to state law that requires technology expense bond propositions to be separated from the rest of expenses, the bond package will be separated into two ballot initiatives should the board move forward.

School districts account for over half of the property taxes collected throughout the state. Collectively, school districts also account for 37 percent of the outstanding local government debt in Texas — which, in total, amounts to $12,500 per citizen.

The school board will vote on the matter on February 8.

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