A Message from the Superintendent: 2023 Bond

A Message from the Superintendent: 2023 Bond
Posted on 04/28/2023

The following letter was published in this week's edition of the Pecos Enterprise: 

Hello, and good day Pecos Community! I am Brent Jaco, Superintendent of Schools for Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD, and I wanted to share information about the upcoming May 2023 Bond election with the community.

Back in May 2021, we passed a bond with the help of voters in the community. The 2021 Bond included a new Career and Technology Education Center for Pecos High School, a new centralized warehouse facility, improvements to our daycare, and two new elementary campuses, both of which will be ready for the first day of school this August.

To date, four of the five 2021 bond projects have either been completed or are under construction. Our final project, the daycare, was approved by the board of trustees a couple of weeks ago, and work will begin this summer. We have put all of the projects in motion and much more. We made a promise to do what we said we would back in the spring of 2021, and we have kept those promises.

In fact, because of increased values from the oil and gas fields, the district has saved taxpayers over $56 million dollars in interest. This is money that does not have to be paid back. The district has paid off over half the 2021 Bond in just two years. Our area's economic climate is strong, allowing the district to structure bonds that create new facilities and save taxpayers.

The May 2023 Bond propositions continue a comprehensive plan developed by a diverse committee of stakeholders represented by citizens and students across the district. Members of that committee formed a recommendation for each bond proposal presented and approved by the PBTISD Board of Trustees.

Over the course of the last couple of months, we have mailed out information to all PBTISD residents detailing the 2023 Bond. PBTISD can fund ALL three propositions included in the May 2023 Bond with the existing tax rate thanks to current tax-assessed valuations. This means there will be NO TAX RATE INCREASE to the taxpayers of PBTISD. It is true that if the values of property go up, more taxes will be paid, but there will be NO TAX RATE INCREASE, and it is very likely that regardless of the outcome of the bond, your values will go up, so …

It is important to note that the ballot language will state differently. In the state of Texas, all school districts must state, “THIS IS A PROPERTY TAX INCREASE” due to state Education Code Chapter 45 Sec. 45.003. (b-1). This is required by state law even if a district can pass a bond without raising its tax rate. There will be NO TAX RATE INCREASE!

97.83% of property tax in PBTISD is attributed to industry, oil, and gas. While only 2.17% is attributed to residential property, commercial, and land. The district can manage ALL three propositions on the ballot with our current tax rate.

The district needs to finish the long-range facility plan and ensure that our students have learning environments that will better prepare them for their future and they will be as equally competitive with their peers across the state.

Proposition A includes two main facility improvements - Pecos High School and Crockett Middle School. Pecos High School is 73 years old this year. The new campus will remain in its current location, creating new classroom and study spaces, fine art spaces, and physical education spaces. Crockett M.S. was built in 1962. This project includes a new two-story academic wing, expansions and renovations to the library and cafeteria, a Career and Technology Education addition, and improved spaces for Special Education and Fine Arts.

Proposition A also includes a couple of other propositions that will definitely benefit the district and our students. Those are improvements to the District’s Transportation Center, which is needed as we increase in student population, and a Professional Development and Parent Support Center.

Proposition B includes a replacement Pecos High School Natatorium. Built in 1981, our facility has been home to a successful swimming and diving program and has supported the local community through various activities and events. This facility is over 40 years old and has outlived its useful life cycle.

Proposition C includes acquiring and updating 1:1 technology equipment for students and staff across the district. These devices allow PBTISD students to use technology that will help them meet the demands of the modern world. The computers also support our teachers to be more flexible in their work and their own personal learning environment.

We know the total of the 2023 Bond may pose concern or worry to you, the taxpayer. A bond election gives authority to the PBTISD Board of Trustees to issue bonds; it does not automatically trigger the sale of the entire amount. The $446,650,000 you will see on your ballot this May will not sell all at once. Based on the timing of the identified bond projects, the bonds will be sold in separate transactions spread over 1-5 years. We have been good stewards of taxpayer money while improving the district's facilities. This bond will finish all the facility needs across the district.

Again, ALL of these projects can be funded with our current tax rate of $1.0605. NO TAX RATE INCREASE!

I encourage you to visit our 2023 Bond Site at pbtisd.net to see all the facts about this bond and its great impact on our community. If you have any questions, contact us through our “Just Ask” form on the website or call us at 432-447-7201. It is imperative that everyone knows and has all the factual information to make your best-educated decision at the polls.

Inspiring and Empowering for Excellence