School upgrades ahead in Eagle Mountain-Saginaw, HEB districts’ bond elections
New and refreshed classrooms appeared to be coming to the Eagle Mountain-Saginaw and Hurst-Euless-Bedford school districts after partial unofficial results showed voters approving hundreds of millions of dollars in bond projects.
However, a pair of athletics-related proposals were on their way to failing in Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD.
HEB ISD’s two-part, nearly $1 billion proposal to upgrade the district’s aging schools was on its way to approval, according to unofficial election results on Nov. 7. Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD voters were leaning toward approving two propositions totaling $561.1 million and saying no to two proposals worth $98 million.
As of 11:15 p.m. Nov. 7, both of HEB ISD’s bond propositions each had more than 60% of voters saying yes. Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD’s Prop A and B had more than 55% of voters approving, while Prop C and D were rejected by about 55%.
The Tarrant County Elections Department reported 36% of votes were counted.
HEB ISD’s Prop A will cost $979.3 million, and it’s intended for new facilities, including new high schools and elementary schools.
“It’s a size issue. It’s an infrastructure issue,” said the district’s chief public relations and marketing officer, Deanne Hullender.
Prop B, totaling $18 million, is directed toward updating technology. Now, every student will be fitted with either an iPad or a Google Chromebook, according to HEB ISD.
The school district’s tax rate will increase 5 cents to 97.41 cents per $100 of property valuation. The rate will see incremental increases through the next four years, starting in 2024.
This is the first time HEB ISD has put a bond up for election since 2018, when a $199 million bond passed that focused on the refurbishment of the district’s junior high campuses.
This time, L.D. Bell High School and Trinity High School will be completely replaced. Another four elementary schools will be replaced by fall 2027.
The two high schools will be the more comprehensive projects, according to HEB ISD. At Trinity High School, 11 different buildings must be torn down and rebuilt.
Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD proposed a four-part, $659.1 million bond to manage an influx of 4,765 new students over the next seven years. The district covers 73 square miles in northwest Tarrant County and includes Saginaw, Blue Mound and portions of Fort Worth.
The bond package was Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD’s second in a year. In 2022, voters overwhelmingly denied a $275 million package.
Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD voters appeared to approve the bulk of the district’s proposal.
Prop A is $540.9 million and would fund the construction of four new campuses, improvements at other schools, an agricultural sciences building and better security.
Prop B, which will fund the purchase of devices and other technology, was ahead, too. At $20.2 million, it is the smallest of the four proposals.
Prop C called for $47 million to improve Saginaw High School’s athletics building, and Prop D called for a $51 million swimming facility. Early return show voters rejecting both.
Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD officials do not expect the bond to affect property taxes by much. The district’s chief financial officer expects the school board will increase the debt service by one-tenth of a cent for the 2024-25 school year.
The average homeowner would pay less than $3 a year to support the bond, officials previously said.
“It doesn’t put any significant burden on our taxpayers. We owe it to our children to take this bond forward,” Brent Ranabargar, an Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD parent, previously said.
Matthew Sgroi is a reporting fellow for the Fort Worth Report. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.