By LIBBY CLUETT
STRAWN – A $5 million Strawn ISD bond election, to tear down the old school and build anew, has caused concerns among the district’s residents and taxpayers.
In a regular school board meeting Monday, lasting over two hours, trustees heard the sentiments from area residents and taxpayers.
Bill Hinkson, Greg Crawford, Mike Mallory, Alton Harris, Kirk Hinkson and Alan Alison were among those who voiced their respective concerns during the meeting’s public forum. Some, including former trustees and business owner Lisa Hodgkins, were in support of the bond.
The proposed 25-year bond would increase taxes as much as 45 cents per $100 taxable value, according to financial information on the election. The district’s current tax rate is its maintenance-and-operations rate of $1.04. Strawn has not had an interest-and-sinking tax rate for many years, according to bond information.
However, many shared concerns Monday that the proposed 45-cent interest-and-sinking rate would increase taxpayer’s taxes by 43.26 percent. For a taxpayer with a net home value of $60,000 the annual tax increase would be $382.50, according to the financial information sheet. For property with a taxable value of $185,000, the increase could be as much as $832.50.
“Forty-three percent is huge,” said Kirk Hinkson.
If the bond passes, the district would pay between $314,000 and $318,000 annually over the next 25 years on the $5 million bond.
The proposed bond “is all for academics, it’s not for athletics, it’s for construction of facilities,” said Interim Superintendent Lane Jackson.
“It’s not for buses or acquisition of land.”
Jackson read from the ballot draft that the election is for “the issuance of bonds for the construction, renovation, acquisition and equipment of school buildings and the levying of the tax in payment thereof.”
“It’s going to be for construction,” he said. “New construction. It leaves the door open in case they want to renovate something. It does include demolition or partial demolition.