Trustees to review plan to address some of most pressing facilities needs

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The Dallas ISD Board of Trustees will discuss a plan for the future of the district’s facilities at its briefing on Thursday, Feb. 12. While trustees will be briefed on the first draft of a long term, comprehensive program and facilities plan, they will be asked to consider taking the first steps on a “Bridge Plan” designed to address the district’s most pressing and immediate needs.

Dallas ISD Bridge Plan

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The Bridge Plan aims to provide additional classroom space to serve more pre-K students, add more public school choice campuses to give parents more options for their children and build new facilities or renovate existing campuses in areas where the greatest identified needs exist. The cost for this interim measure would be approximately $172 million.

“We have facilities needs in the district right now that simply cannot wait,” said Mike Koprowski, the district’s Chief of Innovation and Transformation. “The district’s Future Facilities Task Force continues its work on a long-term plan that addresses the bulk of our needs. This interim measure was developed to get our kids the facilities they need and deserve as soon as possible.”

SEE ALSO: Future Facilities Task Force receives draft of recommendations for Comprehensive Plan

The earliest any public vote could be taken to address long-term program and facilities needs would be November 2015. The Bridge Plan allows the district to start work on more than 20 facilities as soon as this spring.

To pay for the Bridge Plan, the administration is proposing the use of a combination of two funding mechanisms, the creation of a public facility corporation and the issuance of maintenance tax notes, both of which can be implemented without a tax increase.

A public facility corporation (PFC) is a financing tool that has been used by school districts and municipalities across Texas. The creation of a PFC would secure approximately $107 million and would need approval by the Board of Trustees who would then serve as its board.  The PFC would sell bonds to finance the construction of facilities and then lease the facilities back to the school district to cover the cost of the bonds. Once the bond debt is paid off, the title to the facilities would automatically transfer to the district.

SEE ALSO: VIDEO: The big picture: How the district plans to enhance facilities, programs

The other funding mechanism would be maintenance tax notes (MTNs), which would generate approximately $65 million. In the Bridge Plan, MTNs would be used to finance the remodeling and repair of existing buildings as well as to purchase and construct high-quality modular facilities to address overcrowding. The issuance of MTNs would also require board approval.

Roughly 53 percent of the proposed Bridge Plan would be used to support facilities needs for Pre-K and public school choice expansion in high need areas across the district.

The remaining 47 percent of funds would be used to tackle the most pressing general facilities needs as identified by a facility condition assessment report by the Parsons engineering firm.  The following schools, which are in need of immediate facility improvements and relief from being significantly overcrowded, would be addressed:

  • B.H. Macon Elementary
  • Edward Titche Elementary
  • Tom Field Elementary
  • W.T. White High School
  • Stonewall Jackson Elementary
  • Seagoville High School
  • Lakewood Elementary
  • Nathan Adams Elementary
  • W.E. Greiner Middle School

In addition, the Bridge Plan calls for a new K-8 choice community school with wraparound services to be built to serve students in South Dallas near the current H.S. Thompson Elementary School.

The full list of proposed Bridge Plan projects can be found on Pages 32-37 by clicking here.

The board briefing to discuss the Bridge Plan and possible creation of a Public Facility Corporation will begin at 11:30 a.m. on Thursday in the Dallas ISD Administration Building at 3700 Ross Avenue. The soonest that the board could approve of financing the interim plan through a PFC and issuance of MTNs would be at its next regular meeting on Thursday, Feb. 26.

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