By Mary Alys Cherry
Clear Creek ISD had some very favorable news for taxpayers at its May school board meeting – that the maximum tax rate increase for its 2013 bond is projected to be 8.5 cents or 2.75 cents less than authorized by voters when they went to the polls last May.
At that time, a tax rate increase of 11.25 cents to fund $367 million in bond projects was approved by seven in ten voters. However, as a result of favorable interest rates and conservative financial planning, the maximum tax rate increase is projected now at 8.5 cents.
“This 2.75 cent savings on the tax rate represents a substantial positive impact for the taxpayers of Clear Creek ISD,” said Paul McLarty, deputy superintendent of business services. The school board adopted a variable-rate plan to finance $150 million of the of the first $200 million bond sale last December at an average rate of 1.31 percent. The remaining $50 million was placed at a fixed rate of 3.4 percent.
The combination of the very low variable rate debt, combined with better than expected fixed rate debt, provided the district with an estimated $51 million in interest rate savings through the life of the bonds, McLarty told the school board trustees.
“CCISD is consistently watching the interest market and refinances debt at lower rates no different than people do on their own homes,” Communications Director Elaina Polsen said. “Over the last ten years, these efforts have led to a $35.8 million in interest savings of previous bonds.”
The bond news came just before CCISD broke ground on two bond projects – one of which was the $98 million Clear Lake High School rebuild project with projected completion in January 2017. Hundreds of families, former alumni and faculty toured the 1970s building one last time and enjoyed a food-fair hosted by Clear Lake High School clubs, Polsen said. Groundbreaking for the $30 million McWhirter Elementary rebuild was held Thursday, May 29, she added.