Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD Bond 2023

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are general questions and answers regarding school district bond referendums as well as responses specific to each of the four proposed propositions and the projects included in each. If you have additional questions not referenced in the FAQs, please email your questions using the Let’s Talk! online portal. Check back regularly for updates.

General Bond Information

School districts are required by state law to ask voters for permission to sell bonds to investors in order to raise the capital dollars required for projects such as renovation to existing buildings or building a new school. If voters approve the bond referendum, they essentially give the district permission to take out a loan and pay that loan back over an extended period of time, much like a family takes out a mortgage loan for their home. 

Residents who live within the Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD boundaries, are 18 years of age on or before election day, are a U.S. citizen, and are registered to vote by the October 10 deadline can participate in the November 7 bond election. To see if you are registered, or to register by the October 10 deadline, visit the voter registration site.

The 2023 bond package was based on recommendations of the EMS ISD Long Range Facility Planning Committee, which is comprised of 55 active parents, non-parents, civic and business leaders, and staff liaisons representing all high school attendance zones. They began working in January 2023 to study the condition of the district’s existing facilities, projected enrollment growth, classroom capacities, and operational systems. To collect feedback from the broader community, the district also conducted three facility-focused surveys from May 2022 to August 2023. Committee members used all this information to establish priorities, develop options, and ultimately provide priorities to the district and a charge to prepare a bond package for the Board’s and community’s consideration. The committee’s final recommendation was presented to the EMS ISD Board of Trustees on August 15, 2023. That same night, the Board unanimously called (7-0) for a November 2023 school bond election that includes four propositions. Information about the Long Range Facility Planning Committee is available on the district’s informational 2023 bond website.

Bond funds can be used to pay for projects including new buildings, additions and renovations to existing facilities, purchase of land, technology devices and/or infrastructure, safety and security equipment, operational systems upgrades, and equipment/furniture for new or existing buildings. Bonds cannot be used for teacher salaries or other regular operating costs such as utility bills, supplies, daily building maintenance, fuel, and insurance.

The November 2023 bond package addresses current and future growth, safety and security, upkeep of aging facilities and systems, and standardization and facility equity. If approved by voters, the total proposed amount of $659.1 million will fund new construction projects, replacement campuses, addition/renovation projects, safety and security improvements, technology upgrades, priority maintenance projects, athletic improvements, land purchases and a natatorium. The bond package is presented to voters in four propositions, and voters will have the opportunity to cast a vote for or against each individual proposition. View a breakdown of all four bond propositions and a full list of included projects.

If voters approve all four propositions, EMS ISD homeowners can expect an increase of $.0010, or one-tenth of a penny, in the local tax rate on a primary homestead beginning in tax year 2024. This equates to less than $3 on the average annual 2023 primary homestead residence.

Also on the November ballot will be a statewide constitutional amendment that, if approved, will increase the primary homestead exemption from $40,000 to $100,000. This is designed to provide property tax relief to taxpayers across the state, which will equate to an estimated average savings of $746 on the current value of the average home in EMS ISD with a homestead exemption. If the amendment passes, the projected tax impact on the average EMS ISD homesteaded residence from the proposed 2023 bond package would still be less than $3 a year.

The maximum term for bonds allowed by law is 40 years. Most EMS bonds are 30-35 years. For projects with a shorter life expectancy (i.e., technology, equipment, etc.), bond terms are matched with the life of the asset. This ensures taxpayers do not end up paying for items that the school district is no longer able to use.

School districts in Texas operate under a budget consisting of two tax-supported portions. One is the maintenance and operations fund and the other is the debt service fund (I&S). Tax rates to support both funds are limited by State Law. The maintenance and operations fund supports not only daily maintenance and operations of buildings but also teacher salaries, benefits, and student programs. The I&S (debt fund) supports larger capital improvements and equipment expenditures where it is not feasible to pay for an improvement within a given fiscal budget year. The debt is spread out over an extended period, much like a homeowner’s mortgage.

While the district cannot predict a pandemic or other global event, consideration for typical interest rate fluctuations and supply issues was included in the development of this bond proposal. All projects include contingency funds to cover reasonable, unforeseen impacts.

If the bond proposal does not pass, the district has limited options on managing growth. Bond elections are the primary means that districts have under state law to fund capital improvements such as new buildings, renovations, etc., without impacting the operational (daily) budget for salaries, supplies, etc. Outside of bond programs, growth management options for districts include adding portable classrooms, adjusting class sizes, and/or adjusting school attendance boundaries to balance enrollments.

Since the passage of the 2017 bond, most of the bond program has been completed. There are a few projects remaining, the largest of which being Eagle Mountain High School. The district’s fourth comprehensive high school is under construction and is set to open in August 2024. General maintenance projects such as some HVAC, landscaping and signage work also is being completed throughout the district. 

In addition to these projects from the 2017 bond are $10 million in improvements to indoor athletic areas at Saginaw High School and $5 million allocated toward a natatorium partnership. Depending on the outcome of the November 2023 bond referendum, these funds will either be combined with funds allocated in this newest bond to complete them, or if the bond referendum is unsuccessful, these funds will still be used for these projects independently. Additional information about these projects is available under the FAQs for Proposition C and Proposition D. The funds approved in the 2017 bond remain in reserve for these identified projects.

The only remaining school construction project unable to be completed from the 2017 bond is the replacement of Wayside Middle School. The replacement was originally scheduled to begin in 2025 with a completion date of 2026. This project was directly affected by the unprecedented increase in construction prices stimulated by the COVID pandemic. The historical norm for increases in construction prices is 3-5% annually. The construction industry experienced significant price increases due to COVID, with construction prices rising as much as 25% in one year. The availability and cost of materials, supply chain delays, personnel expenses, etc., all contributed to this escalation. This inflation affected all remaining projects not under contract for pricing. As a result, the unexpected and unprecedented increase in construction prices exceeded the bond allowance that voters approved in 2017. Below is a chart illustrating overall building construction cost increases due to COVID inflation:

The usage of glass in our new facilities is directly related to two factors: the benefit of natural light and modern lighting systems. We incorporate natural light into as many spaces as possible in our new schools for students and staff to experience the health and emotional benefits. It provides an interaction with the outside, while still maintaining secured spaces. While it may be perceived to be more expensive than traditional materials, like brick, it is not. Traditional construction requires brick installed by brick masons, weather proofing, framing, insulation, sheetrock, and painting, as well as additional construction supports to hold up the brick. Glass does not require multiple contractors or materials, which provides cost savings over brick. In addition, these systems are complimented by interior lighting systems that must adhere to the current energy codes, which include LED lighting and dimmable lighting. These systems will automatically adjust based on the amount of ambient light; therefore, saving electricity expenses.

It is a common misperception that a stadium at every high school is more expensive than one mega stadium serving all schools. District leaders, as well as independent architects who work with the district, have studied both models and run cost comparisons, and it is actually more cost effective to have stadiums at each high school than to have one stadium for multiple schools.

Much of the cost savings comes from not having to have competition stadiums at our middle schools. EMS ISD middle school teams play their competitive games at one of our three high schools. The middle school fields are specifically practice facilities; therefore, they do not have lights, public address systems, concession stands, public restrooms, a press box, additional bleachers, and locker room space for visiting teams. These would be necessary if these were competition spaces. In addition, a single stadium typically has standalone parking that is used only for these events. In EMS ISD, stadium parking is also used for student parking during the school day. Finally, a standalone stadium for a multi-high school district is typically larger than our campus stadiums. These factors negate the cost difference in a standalone stadium versus campus stadiums.

Other results include the ability to have our varsity games on a Friday night and to have a true home field for games. In districts with multiple high schools using one standalone stadium, games on Thursdays and Saturdays are typical. Also, every team has to travel to a centralized stadium, increasing transportation expenses and time out of classrooms.   

You will notice that each EMS ISD high school stadium is very busy throughout the week, especially during the fall. Having a stadium at every high school was a choice made with the opening of Saginaw High School in 2005 and has allowed us to meet the needs of a growing community and growing programs at both the high schools and middle schools.

There are three primary ways a school district has to repay debt: school tax rate, property values, and development of agricultural land into residential or commercial properties. Dr. Chadwell explains further in the following videos.

Proposition A

Proposition A addresses current and future growth for the district and includes replacement and new facilities, safety and security items, maintenance and upgrades of aging equipment and systems, standardization and equity of facilities, and purchase of land for district facilities. Specifically, capital improvement projects in the proposition include replacement campuses for Wayside Middle School and Saginaw Elementary School, a new middle school (#7), a new elementary school (#19), an addition to Watson High School, and a new Agriculture Sciences Building. Voters will consider a $540.9 million bond measure for Proposition A.

Timelines of projects directly correlate with enrollment growth, so if growth patterns change from what is currently projected, then those timelines could be adjusted. But in general, with voter approval, the following timeline is projected:

    • -Replacement Wayside Middle – Work would begin in Spring 2024 with a targeted open date of Fall 2025. Projected cost: $114 million.
    • – Middle School #7 – Work would begin in 2026 with a targeted open date of August 2027. Projected cost: $126 million.
  • – Addition to Watson High School – Work would begin in 2026 with a targeted open date of 2027. Projected cost: $5 million.
  • – Elementary School #19 – Work would begin in 2028 with a targeted open date of August 2029. Projected cost: $74 million.
  • – Replacement Saginaw Elementary – Construction would be targeted to begin in 2029. Projected cost: $87 million.
  • – New Agriculture Science Building – Work would begin in 2029. Projected cost: $12.5 million.

This would be on the site of the former administration building, just south of the current Wayside campus on Old Decatur Road.

Students would continue to attend classes in the existing Wayside school building while the replacement campus is being built. The new Wayside would be targeted to open in fall 2025.

Locations have not been finalized but, in general, middle school #7 and elementary school #19 would be in the northern area of the school district where the heaviest growth is expected over the next few years.

Saginaw Elementary is currently the oldest school building in the district and has a long legacy that dates to the late 19th Century. The first Saginaw School opened as a tuition school on McLeroy Boulevard in 1892 and became a public school in 1893. In 1913, land in a new location on McLeroy was donated and new two-story brick schoolhouse was built. That building was then replaced in 1935-1937 with a new structure funded through the Works Progress Administration (WPA). Since the WPA era, several renovations have occurred, including an addition to the building in 1965 and significant structural and materials upgrades in the gymnasium.

The WPA building does have a subject marker from the Texas Historical Commission sharing the school’s history, but it is not an official registered historical site protected by preservation requirements. EMS ISD leaders recognize and respect the historical significance of Saginaw ES in our community. Intentional efforts would be made to honor and acknowledge the school’s history within the new design, such as keeping elements such as the original school bell that exist on the property today. Additionally, EMS ISD leaders desire to maintain the original WPA-era classrooms and auditorium, barring any unforeseen conditions such as the impact of current building codes, management of storm water drainage, etc. Through the design process, district officials would work to preserve the history of the building while also providing a safe, functional, and efficient learning environment that meets today’s educational standards.

The proposed replacement Saginaw Elementary would be built on the existing site, and enrollment growth would be accommodated with a two-story school and site development to support traffic flow. If Proposition A is approved, design work would begin in 2029. Renovation of buildings of this age quite often have significant issues that must be addressed, and it is important that we take time to thoroughly inspect and determine the scope of work, and to assess the total impact to taxpayers before committing to the final design. Community input would be invited and important in the design process of the replacement building.

Students would need to be relocated to either Hatley Elementary School, which opened in August 2023, or Elementary #19, which would have an anticipated open date of fall 2028. Bus service would be provided for SES students during the temporary relocation. The replacement Saginaw Elementary would be targeted to open in fall 2030.

Safety and security items proposed include the addition of vestibule buzz-in systems at middle and high schools, playground surface improvements at 17 elementary campuses, additional security cameras at various locations across the district, additional exterior fencing, and additional communications equipment for the EMS ISD Police Department.

The district currently owns seven future facility sites of different sizes and locations. The district will always attempt to use land it already owns to build a facility if a site is located where the enrollment growth dictates. The district also closely monitors areas of future growth and looks to purchase land in anticipation of future enrollment in these areas. This proposal would provide locations for a future elementary site in the northern portion of district as well as future facilities to support projected growth.

This is the cumulative estimation of all the projects reflected in Proposition A to address current and future growth for the district including new and replacement facilities, safety and security items, maintenance and upgrades of aging equipment and systems, standardization and equity of facilities, and purchase of land for district facilities. Costs are based on current industry pricing with contingencies included for future inflation or other unforeseen impacts.

Yes, the replacement of Wayside Middle School was approved as part of the 2017 bond program. It is the only remaining school construction project unable to be completed from the 2017 bond. The replacement was originally scheduled to begin in 2025 with a completion date of 2026. This project was directly affected by the unprecedented increase in construction prices stimulated by the COVID pandemic. The historical norm for increases in construction prices is 3-5% annually. The construction industry experienced significant price increases due to COVID, with construction prices rising as much as 25% in one year. The availability and cost of materials, supply chain delays, personnel expenses, etc., all contributed to this escalation. This was not limited to commercial construction projects; homeowners also experienced this industry-wide escalation with items for their homes such as heating/air conditioning systems, roofing, pool pumps, material expenses, etc. For the 2017 bond program, this inflation affected all remaining projects not under contract for pricing. As a result, the unexpected and unprecedented increase in construction prices exceeded the bond allowance that voters approved in 2017. Below is a chart illustrating overall building construction cost increases due to COVID inflation:

Covid inflation

When the 2017 bond program was approved and projects were started in 2018, construction prices were escalating at a predictable rate (3-5% annually). The COVID pandemic resulted in an unprecedented increase in construction prices of as much as 25% in one year. The availability and cost of materials, supply chain delays, personnel expenses, etc., all contributed to this escalation. Several capital improvement projects from the 2017 bond were already under contract when COVID became a pandemic in 2020 and these projects were not impacted by inflationary increases. These included the Boswell athletic renovations and the district administration building. Those projects were able to be completed within the available funds in the 2017 bond. The two largest projects, Eagle Mountain High School and Wayside Middle School, were not yet under contract. Not being under contract meant construction pricing on these projects was subject to COVID-related increases. Below is a chart illustrating building construction cost increases for EMHS due to COVID inflation:

Given these significant cost increases, the district was faced with a decision regarding the remaining projects in the 2017 bond – which projects could be completed at the new construction prices with the funds available in the 2017 bond? Considerations included:

  • – Enrollment projections at the time indicated that high school enrollment was an immediate priority;
  • – Due to the scope of the Eagle Mountain High School project, construction pricing had the potential to escalate more quickly and more significantly than the other remaining projects;
  • – The $78 million in funding allocated for Wayside closely matched the amount of COVID-related increases for the Eagle Mountain High School project.

As a result, the decision was made to move forward with using the available bond funds for the Eagle Mountain High School project, which meant the new Wayside campus was not able to begin.

In May 2022, a proposal for additional funds to compensate for COVID inflation to complete the 2017 bond program was brought to voters for consideration but the election did not pass. If approved in November 2023, Wayside Middle School would be the first project on the bond timeline, scheduled to begin in late winter/early spring 2024 with a targeted open date of fall 2025.

The new Wayside would be built on the site of the former administration building on Old Decatur Road, just south of the current Wayside building. In order to provide room for Wayside, the district administration facilities had to move off the land on Old Decatur Road before the Wayside project could begin. The new Wayside Middle School would utilize the entire property and would include additional features to detain water runoff on the property.

Lake Country and Elizabeth Lopez Hatley elementary schools were built with funds approved in the 2008 bond authorization by voters. The district is unable to use funds authorized from a previous bond for a new purpose; a new election would have to be called for voter approval. As such, pricing and construction of Lake Country and Hatley elementary schools did not impact the district’s ability to build a new Wayside Middle School. The construction of these two elementary schools also demonstrates that although originally expected to be built earlier, the District did not do so until actual enrollment determined it was necessary.

Proposition B

This proposition includes technology items including student devices as well as an expansion of the network infrastructure districtwide to accommodate the technology load on the network due to enrollment growth. The district supports a 1:1 model for student technology, meaning every student has access to a district-owned technology device for their classes each school year. Voters will consider a $20.2 million bond measure for Proposition B.

Over a five-year period in the bond, the district anticipates replacing nearly 30,000 student devices. This is in addition to adding devices as new students enroll in the district.

Bonds for short-term assets such as technology devices are funded with short-term bonds; in other words, the term for the bond matches the life of the asset. EMS ISD operates a five-year replacement cycle for devices, so bonds would be for terms of no more than five years. Using bond funds to purchase student devices rather than leasing them relieves the Maintenance and Operations budget that is used for salaries, supplies and daily operating expenditures.

Technology infrastructure includes replacing the wireless networks at Chisholm Trail High School and Saginaw High School that have not been updated since 2012 and 2013, respectively. In addition, infrastructure upgrades will include battery backups, access points, and replacement of fiber optic cabling that has reached end-of-life or been damaged. Other items include the districtwide telephone system not updated since 2015, upgrades and replacements of the district’s data centers, and general expansion of the network to support enrollment growth.

The district spends approximately $715 per student for technology devices and equipment at the current level of service. With the projected student enrollment growth over the next five years, future technology costs are estimated at $20.2 million when accounting for inflation.

Proposition C

Proposition C pertains to the renovations and additions to the Saginaw High School Athletics areas including a new indoor multi-purpose facility and expanded locker rooms, weight room, training room and team room. No renovations or additions to the stadium or outdoor fields are proposed. Voters will consider a $47 million bond measure for Proposition C.

The indoor athletic training areas at Saginaw High School have not been renovated since the school was built in 2005. The SHS turf room is the smallest in size compared to the other district high schools. The current SHS turf room is 10,948 square feet as compared to Boswell and Eagle Mountain HS, which are 42,972 square feet. A new indoor facility would increase the footprint of the current building and would provide equity with the facilities at Boswell as well as the new Eagle Mountain HS that is currently under construction.

The current athletic facility is used by approximately 330 students each day for athletic classes, before/after school practices, and other program activities. Additionally, activities outside of athletics such as marching band, drill/dance teams, and cheerleading have access to the indoor multipurpose facility, which allows programs to continue training and rehearsals in situations such as inclement weather. A high school indoor training facility is open to every sport and organization at the school and also is used for school banquets, staff trainings, and special events.

  • The proposal also includes increasing the size of both male and female locker rooms, which will provide more space for changing, hygiene and grooming areas as well as improved sight lines for supervision. Locker rooms are used by student athletes in football, track and field, cross country, soccer, tennis, baseball and softball.
  • The team room is an athletic classroom where students and coaches analyze game film, teamwork strategies, and conduct instructional elements of athletic learning of their particular sport(s).
  • The training room is used to treat and rehab injured student athletes and meet with parents about their student’s health progress. SHS has three athletic trainers who operate in the same space to serve all student athletes at the school. In 2022-2023, SHS trainers provided 4,022 treatments to student athletes, with care including prevention, recognition, assessment, management, treatment and reconditioning of injuries.


If Proposition C is approved, the renovations and expansion would be slated to begin in the 2026-2027 school year.

The cost for this project is based on the size of the facility to accommodate current and future student use and upgrades to make the facility equitable to facilities at Boswell High School and Eagle Mountain High School.

The 2017 bond program included $10 million for SHS athletic improvements to renovate locker rooms and the training and weight rooms, and to provide general maintenance improvements to the Saginaw High School Fieldhouse. These funds have not been expended and are available for renovation purposes. However, the increase in construction prices due to COVID-related inflation has resulted in the $10 million not going as far as originally planned. In addition, this 2017 bond item did not include an indoor activity center, which is a part of the November 2023 proposal. If the November 2023 bond referendum is not approved, $10 million is available to make limited renovations to the existing facility.

Proposition D

A natatorium is a swimming facility for all district water sports and to provide community programming including learn-to-swim and drown-prevention programs, health and fitness classes, and special events in association with a community management partner. The district is currently in negotiations with the YMCA for a natatorium partnership. Voters will consider a $51 million bond measure for Proposition D.

In the 2017 bond, voters approved $5 million to be allocated toward a natatorium. At that time, those funds were to be used in partnership with a community organization, specifically the YMCA, to build a natatorium as part of a YMCA facility for the community. The $5 million was originally intended to supplement YMCA funding for its new facility, providing EMS ISD access to the natatorium portion for its water sports. The COVID downturn impacted the YMCA’s efforts to secure funding for their portion of the partnership at the time, but negotiations and funding efforts have resumed. Without the YMCA funding, $5 million from the 2017 bond is not enough to build a stand-alone district natatorium. If proposition D is approved, the $5 million will be used with proposition D funds for the new natatorium.

Area school districts that have natatorium facilities include Northwest ISD, Keller ISD, Grapevine-Colleyville ISD, Carroll ISD, Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD, Crowley ISD, and Prosper ISD. EMS ISD Athletics personnel and members of the Long-Range Facility Planning Committee visited several neighboring district natatoriums as part of their research.

A natatorium would be used by the competitive EMS ISD Swim Team, which currently is comprised of 100 swimmers from all three (soon to be four) district high schools. Through an agreement with a community management partner, all EMS ISD second graders (1,600+children) would have the opportunity to participate for free in a drowning-prevention program each year. The facility also would be available to host classes and events, swim clubs, learn-to-swim and water safety lessons, and community and private events.


The EMS ISD Swim Team currently leases pool time from Tarrant County College’s Northwest campus. They practice early in the morning and, due to other programs offered at the TCC pool, the district swimmers do not have access to the pool at other times during the day.

The district owns property north of Marine Creek Middle School. This would be a likely location for a district-owned natatorium or a new YMCA facility with a natatorium partnership for district use.

If Proposition D is approved, the natatorium project would be slated to begin in the 2024-2025 school year.

Costs were based on current construction estimates for a stand-alone facility that is sized appropriately to accommodate district UIL swim meets (4-5 per year) and would include spectator seating up to 250 as well as concessions, locker rooms, and related amenities. This amount also includes estimates for required ventilation and dehumidification systems as well as safety, operational, and efficiency features that are standard in newer EMS ISD facilities. District Athletics officials, as well as members of the community Long-Range Facility Planning Committee, researched and visited natatorium facilities in neighboring school districts to identify features to be considered for an EMS ISD natatorium.

Scroll to Top