Voters on Tuesday will get the chance to vote on a variety of important issues, including proposed Jacksonville ISD school expansion and statewide water rights.
Early voting concluded Friday for the $22.8 million Jacksonville ISD bond election and the election for nine proposed statewide constitutional amendments.
JISD: If approved by voters, this Nov. 5 bond election could finance the construction of a new West Side Elementary School as well as eight new classrooms and a band hall at Nichols Intermediate School.
West Side Elementary – constructed in 1951 – right now has 46 outside entrances, which makes it difficult to keep secured and also is overcrowded (built for 399 students but housing 473), JISD Superintendent Dr. Joe Wardell has said. There are as many as 11 different buildings on the campus, and are ver unsecured and unsafe, he has said.
The bond election is designed to address certain existing problems such as Nichols Intermediate School being built for 651 students but having 723 currently enrolled. Also, as many as 133 band students are having difficulty crowding into the band hall at its current size.
Should voters embrace the proposed bond, it would cost the average Jacksonville ISD homeowner an additional $5.16 per month in property taxes, Dr. Wardell said. Senior homesteads should be unaffected because their taxes are frozen.
CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT ELECTION: Officials such as State Rep. Travis Clardy, R-Nacogdoches, have continually urged voters to fight back against the historic drought, vote in favor of water rights and approve Proposition 6 in particular.
Proposition 6 would create the State Water Implementation Fund, otherwise known as SWIFT, and appropriate $2 billion for it from the Economic Stabilization Fund.
These funds will help finance priority water projects – including rural water projects – to ensure Texas has adequate water resources for the future. The Texas Water Development Board would be directed on how to use this fund.. Implementation of SWIFT might not be completed until March 2015, according to reports.
The other proposed amendments, according to the office of Texas Secretary of State John Steen, include:
1. Proposition 1 – (HJR 62) The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to provide for an exemption from ad valorem taxation of all or part of the market value of the residence homestead of the surviving spouse of a member of the armed services of the United States who is killed in action.
2. Proposition 2 – (HJR 79) The constitutional amendment eliminating an obsolete requirement for a State Medical Education Board and a State Medical Education Fund, neither of which is operational.
3. Proposition 3 – (HJR 133) The constitutional amendment to authorize a political subdivision of this state to extend the number of days that aircraft parts that are exempt from ad valorem taxation due to their location in this state for a temporary period may be located in this state for purposes of qualifying for the tax exemption.
4. Proposition 4 – (HJR 24) The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to provide for an exemption from ad valorem taxation of part of the market value of the residence homestead of a partially disabled veteran or the surviving spouse of a partially disabled veteran if the residence homestead was donated to the disabled veteran by a charitable organization.
5. Proposition 5 – (SJR 18) The constitutional amendment to authorize the making of a reverse mortgage loan for the purchase of homestead property and to amend lender disclosures and other requirements in connection with a reverse mortgage loan.
7. Proposition 7 – (HJR 87) The constitutional amendment authorizing a home-rule municipality to provide in its charter the procedure to fill a vacancy on its governing body for which the unexpired term is 12 months or less.
8. Proposition 8 – (HJR 147 and SJR 54) The constitutional amendment repealing Section 7, Article IX, Texas Constitution, which relates to the creation of a hospital district in Hidalgo County.
9. Proposition 9 – (SJR 42) The constitutional amendment relating to expanding the types of sanctions that may be assessed against a judge or justice following a formal proceeding instituted by the State Commission on Judicial Conduct.