Mont Belvieu Voters will consider two Bond issues on May 4 ballot

By David Taylor
Managing Editor

Mont Belvieu has traditionally supported bonds proposed by the Barbers Hill Independent School District. Officials are hoping for that same kind of support on May 4 as they address growing enrollment and the expansion of educational opportunities with a campus extension of Lee College in the largest town of Chambers County, outpacing the county seat of Anahuac by 10 times.

The vote for a school bond came during the Jan. 22, 2024, Monday night regular meeting of the board of trustees. The board authorized the $378 million bond that would primarily address new construction of two primary schools and make several improvements throughout the district.

The two primary schools would house students in the first and second grades with a capacity of 1,200 students each.

According to district demographers, BHISD enrollment has grown consistently every year for the past four decades and is considered one of the fastest growing districts in the Houston metro area. Those include Alvin, Barbers Hill, Clear Creek, Cleveland, Conroe, Crosby, Cypress Fairbanks, Dickinson, Huffman, Humble, Katy, Klein, Montgomery, Needville, New Caney, Sheldon, Splendora, and Tomball ISDs.

The two primary schools would bring relief to the elementary schools.

Improvements at the two middle schools are also included and security and safety upgrades are on the list for every school campus. The funds would also provide for the cost of several new buses.

In February, the board also called for an election to approve the building of a new college campus in Mont Belvieu. The college would provide discounted tuition rates for district students and residents.

Both elections will appear on the same ballot, and neither will require a tax rate.

The district says this will allow them the ability to proactively manage the growth.

The college election would enable Barbers Hill and Lee College to expand educational opportunities locally and provide training for students to help meet the workforce and industry needs of Chambers County.

According to the district website, they are proposing a 60,000 square foot two-story building potentially at the corner of FM 1409 and the Gill Parkway.

If approved, the district says there would be no tax rate increase on any taxpayer.

“Currently, approximately 78 percent of our over 65 or disabled pay no school property tax because of the Barbers Hill, state-leading over 65 exemption,” the website confirms. “Those over 65 who pay property tax will see no increase to their school tax bill due to their existing tax ceiling.”

Pass or fail, the total tax rate will remain at $1.1024, the lowest in 33 years.

The low rate is made possible by the largest tax reduction bill ever signed in Texas. The $18 billion tax reduction bill combined with compression brought property tax relief to Texans across the state.

The board took an additional step by reducing the Interest and Sinking funds rate (I&S) by five cents to offset a successful college election.

According to state law, the branch campus maintenance tax can never exceed five cents on each $100 valuation of all taxable property and the money must be spent to support the Barbers Hill college campus.

School board elections have been settled with all three candidates—Position 5 Becky Tice, Position 6 Eric Davis, and Position 7 Fred Skinner—declared elected since they ran unopposed.

Early voting began on April 22 and continues through April 30. Election Day is May 4. To find more about the elections, visit the district’s website at https://www.bhisd.net/district/elections.

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