Frisco ISD considering $700 million bond program

Frisco ISD discussed a $700 million plan to build and improve schools and put it on the ballot.

It comes after a failed vote to raise taxes two years ago. This time, they hope a proposed tax swap will solve the problem.

Staff and a rep for the committee that helped come up with this bond package presented trustees on Monday night with two proposals that could end up on the ballot.

It's partially a story of a city and district that continue to grow at extremely high rates and are trying to keep up with more and more students.

As a dad, Sean Heatley is preparing to send his daughter off to kindergarten while also helping chart the future for the school district she'll grow up in.

“It’s been a two-year journey of education, sharing information and ultimately working toward goals like this week,” he said.

Heatley is part of a group of parents, teachers, staff and other stakeholders that have worked over the past couple years on a bond package to help sustain Frisco ISD for years to come.

The community process came after a failed vote to increase property taxes in 2016. In the wake, Frisco ISD dealt with a budget shortfall and delayed school openings.

Heatley says the process this time around has been full of community input.

“The process was really important here,” he said. “And we've been involved and engaged for two years, especially the last four months.”

The near-final product is a $695 million bond package. It includes money for new schools, security improvements like bulletproof glass & led lighting and also money for maintenance of aging schools along with other projects.

Kimberly Smith is Frisco ISD's chief financial officer.

“We're at a point where it’s kind of time to continue moving the ball forward,” she said. “New buildings is going to be in our future for a while. And we don’t have the money authorized in the last bond program to continue that building program.”

In addition to the bond package, the board is weighing a separate ballot issue called a tax swap. ballot. It will look like an increase, but once other factors are brought in the result would be a tax rate cut.

“It's created capacity in our debt fund in order to allow us to pay the debt that we have, plus potentially fund this bond package while lowering the tax rate,” Smith said.

The proposals still need board approval to get on the November ballot, but it's an exciting prospect for parents planning the future.

“I think that's the most exciting part to know that she has 12-13 years in this story,” Heatley said. “And it is going to be different by the time she gets to the end than the way it is now. And that's exciting as a parent.”

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