Frisco ISD votes to put bond package, tax measure on ballot

The Frisco ISD school board voted Monday to ask residents for more money for the school district.

The last time the school board tried to propose a bond package two years ago, voters said no. But the school board says the new plan should ease property taxes in the fast-growing city.

It was unanimous approval by Frisco ISD’s board despite a split among the handful of speakers who were either for or against it.

This proposal was unveiled earlier this month. It was a $691 million bond package which includes everything from funding for new schools to security improvements to a performing arts center.

There's also a tax ratification election issue. The district calls it a tax swap because it will ask voters to increase property tax rates by 13 cents and then automatically drop it 15 cents for a net of a two cent drop.

There were some specific critiques Monday night. Some asked why not just drop the tax rate and not do the increase. Another speaker was upset over the $43 million new fine arts building. But some teachers who spoke said the package is needed.

“It would seem that a performing arts center now ranks up there with water, food, shelter, as a basic human need,” said Paul Gosnell, who opposes the measure. “Or it could be that the FISD board members have determined that a performing arts center is a need that the 22 high school students cannot live without and that the cost of that need shall be borne by the taxpayers of Frisco.”

“I taught 37 sixth-grade pre-AP students in one year. It was a challenge,” said Reyna Arndorfer, who supports the measure. “Large class sizes do not work well.”

The community had a failed tax vote in 2016. In the wake, Frisco ISD dealt with a budget shortfall and even instituted activity fees to help fill gaps. It also delayed the opening of four new schools to cut costs.

The trustees though have put the issue on the ballot for voters to decide.