By Lynne Welch
Prosper ISD is experiencing rapid growth such that new students are enrolling in the district daily. The fastest growing district in DFW, every Prosper ISD campus is over capacity with hundreds more students enrolling every year. More than 3,000 homes were sold in Prosper ISD in 2018 alone. The population explosion that had Frisco on its toes has landed firmly in Prosper.
To ensure that Prosper ISD can accommodate for all of the students in the district now and in the future, the Prosper ISD School Board has called for a bond election. A bond election is an important time in the life of a school and, thus, it is important that parents, taxpayers and community members have all of the necessary information. A bond is like a home mortgage. It is how the school district borrows money to build new schools. Before they can do this, they must ask voters for authorization to sell bonds. The bond was proposed to the Prosper ISD School Board from a Citizen Bond Committee, led by chair Mr. Cody Cunningham. The committee deliberated for weeks considering district needs. At the end of deliberations, they made a recommendation to the board. The Prosper ISD School Board accepted the amount as recommended.
This year’s election will take place on Saturday, May 4th, 2019 with early voting options being April 22-30, 2019. The bond being requested is for $1.337 billion with the majority being allocated to address the growth in student enrollment through new schools and the rest for land purchases, capital improvements, support facilities and transportation.
Prosper’s last bond election was in 2007 when voters approved the $710 million proposal with an 80% approval rate. The $1.337 billion Prosper ISD bond is not the largest bond to be called in the state of Texas. To put the timeliness of the bond into perspective, at the time of the last bond ($710 million), the Prosper ISD student population hovered around 2,800 students district wide. The Prosper ISD student population currently sits at 14,659 at the time of writing this article with the expectation of 32,801 students by 2025 and 40,387 students by 2028. It is estimated that this bond program could accommodate the growth projections through 2025.
The most commonly asked question by taxpayers during a bond election is how it will impact taxes. The Prosper ISD tax rate is currently set at the state maximum of $1.67 per $100 of property valuation where it has been since 2011. This means that the bond will have $0 impact to the tax rate for current Prosper ISD taxpayers.
The proposed projects for the called bond include:
• 9-10 new Elementary Schools (Furr and Stuber Elementary campuses are covered under the previous bond)
• 4-5 new Middle Schools (Hays MS is covered under the previous bond)
• 2 new High Schools (Rockhill HS is covered under the previous bond)
• Performing Arts/Staff Development Center
• Natatorium #2
• Administration/Support Services Building
• Upgrades to Safety and Security, Technology, Instructional Technology, Communications Systems, and Playgrounds
• Land Purchases