Voters in Allen turned out Saturday to defeat a big school bond, putting the brakes on the district’s runaway spending and debt.

Allen Independent School District’s $422.8 million bond debt proposition was rejected 53-47 percent. The proposed spending plan, which was larger than the district’s last two bond packages combined, did not add a single new school.

Nearly 14 percent of district voters weighed in on the May 4 debt question—almost double the turnout of Allen ISD’s last bond election in November 2015.

The district currently owes over $1 billion in bond debt and interest, all of which must be repaid with property taxes.

Local property taxpayers are already struggling with skyrocketing school taxes. From 2008 to 2016, the average Allen ISD homeowner’s school tax bill increased 52 percent, while the district’s enrollment grew just 22 percent.

Residents’ tax burdens have continued to climb since then. School board trustees lowered the district’s tax rate several times, but not enough to offset skyrocketing property values.

The district is expected to regroup and propose another debt package, possibly for a scaled-back amount or divided into multiple ballot questions for separate projects. In the meantime, as the pro-bond Kids First Allen PAC noted on its website, the board “will come up with an alternate plan to address the needs of the District while maintaining the same high-quality educational opportunities and facilities we enjoy today.”

Trustees Amy Gnadt (Place 4) and Kelley Rowley (Place 5) were automatically re-elected to three-year terms on the board, as they ran unopposed.

Local taxpayers sent a message to the school district that they are taxed enough already. For taxpayers and district officials alike, local elections matter.

Erin Anderson

Erin Anderson is a Senior Journalist for Texas Scorecard, reporting on state and local issues, events, and government actions that impact people in communities throughout Texas and the DFW Metroplex. A native Texan, Erin grew up in the Houston area and now lives in Collin County.