One of the fastest-growing school districts in the DFW metroplex is asking voters to approve over a billion dollars in new taxpayer-backed debt to keep pace with burgeoning student enrollment.

Prosper Independent School District trustees put a $1.337 billion bond proposal on the May 4 ballot. Officials say 95 percent of the bond money will address the district’s rapid growth. Enrollment is projected to double by 2025 to over 32,000 students.

Prosper ISD’s enrollment has exploded by 500 percent since 2007, when district voters approved a $710 million bond to fund 12 new schools plus a stadium, natatorium, and other facilities.

The proposed 2019 bond package funds construction of 16 new schools, at a total cost of $1.1 billion. District officials say every campus in Prosper ISD is currently over capacity.

Other items in the proposal include buses, a performing arts center, a second natatorium, and an administrative building ($90 million); improvements including security, technology, communications, and replacement playgrounds and HVAC units ($68.5 million); and land for future schools ($50 million).

The district already owes over $1 billion in bond debt principal and interest—more than $77,000 per student—all of which must be repaid with property taxes.

The proposed new bond wouldn’t raise Prosper ISD’s property tax rate because the district already taxes the maximum rate allowed by state law: $1.67 per $100 of property valuation. But residents’ school property tax burdens will keep rising each year along with their property values.

From 2008 to 2016, the average Prosper ISD homeowners’ school property tax bill rose 33 percent, from $4,524 to $6,011. During that same period, though, student enrollment grew nearly 300 percent. The district’s total tax revenue is being boosted by both rising valuations and the area’s explosive growth.

Prosper ISD voters will also choose a new Place 3 school board trustee. Kelly Cavender and Jeremy Sandusky are vying to fill the open seat. Incumbents Jana Thomson (Place 1) and Jim Bridges (Place 6) are unopposed.

Early voting runs April 22-30 for the May 4 election.

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.