Frequently Asked Questions
A school bond is similar to a promissory note – it is a promise to pay back a certain amount of money that is being borrowed for a specific use, and it will be paid back with interest. There are state and federal laws and regulations on how school districts issue bonds and how the bond proceeds can be used. School districts may issue bonds to pay for construction, acquisition and renovations of school buildings; acquisition of sites for school buildings; purchasing equipment for school buildings and buying buses. School bonds are used as a primary source for school districts to help pay for costly school facilities projects.
It has been eight years since the school district held a bond election. The 2008 bond program included $490 million for major projects and was initially planned to provide for capital needs through 2012. Its lifespan will soon be almost twice what was originally intended, and now it is the community's decision to consider our district's needs.
A list of 2008 bond projects - promised and fulfilled - can be viewed on pages 12 and 13 of our 2015 annual report. Other sources of information are our quarterly construction reportand 2008 Bond website.
The bond project list was determined by the Plano ISD Facilities and Technology Task Force which was comprised of parents, business leaders and community advocates and representatives appointed by the Plano ISD Board of Trustees.
The 29-member committee studied enrollment trends and projections, established construction and renovation needs and validated costs before making recommendations to the Plano ISD Board of Trustees.
Chaired by Rebecca Egelston Caso, the task force collectively decided which bond projects were a priority for bond funding and the cost of those projects. Read about the Facilities and Technology Task Force, its scope of work and find links to meeting resources on the district website.
The proposed bond amount is $481 million.
Yes. $16 million authorized, but not yet issued, from the 2008 bond will be used to build permanent classrooms in order to replace portables throughout the district. $27 million of surplus funds generated through the 2012 Tax Ratification Election (TRE) will go toward funding the district-wide roof replacement cycle over the next five years.
Yes. Plano ISD has included $129 million in the bond proposal to purchase property and to construct new facilities that will increase classroom capacity across the school district and expand program offerings for students and teachers. View more detail in this 9/17/2015 New Schools presentation to task force and read more about these proposed facilities in related FAQs on this web page.
- New elementary school - planned for future growth
- Special education transition center (9/17/2015 presentation to task force )
- *Employee child care center #3
- Early childhood school #4
- Plano ISD performing arts and multipurpose facility (12/3/2015 presentation to task force )
- Land purchases for the special education transition center, employee childcare center #3, elementary school and performing arts and multipupose facility)
*The district offers a child care program for the children of teachers, wherein district employees pay out of pocket for the operating costs. More space is needed and there are long waiting lists for this valued service. The district currently has two employee child care centers. This bond package would allow for construction of a third center.
Studies show that preschool education increases the academic success of students. Currently the district's three preschools are near capacity. While the district has made plans to use as much existing space as possible, more space is still needed. This bond package would allow for construction of a fourth early childhood school.
Yes. The bond proposal includes $105.8 million for major, 20-year school refurbishment projects for the following campuses. View this 9/30/2015 Major Renovations presentation to task force
- Shepton High School Renovations
- Robinson Middle School Renovations
- Elementary School Refurbishments: Barksdale, Gulledge, Haggar, Haun, Miller and Skaggs
- Middle School Refurbishments: Bowman and Wilson
- High School Refurbishments: Jasper and Williams
The bond proposal also addresses needs for schools and service facilities that are not included in the 20-year major renovations. In some cases, work is combined for economy of scale or in response to immediate repair. Examples include replacing roofs, carpet and air-conditioning equipment, updating fire alarms or energy management systems and site improvements for parking or fire lanes. View this 10/29/2015 Systems and Compliance presentation to task force
Yes. The bond proposal includes $12.2 million for:
- Security camera systems
- Alarm and access control systems
- Emergency communication equipment
- Campus panic alarms
- Security upgrades for senior high schools
- Safety upgrades for Clark Stadium
For more information, view this 10/15/2015 Safety and Security presentation to task force
Yes. With $9.7 million in bond funds, the district would be able to replace 90 buses as they reach the end of their 15-year useful life. Additionally, improvements of $700k will go toward in-ground lifts for bus repairs and extended awnings on all bays.
For more information, view this 10/15/2015 Transportation presentation to task force
Yes. $25.7 million has been included in the bond proposal for high school fine arts renovations at Jasper and Vines high schools, fine arts additions at high schools, improved stages, the addition of dance floors at high schools and senior high schools and music additions/renovations at four middle schools: Armstrong, Frankford, Renner and Rice.
More than 60% of Plano ISD high school and middle school students participate in fine arts programs. The district does not have an auditorium for large and acoustically appropriate performances, and parents and parent groups spend in excess of $45,000 annually to rent space for district performances.
For more information, view this 10/15/2015 Fine Arts Presentation to task force
The bond package would allow for construction of a Plano ISD districtwide performing arts and multi-purpose facility to be used for performances by all fine arts programs in the school district. The $63.5 million cost of the new center is included in the proposed $129 million for new facilities.
For more information, view this 12/3/2015 Performance Hall Presentation to task force
If the bond passes and a PISD performing arts venue opens, will outside groups be allowed to rent it
If the bond passes and Plano ISD opens a district performing arts venue, will outside groups be allowed to rent it?
Depending upon availability, Plano ISD rents facilities such as school gymnasiums, athletic fields, cafetoriums, auditoriums and the Sockwell Center for Professional Development to community groups and organizations. A performing arts venue would be included among those facility rental spaces. As with all facility rentals, school and district programs would be given priority.
Plano ISD’s chief financial officer worked with the architect involved with Allen ISD’s performing arts facility to derive estimated square footage and cost per square foot. This chart includes those figures, along with other associated costs.
Yes. Upgrades to athletic facilities that are proposed include replacing artificial turf at Clark Stadium and the three senior high school indoor practice facilities, adding artificial turf at the Clark Triple Fields, Williams High School Field and the three senior high school outdoor practice fields, replacing the scoreboard at Clark Stadium, adding locker rooms on the home and visitor sides of Clark East Field, a locker room renovation at Plano East Senior High School and softball and baseball bleacher enhancements/expansions.
For more information, view this 10/15/2015 Athletics presentation to task force
Our current operating budget cannot support large technology purchases without taking dollars away from other instructional programs. This bond package includes needed improvements to technology infrastructure and additional equipment to support classroom technologies needed for 21st Century learning.
The district does not have to pay recapture to the state on bond dollars, so it is more beneficial to use bonds for technology purposes. The technology portion of the bonds is repaid over a shorter term (5 years) than the other projects.
Plano ISD's curriculum and technology needs, which total $73,935,000 in this bond proposal, grew out of the intensive study of focus groups conducted among school faculty and staff, students and parents that resulted in a state-approved 2013-2016 Plano ISD Technology Plan.
The bond proposition includes many items that will enhance both teaching and instruction.
Some examples are:
- The majority of the technology initiative ($73,935,000) is related to instruction (replacing aging classroom devices, upgrading wireless connectivity, enhancing wireless presentation tools for students and staff).
- New early childhood school for instruction of pre-k students
- New elementary school
- Fine arts additions at four middle schools
- Added instructional and storage space for fine arts at Jasper and Vines high schools
- Renovation of Shepton High School and Robinson Middle School, expanding classroom space to meet state standards and allowing for better instructional settings
- Library book replacements
- Materials for special education programs
- Building upgrades at the Holifield Science Learning Center
Additionally, teachers and students will be impacted by bond funds used to replace aging heating/cooling equipment and energy management controls. Teachers were also the driving reason to include a third employee childcare center in the bond proposal.
Funding to hire more teachers or increase teacher pay is not an allowable cost for a bond proposition. Salaries/raises come from operating funds. Bond proceeds may only be used for capital projects. The district has been transferring funds for the past three years from the operating fund to the capital projects fund in order to defer the timing of this bond proposition. If the bond proposition is approved, these transfers will no longer be necessary, thereby freeing up operating funds for other uses including instructional enhancements.
You can download this Projects Summary document.
Briefly, groupings are:
- District-Wide Renovations and Upgrades - $209,970,000
- Fine Arts - $94,305,000
- Technology - $73,935,000
- Expanding Classroom and Program Capacity - $50,675,000
- Early Childhood Education - $21,285,000
- Safety and Security - $12,270,000
- Buses - $9,720,000
- Athletics - $8,840,000
- Total - $481,000,000
Following substantial state budget cuts in 2011, the district cut staffing and other items to reduce its budget by $26.5 million When the state legislature convened in 2013, it restored only 30% of the funding cuts. In response, the district asked voters to approve an additional 13 cents on the tax rate for operations. To lessen the impact on taxpayers, the debt tax rate was lowered by 5 cents, and voters were told that surpluses generated by the TRE would be utilized as a temporary bridge to provide for capital project needs until the debt payment schedule had a decline. This strategy has been utilized and has allowed the district to extend the life of the 2008 bond program an additional few years.
Plano ISD will have less debt in five years than on the night the school board called for the election—February 2, 2016. In February, the district entered into a bond refunding transaction that saves taxpayers more than $77.6 million in future payments on a portion of its outstanding debt, lowering future payments from $485.6 million to $408 million, a net decrease of 16%. Read the full story here.
Yes. Plano ISD’s bond ratings are Aaa/AA+, the highest ratings assigned to Texas school districts by Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s Rating Agencies. All items promised in the 2008 bond have been addressed and/or are in progress. Read a full list of promised/fulfilled bond items in our 2015 district annual report.
For 13 consecutive years, Plano ISD has earned the highest rating of “Superior Achievement” in the state’s Schools FIRST (Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas) program. This rating shows that Plano ISD’s schools are accountable not only for student learning, but also for achieving results cost effectively and efficiently. The report is based on staff, student and budget data that the financial services team submits annually to the Texas Education Agency.
For 32 consecutive years, Plano ISD has also earned the prestigious Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting by the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada. Plano ISD's Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) has been judged each year by an impartial panel to meet high standards, including demonstrating a constructive spirit of full disclosure to clearly communicate the school district's financial story. The certificate of achievement is the highest form of recognition in the area of governmental financial reporting and accounting. Its attainment represents a significant achievement by government and its management.
Yes. There have been 420 total bond propositions on Texas school district election ballots in the last three years. Among the larger school districts, their approximate bond proposition amounts were:
- Frisco ISD ($775 million)
- Ft. Worth ISD ($490 million)
- Garland ISD ($455 million)
- Austin ISD ($350 million)
- Round Rock ISD ($300 million)
- Amarillo ISD ($200 million)
Debt service dollars are NOT subject to “Robin Hood,” so every cent raised through this bond election will be spent for Plano ISD students. In 2016, we anticipate sending more than $61 million back to the state through the recapture provisions of “Robin Hood.” Since the state school finance program's inception in 1993, Plano ISD has sent more than $1 billion to the state for use in other school districts.
The district’s amount of outstanding debt peaked at $1.047 billion in 2010, and was still at slightly over $1 billion as recently as June 30th, 2012. This was due primarily to the large student growth the district experienced between 1990 and 2012. During that time period, enrollment grew by over 27,300 students. In fact, forty of the district’s campuses have been built since 1990.
At the peak of the debt load in 2010, outstanding debt represented 3.08% of taxable property value. That also was the year that Moody’s Rating Agency upgraded the District’s credit rating to AAA. By February 2, 2016 (the date the bond election was called by the Board of Trustees), the outstanding debt had been reduced to $855 million; a reduction of approximately $192 million or 18.3% from the peak. Projected debt at the end of the bond program would be slightly below $810 million representing 1.60% of taxable property value.
The school district has paid off a good portion of its current debt that was incurred as the district was growing rapidly. In fact, the amount of debt outstanding has declined by more than 25% in just the last four years. As a result, the payments on current debt will be declining significantly over the next five years. The financing plan is to sell these new bonds over the next five years in a manner that takes advantage of those declining payments and therefore doesn’t increase the tax rate. View Plano ISD's Proposed 2016 Bond Program Tax Rate Analysisand read about the district's recent bond refunding transaction that saved millions of dollars.
If there will be no tax rate increase, why does the ballot include this statement: "levying of the tax in payment thereof"?
The bond proposition does authorize the district to levy a tax to pay for the new bonds. Bond holders wouldn't purchase the bonds without this pledge. However, as explained in the question above, the school district has paid off a good portion of its current debt that was incurred as the district was growing rapidly. As a result, the payments on current debt will be declining significantly over the next five years. The financing plan is to sell these new bonds over the next five years in a manner that does not increase the tax rate. View Plano ISD's Proposed 2016 Bond Program Tax Rate Analysis
Yes. Plano ISD community members are invited to attend any of six information meetings to be hosted this spring about the district’s May 7 bond election proposal. Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian Binggeli will present information and answer questions. Meetings will be held from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. at the district’s high schools on the following dates:
- March 28 (Monday) - Williams High School (auditorium), 1717 17th Street, Plano, TX 75074
- April 4 (Monday) - Clark High School (library), 523 Spring Creek Parkway, Plano, TX 75023
- April 6 (Wednesday) - McMillen High School (cafeteria), 750 N. Murphy Road, Murphy, TX 75094
- April 13 (Wednesday) - Jasper High School (presentation room), 6800 Archgate Drive, Plano, TX 75024
- April 25 (Monday) - Vines High School (presentation room), 1401 Highedge Drive, Plano, TX 75075
- April 28 (Thursday) - Shepton High School (library), 5505 Plano Parkway, Plano, TX 75093
Where do I vote? Voters will decide May 7 whether to approve Plano ISD’s $481 million proposal. The last day to register to vote for the May 7 election was April 7. Early voting will be April 25-30 and May 2-3.
Polling locations and voting hours are posted on this website and at www.collincountytx.gov/elections.
On the following ballot item, voters will select either "for" or "against":
“THE ISSUANCE OF BONDS IN THE AMOUNT OF $481,000,000 FOR THE CONSTRUCTION, RENOVATION, ACQUISITION AND EQUIPMENT OF SCHOOL BUILDINGS, THE PURCHASE OF NECESSARY SITES FOR SCHOOL BUILDINGS AND THE PURCHASE OF NEW SCHOOL BUSES AND THE LEVYING OF THE TAX IN PAYMENT THEREOF"
Because payments on existing debt are declining as old debt is being paid off, the school district can issue these new bonds without a tax rate increase, based on current interest and tax base growth models.
For taxpayers who are 65 years of age or older, there will be NO impact since taxes are frozen on homes of those 65 years of age and older.
Plano ISD has the second lowest tax rate for any school district in Collin County.
Current Tax Rates for Collin County School Districts:
- Anna - $1.6700
- McKinney - $1.6700
- Melissa - $1.6700
- Prosper - $1.6700
- Celina - $1.6400
- Wylie - $1.6400
- Community - $1.6250
- Princeton - $1.6200
- Allen - $1.6100
- Blue Ridge - $1.5715
- Lovejoy - $1.5600
- Frisco - $1.4600
- Plano - $1.4390
- Farmersville - $1.4295