Argyle ISD's proposed bond features new school and facility construction, capacity improvements, land acquisition, and technology refreshes.

Two-minute impact

In 2017, Argyle ISD had 2,460 students and four campuses. By August it will exceed 5,800 students and open its seventh campus. In 10 years, AISD could serve nearly 11,000 students, per district data. The rapid growth carved a need for additional instructional space, prompting the district to put a $511.5 million bond before voters this May with three propositions addressing the issue. If approved, the bond would not increase the tax rate.

“Being visionary and preparing for the growth will provide our current and future students experiences without the burden of extreme overcrowding and insufficient learning environments,” Superintendent Courtney Carpenter said in an email.

In addition to being the largest bond, it is AISD’s first long-range bond at 10 years, Carpenter said. The 2017 and 2022 bonds were each three- to five-year bonds.

The context

The bond takes significant steps in fulfilling AISD’s plan to repurpose Argyle Middle School into a second high school, Carpenter said.

AISD’s capacity in grades 6-8 is 2,028. Enrollment was 1,273 last fall and could eclipse 2,600 in a decade, Carpenter said. The bond’s new middle school construction project looks to mitigate this issue. Similarly, AHS will surpass its capacity in 10 years, she said.

Bond capacity projects for both schools would alleviate enrollment burden until the split, which will occur before AHS reaches 2,200 students and 6A UIL classification. Enrollment at AHS was 1,527 students last fall, Carpenter said.

AMS needs improvements compared to newer schools, Hilltop Elementary teacher and bond committee member Hilary Loupot said in an email. Proposed renovations would expand the school’s cafeteria using space from its second gym and rebuild the gym as a result of losing that space.

What else

AISD needs more sports facilities for its future plan to operate two high schools, Carpenter said.

Athletes on AHS’s varsity and sub-varsity teams play at the AMS facility. The bond would allocate over $22 million for a new baseball and softball complex at AHS. The bond also calls for $38 million in capital improvements at AMS, Hilltop Elementary and The Sixth Grade Center—AISD’s three oldest campuses—Loupot said.

“Students and staff cannot work successfully in environments that fall into disrepair,” she said.

Going forward

Some AISD parents, including Acela Spiegelberg, are concerned with the bond’s price tag. Spiegelberg said while she recognizes the rapid growth and agrees with buying more land, the bond is too big and encompasses too much right now.

“Almost everything on the bond is necessary; it’s about the timing,” she said.

The district could have split the total between two bonds over several years to avoid calling additional bonds, should cost surges drain funds before projects are completed, Spiegelberg said. A bond this large could impact the district’s ability to provide quality programs and adequately serve teachers, she said.

AISD has a history of financial integrity, and this bond can be completed by maintaining the existing tax rate, Carpenter said. In the past, AISD has saved taxpayers over $17 million by refinancing existing bonds, she said.

“These projects will provide 10 years of exceptional facilities and learning experiences for the current and future students in Argyle ISD,” she said.