Following the May 4 bond election, Argyle ISD officials discussed strategies to address growing enrollment at a May 15 school board workshop.

This fall, the district plans to develop departmental transition teams to prepare for the transition to a second middle school and a second high school as well as finalize a timeline for the high school split, Superintendent Courtney Carpenter said. The district will also prepare a communications plan for parents and staff that clearly lays out further timelines for future secondary school configurations. AISD officials also discussed potential short-term bond options, the earliest of which could begin in the fall election.

The backstory

In the May 4 election, AISD voters supported one of three propositions of the $511.5 million bond, which included steps in addressing growth and capacity issues as well as laying the foundation for a split into two high schools. However, the approved proposition did not address those issues.

“We know that we have no additional capacity right now or for the foreseeable future at either of the high school campuses,” Carpenter said.

Argyle Middle School on US 377 was originally the district’s high school and will reprise the role as part of AISD’s 10-year strategic plan, which includes repurposing the school into a second high school.

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 the bond before voters in May with three propositions addressing the issue.

Voters approved Proposition C, which allocates $6.5 million to purchase new technology. The two failed propositions totaling $505 million would have funded construction of new sports complexes, a middle school and an elementary school as well as campus capacity projects and land acquisition.

The details

Without the passage of a bond, the district has a total capacity for 9,480 students across all grade levels, Carpenter said.

AISD administration and the board of trustees agreed to maintain the district’s strategic direction outlining a transition to two middle schools in 2026-27 and two high schools in 2027-28, according to district documents. The high school will reach its 2,100-student capacity that year.

The second middle school was part of the 2022 bond and is slated for construction along FM 407. The campus has been designed, and the district has been in permitting conversations with the city the last few months trying to resolve issues such as road access to the campus. The campus breaks ground in June and is scheduled to open in 2026, coinciding with the transition to two middle schools.

In this plan, the FM 407 middle school would serve grades 7-8 and the US 377 middle school would serve grades 7-8 in the 2026-27 school year. But the following year, that campus will include grades nine and 10, and in 2028-29, 11th graders will be added, Carpenter said. By the 2029-30 school year, the district hopes to have built an additional middle school, the one included in the recent bond, which can house the seventh and eighth graders, and the US 377 campus can function as a dedicated high school.

Looking ahead

Moving forward, the administration could pursue future short-term bonds based on the bond growth and planning committee’s prior recommendations, Carpenter said. The district will present the bond project needs to the board as needed.

District officials presented several potential short-term bond options May 15, including:
  • A November 2024 bond for capital improvements, land and bus acquisition, and technical infrastructure
  • A November 2025 bond funding construction of an additional middle school and capital improvements
  • A May 2028 bond funding construction of a sixth elementary school
  • A May 2029 or 2030 bond funding a seventh elementary school and campus expansion projects
What they’re saying

Residents who voted against the 2024 bond were concerned there were no financial projections on the operating costs for all the new buildings outlined in the failed bond, Acela Spiegelberg told the board May 15. As the maintenance and operations cost grows with additional schools, it could drive budget shortfalls that impact teachers and programs.

“If we cannot balance a budget because of extra infrastructure, that's going to be an issue,” Spiegelberg said.

The bond’s failure provides an opportunity for the board to regroup and ensure the quality of education is preserved should the district pursue future bonds, she said.

Argyle resident Erin Reed said she attributes the bond’s failure to a small cohort of residents who disagree with the district's plan to split into two high schools.

“The last three elections have proved that this town does not want one mega high school,” Reed said. “All candidates who have been voted onto the board ran on clear, undeniable platforms supporting the strategic plan.”