Prosper ISD voters can expect a $2.8 billion bond on the Nov. 7 ballot to address growth in the district.

The PISD board of trustees unanimously approved calling a school bond election on Aug. 21. The district’s Long Range Planning Committee looked at demographic data, housing information and a comprehensive facilities study to create the final bond package, which consists of four separate propositions.

The details

Proposition A includes $2.4 billion for building new schools, modernizing existing buildings, reinforcing safety and security, buying land and providing buses and vehicles for the district. This proposition includes:
  • Six elementary schools and one early childhood school
  • Two middle schools
  • Two high schools
  • An administration building and professional learning center
  • An outdoor learning experience facility
  • Modernizing eight campuses
  • Expanding four campuses
  • Updating the current administration building for alternative use
  • Safety and security upgrades as well as new technology
  • Buying land for two middle school sites and six elementary school sites
  • Purchasing buses and vehicles for the district
Proposition B would dedicate $140 million to upgrading technology, such as providing new devices for:
  • Students
  • Teachers
  • District staff
Proposition C includes $102 million to be put toward a new stadium and renovating existing facilities. The bond would:
  • Construct a new 8,000 seat stadium
  • Renovate turf and tracks at existing facilities
Proposition D would utilize $125 million to build a new performing arts center. This would include:
  • A performing space for dance, theater, music and visual arts students
  • Allowing for community groups to rent the space
  • Holding around 2,500 seats
Some context

With 28,000 students for the 2023-24 school year, PISD Superintendent Holly Ferguson said the district is a little more than halfway to reaching its growth projection of 50,000 students.

“Growth is our greatest opportunity to improve every second of every day,” she said. “Every time we get a new student walking in the door ... something magical is going to happen.”

According to the meeting’s presentation, there are challenges with fast growth including:
  • Limited infrastructure and space
  • Attendance boundaries adjustments
  • Class sizes not at optimum numbers
  • Stress on programs and teachers
The district currently has 134 classrooms in 58 portable buildings. It has nearly 5,000 students in portable classrooms, Ferguson said.

The performing arts center was not part of the planning committee’s initial recommendation of a $2.6 billion bond package. Ferguson said the district’s current auditoriums at its high schools cannot accommodate its need in seating capacity and the number of events taking place. When community groups have asked to rent the space, she said they are usually turned away since the space is already booked with district events.

“I see a lot of opportunities being able to connect with our municipalities and community partners,” Ferguson said.

The district planning committee’s goal was to make a recommendation that could guide the district’s building program over the next five to seven years, district officials said.

Doug Whitt, senior managing director of SAMCO Capital Markets, presented financial information about the bond to the board. Whitt said it can be “overwhelming” when a district needs to build several schools, but the district tends to have a rolling three-year bond model to build facilities based on construction timelines.

The impact

The multibillion-dollar bond will not increase the district’s tax rate, Ferguson said. The school board is set to adopt the 2023-24 fiscal year tax rate at its Aug. 28 meeting.

Going forward

The bond’s four propositions will be on the Nov. 7 ballot for PISD voters.

“It can be extremely detrimental when a bond fails,” Ferguson said. “Especially in fast growth, knowing what we need and the facilities that we need.”