10-YEAR STRATEGIC GROWTH PLAN - FAQs
How has the district grown over the last 20 years?
Argyle and its surrounding communities were once served by the original Argyle Elementary School and Argyle Middle School, which was a single campus serving Kindergarten through 8th grade. Argyle ISD has undergone a remarkable transformation over the years. Argyle High School opened its doors in 2000 serving grades 9-10, and the first class graduated in 2003.The high school was originally located on US 377, which is now the middle school. Argyle ISD has since grown by leaps and bounds, shifting from Class 2A to join Class 5A for the first time in 2022. AISD’s growth rate in 2021-2022 was 14.3 percent, which was the highest in the district’s history. The growth rate has been 10 percent or higher since 2017 (only exception is 9% in COVID-19 year 2020-2021). In the midst of the growth, Argyle ISD remains steadfastly successful and provides an exceptional learning experience for students. During the 2022-2023 school year, the district welcomed its 5,000th student.
How has Argyle ISD established itself as one of the premier districts in the state?
Argyle ISD is recognized as a destination district in Texas with exceptional high-achieving students and award-winning academics, and extracurricular & co-curricular programs. Argyle ISD received an “A” and a score of 97 in the Texas Education Agency’s 2022 accountability ratings. Argyle High School is also a 12-time winner of the University Interscholastic League (UIL) Lone Star Cup (including a state-record 10 consecutive), which recognizes the most successful schools in state competitions including academics, athletics, and fine arts. The district boasts outstanding teachers, administrators, and Board of Trustees along with a supportive community committed to excellence.
How many municipalities are included in Argyle ISD?
Argyle ISD proudly serves five municipalities within a 35-square-mile area: Argyle, Flower Mound, Bartonville, Northlake, and Denton. The district collaborates with officials from these municipalities in relation to safety, construction, roadways and utilities. The district does not have voting authority regarding zoning, density or land use.
What led to the creation of the 10-year Strategic Growth Plan and its adoption?
Argyle ISD is experiencing rapid student enrollment growth with families steadily moving into the community. It is projected that by the 2032-2033 school year, the district will serve nearly 12,000 students, which is more than double its current size. Because of that growth, additional instructional space will be needed as AISD transitions from its former small school district status. The goals of the strategic plan include maximizing the use of existing facilities, maintaining fiscal responsibility during an inflationary market, pursuing future land, and providing more educational and extracurricular opportunities with two high schools.
What information did the Board of Trustees consider when approving the 10-Year Strategic Plan?
The Board of Trustees studied and considered multiple sources of information in adopting this plan. This included meetings and feedback with the Argyle ISD administration, the High School Advisory & Planning Committee, AISD's demographer, virtual town hall commentary, committee and community survey data. The Board also had input from administrative leaders from districts throughout the state with one and two high schools.
What are the priorities of the 10-Year Strategic Growth Plan?
To address the rapid growth of student enrollment, the district has set priorities to ensure that every student has access to an educational experience that Argyle ISD has historically been able to provide and built its great reputation upon. The district's plan includes maximizing the use of existing facilities and additional spaces on campuses, providing the most educational opportunities for all students, actively pursuing land options for future schools, and utilizing the facilities well-equipped for secondary student enrollment growth.
Will the 10-Year Strategic Growth Plan be reviewed regularly by the district & Board of Trustees?
Yes. District administration and the Board of Trustees will review the plan every six months. The focus each six months will be the examination of the latest information and updates related to student enrollment growth, construction project timelines & market trends, district finances and bonding capacity. With this information each six months, it will allow the district and the Board of Trustees to plan accordingly and make adjustments to the plan if needed. School financing will also be a consideration moving forward, as is the case with all district matters. The Texas Legislature reviews and makes adjustments to school finance every two years when it is in session. Any changes to school finances or funding will be considered in any decisions.
Regarding financial accountability, has Argyle ISD received recognition for its management of taxpayer dollars?
Argyle ISD has earned a “Superior Achievement” FIRST rating (financial accountability) from the Texas Education Agency for 19 consecutive years and received a clean audit report for more than a decade. The district has a stable financial outlook for the future, with a strong general fund balance. The current fiscal year budget for the general fund was adopted as a deficit and the district is making strides to end the school year better than projected. The AISD administration’s goal is to present a balanced budget for 2023-2024.
What factors led to Argyle ISD adopting a deficit budget?
The contributing factors to the district adopting a deficit budget for the 2022-2023 school year included the Board's commitment to supporting and retaining educators with a 4% raise during an inflationary period. Another factor was the district's investment in additional police officers to provide dedicated security on all campuses. Both of these factors keep education and security a priority for students and staff. The district has worked diligently to reduce the budget deficit and expects to end the fiscal year with a balanced budget or a significantly reduced deficit. The district also strives to maintain a three-month reserve for operating costs.
What factors are helping to improve the deficit budget?
The district is making efforts to exceed the projected outcomes for the 2022-2023 school year. The increased earnings from higher interest rates and local revenues, including district facility rentals, are assisting in offsetting the deficit. These revenue sources are contributing to the district's overall financial stability and aiding in the attainment of its financial goals.
What is recapture and how much does the district pay back to the state in recapture?
The Texas Education Code makes provisions for certain school districts to share their excess local tax revenue with other school districts. Excess local revenue is local revenue that exceeds a district’s entitlement. The funds that are distributed by districts subject to these provisions are “recaptured” by the school finance system to assist with the financing of public education state-wide. The chart below details Argyle ISD’s recapture payments (also known as “Robin Hood'') over the past five school years. As a result of the passage of House Bill (HB) 3 by the 86th Legislature, beginning in the school year 2019–2020, recapture is now based on local revenue in excess of entitlement under Texas Education Code 48.257, instead of equalized wealth levels. The formula changes to recapture under HB 3 significantly reduced recapture and eliminated certain disparities between recapture and non-recapture districts.
What is the history of the Argyle ISD tax rate over the years?
The Argyle ISD tax rate has been lowered for the past four school years.
The Argyle ISD Board of Trustees approved the 2022-2023 tax rate in September 2022. The approved tax rate is $1.3976, which is a decrease of $0.0024 from the 2021-2022 tax rate.
What has the district done to pay off debt?
The district has actively managed its outstanding debt profile. Argyle ISD has executed seven refinancings and one cash prepayment over the last 11 years, generating approximately $17.5 million in gross debt service savings. When interest rates are low or decline, a family will often refinance their home mortgage to take advantage of these lower interest rates. Much like that family, Argyle ISD has prudently managed the district’s outstanding voter-approved bonds.
Why does the district have to take on debt for construction?
Very similar to an individual who needs to borrow money to construct a home, school districts borrow money to build schools. Most families simply do not have the available funds to build or purchase a new home without a mortgage. This same concept also applies to school districts. School districts simply do not have the financial resources available to pay for large capital expenditures (building new schools, renovating schools) without taking on debt.
What are the two components of the public school tax rate?
Public school taxes involve two figures that divide the school district budget into two “pots.” The first pot is the Maintenance and Operations budget (M&O), which funds daily costs and recurring or consumable expenditures such as teacher and staff salaries, supplies, food, and utilities. Approximately 78% of the district’s M&O budget goes to teacher and staff salaries. The second pot is the Interest and Sinking Fund (I&S), also known as Debt Service, and that is used to repay debt for capital improvements approved by voters through bond elections.
Does the district receive state funding for school construction?
Argyle ISD does not receive state funding for the construction of schools. Argyle ISD budgeted approximately $100,000 in state revenue during the 2022-2023 year to assist with the repayment of the district’s annual debt service payments.
What are the next steps regarding rezoning?
When Argyle ISD was one elementary school, one middle school and one high school zoning was not a consideration. That changed when Argyle ISD transitioned to multiple elementary schools. As Argyle ISD continues to add elementary schools and a second middle school in the coming years, zoning will continue to be a priority. This is a common process with all growing districts like Argyle ISD. The district will create a preliminary zoning plan for the high schools to be in place when enrollment reaches 2,700. The district is communicating with its demographers and discussing boundaries that will best serve our AISD families while balancing enrollments and capacities. The district is in the process of developing alignment strategies for elementary, middle, and high schools that correlate with the district’s 10-Year Strategic Growth Plan.
Has the district recently purchased land for future schools?
Yes. Argyle ISD recently purchased 50 acres on the north side of FM 407 for future schools. This land, located just east of I-35W, is the location for our next middle school. The middle school is projected to open in August 2025.
Is the district actively seeking land for future schools?
Yes. The district is seeking property for future schools and has engaged a Board-approved real estate broker to assist in this process. AISD will need to acquire land for Middle School No. 2 and Elementary School No. 6. The amount of land needed for schools varies based on the property. Typically, 15-20 acres for elementary schools and 35-40 acres for middle schools.
How has the district successfully managed the rapid student enrollment growth? Argyle ISD’s voter-approved bond elections in 2007, 2014, 2017 and 2022 have addressed the student enrollment growth (chart below) with additional facilities to accommodate the need for instructional space. With the support of the community, the last three bond elections have included six new campuses (HS, 1 Middle School, 4 Elementary Schools). The total district enrollment figures in the chart are based on the fall 2022 demographics report.
Who studies the demographics and provides this information to the district?
Argyle ISD contracts with Zonda Demographics, formerly Templeton Demographics, to project student enrollment growth and housing development growth and trends in the district. Zonda provides two enrollment updates (fall and spring) for the district and School Board. Click here to view Argyle ISD’s enrollment growth. Zonda is considered a leader in this field and works with several districts across the state.
When are the new schools, approved through bonds, scheduled to open? Elementary School #4 is scheduled to open in August of 2024 and will be located in Harvest. This is the second elementary in this area and will help serve this dense population of students in Harvest and The Ridge. The middle school, which will be built off FM 407 just east of I-35W, is scheduled to open in 2025. Elementary School #5 is scheduled to open in 2026 and with a location to be determined.
Will Argyle ISD require another bond and when?
Yes. Argyle ISD will need future bonds to accommodate growth at all levels - elementary, middle, and high school levels. The bonds would be needed to fund Middle School No. 2 and the future expansions at the US 377 campus (current middle school) and Argyle High School in Canyon Falls. The next bond election is expected to be in May 2024.
What was included in the voter-approved 2022 bond?
The 2022 bond package had three approved propositions that included two elementary campuses, a middle school, a new football stadium & indoor activity center in Canyon Falls. The bond also included funds for land and technology infrastructure, a Hilltop Elementary playground, an auditorium acoustic sound shell, buses, and safety & security updates.
How long would the district utilize the Sixth Grade Center (SGC)?
The Sixth Grade Center will be used in combination with Middle School No. 1 (grades 7-8) for at least 10 years. The renovation will extend the life cycle of the campus and help accommodate student enrollment growth.
How is the district working to maximize the use of existing facilities?
In an effort to maximize the use of existing facilities, the former Argyle Intermediate School, located at 800 Eagle Dr., along with the former AISD administration wing, are being converted into the Sixth Grade Center (SGC). The building renovations are scheduled to be completed for the campus to open in August 2023, and will have a capacity of 650. This move is needed due to the enrollment growth at the middle school level (grades 6-8). Argyle Middle School will have 7th-8th grades only starting next year. The current 5th grade has 388 students.
How will middle school campuses be impacted by the 10-Year Strategic Growth Plan?
The district would include one new middle school, located on FM 407, to serve grades 7-8, and paired with the Sixth Grade Center (the repurposed Argyle Intermediate School). This campus would open in 2025. A second middle school will be a 6th-8th grade configuration. Based on enrollment figures, it would need to open in the fall of 2027.
What will be the capacity of future schools in Argyle ISD?
To ensure campuses are maximizing functional capacity and a successful learning environment, Argyle ISD's strategic plan outlines building elementary schools that serve up to 850 students in Pre-Kindergarten to 5th grade. The middle schools will serve 1,200 students, a decrease from the original plan of 1,400 students. These schools will serve students in grades 7-8. As enrollment at the high school reaches 2,700, it will transition to two separate 9-12 campuses.
Was a location in the Harvest community considered for Middle School #1?
One of the initial considerations for Middle School #1 was in the northwest area of the Harvest community. This was communicated as a possibility during the May 2022 bond campaign. This 23-acre site ultimately was most applicable for an elementary campus, and it will allow the district to serve Harvest and surrounding communities with a neighborhood elementary school similar to Argyle West Elementary. Elementary School #4 was part of the 2022 bond package. Middle School #1 will be located on the land Argyle ISD recently purchased on FM 407 on the east side of I-35W. Middle School #1 is scheduled to open in 2025.
What are the benefits of having two high schools in the district?
AISD believes that having two high schools in Argyle ISD will benefit students in several important ways. The benefits help ensure more educational, extracurricular & co-curricular opportunities for students in a smaller high school setting while maintaining the community's values. AISD monitors and values student participation at all levels. AISD believes student engagement is critical to student success and positive learning experiences. Student engagement and participation opportunities can provide beneficial experiences along with fewer students per grade level. This is historically what AISD has valued and built its reputation upon, and the district believes two high schools provide the best opportunity to maintain that reputation and culture as we continue to grow.
What is the financial impact of the operating and construction budgets for future high school campuses?
The future transition will be approached similarly to any new campus opening, with careful planning and budgeting to help ensure the general fund stays within budget. The vast majority of the district’s budget is allocated to salaries and benefits and that will continue as AISD grows. The district will need additional staff to educate the additional students. In a two high school model, additional staff would be needed for district level positions (athletic director, fine arts director and potentially others). However, many large one high school districts eventually add these district level positions to manage the additional responsibilities associated with a school as large as Argyle is projected to be. The main difference with two high school schools is that there will be additional costs associated with travel and stipends, but these additional costs are increasing student participation and involvement. Another cost consideration is facilities. Argyle ISD is unique in that it already has two high school campuses. Both campuses have or will have fine arts facilities, auditoriums, multiple gymnasiums, tennis courts, football stadiums, locker rooms, weight rooms, state of the art indoor athletic facilities and parking lots. The current high school does not have a baseball or softball athletic complex and a decision will have to be made whether to add one to the current high school or utilize the existing baseball/softball complex as a district facility similar to how other districts use athletic facilities. As the district grows, updates and additions will be needed to all these facilities regardless of high school configuration. Additionally, the district will need to add classroom space for 1,100 high school students between the two campuses regardless of configuration. Options include adding space for 600 at the 377 campus (bringing capacity to 1,750) and adding space for 500 at the Canyon Falls campus (2,250 capacity). The funding of the high school expansion projects would be funded by a future bond. Additionally, as the district budget increases the percentage of the budget to operate two high schools diminishes.
What high school graduation class size does the community prefer? Based on two surveys, the community prefers the size of the class at 600 or fewer. The results of the community survey (2,700+ participants) from December 2021 (graphic below) included 65 percent that preferred a grade level class size of 600 or fewer. The High School Advisory & Planning Committee survey included 83 percent that preferred 500 or fewer students per grade level.
How much additional high school classroom space would be needed at the 377 campus and the high school in Canyon Falls?
The district will need to add classroom space for 1,100 high school students. Considerations include adding space for 600 at the 377 campus (bringing capacity to 1,750) and adding space for 500 at the Canyon Falls campus (2,250 capacity).
When will the district transition toward two high schools?
For the best benefit of students and after careful consideration of finances, the transition will occur when Argyle High School’s enrollment reaches 2,700. At this enrollment figure, it will assist with maintaining fewer students per grade level and provide for a more successful learning environment as the high school enrollment increases. The district would utilize the 377 campus as the additional high school facility. This facility is well-equipped for this transition as it previously served as a high school for 20 years. The high school enrollment figures in the chart are based on the fall 2022 demographics report.
What were the important factors in the decision of transitioning to two high schools?
With a smaller two high school setting, educational and extracurricular opportunities will increase. The district values individual student engagement and participation, and this will serve our students best in this setting. In a smaller environment, a student can participate in several different areas without specialization. Transitioning to two high schools also meets the desire by the community for fewer students per grade level.