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Argyle ISD's Recent Bond History & Future Outlook

school financeJuly 14, 2021

Argyle ISD is releasing a series of informational messages to help provide more clarity to the state of the district financially and the future as it relates to enrollment growth and capital needs. The third of four informational Question-and-Answer communications from Argyle ISD will help provide a look at the district's recent bond history and future capital needs outlook.

What is a bond election and how are bond packages built?
School districts are required by state law to ask voters for permission to sell bonds to investors in order to raise the capital dollars required for projects such as renovation to existing buildings or building a new school. Through this, voters are giving permission for the district to take out a loan and pay that loan back over an extended period of time, much like a family takes out a mortgage loan for their home. A School Board calls a bond election so voters can decide whether or not they want to pay for proposed facility projects. Bond packages are built by a committee that is made up of parents, teachers and community members. The committee studies the district’s demographics, finances, current facilities, instructional priorities and community expectations in building a bond package to recommend to the School Board.

When was Argyle ISD's last bond election, and what was included in the package?
Argyle ISD's last bond election was in May 2017. Voters approved a $166 million bond that included Phase II of Argyle High School, Argyle West Elementary, Elementary School #3, a new Transportation Center and Administration Building. The bond also included new buses and renovations and updates to Argyle High School, Argyle Intermediate and Hilltop Elementary. AHS Phase II opens in August, ES #3 is scheduled to open in the 2022-2023 school year, the Administration Building is expected to open in late 2021 or early 2022 and the Transportation Department is in the planning process. AHS/Hilltop construction updates are being done this summer and most of the work at AIS will start next year. Voters approved a 2014 bond for $45 million that included a middle school and $10 million committed to athletic construction and upgrades.

What are the possible future capital needs of the district?
According to the district’s demographers, Argyle ISD will need additional capacity at the elementary and middle school grades (Pre-K-8th) within the next four years. Argyle ISD will have three elementary schools in 2022-2023, but will need additional space by the 2024-2025 school year, per the enrollment growth projections with a large number of students coming from the Harvest and Canyon Falls communities. As far as middle school growth, the district would need a second middle school by the 2025-2026 school year. Argyle ISD currently has one middle school, which is the former high school on Highway 377. While this campus does provide additional capacity for a middle school, the rate of growth will see the campus reach maximum capacity by the 2025-2026 school year with a projected 1,390 students in grades 6th-8th. Additionally, these campus considerations do NOT factor in the possibility of a Furst Ranch enrollment impact.

With the current and future enrollment growth and resulting capital needs in Argyle ISD, what is the potential for a future bond election?
Due to the current enrollment forecast and facility needs to provide instructional space, Argyle ISD would possibly seek a bond election in May 2022. This process would include a community-based committee, approved by the School Board, constructing a bond package during the fall of 2021. The bond package built by the committee would be presented to the School Board for approval of calling a bond election.

What has the district done to pay off past bonds? 
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.