Friday, January 27, 2023

Denton ISD calls $1.4B bond election

The Denton ISD Board of Trustees last week unanimously called a $1.4 billion bond election to pay for three new elementary schools, a new high school, renovations, improvements and more.

The board approved the recommendation of the Citizens’ Advisory Committee to call a capital improvement plan to address growth, programmatic needs and equity across the district, according to a Denton ISD news release. If approved by voters, the referendum would generate the necessary $1.4 billion to address district needs and not change the district’s current $0.48 debt service tax rate.

“Because our community has such an outstanding reputation for serving families, we continue to be in a cycle of growth, both in physical space and expectations of programs and opportunities,” said Dr. Jamie Wilson, superintendent of schools. “Denton ISD has a lengthy history of sound fiscal management in keeping with our rich tradition of being good stewards of tax dollars.”

The bond package covers proposed projects that will impact every campus, including:

  • Three new elementary school sites
  • Comprehensive high school No. 5
  • Career and Technical Education Center near high school No. 5
  • CTE Additions at the LaGrone Academy
  • Guyer High School Ag Barn Improvements
  • Middle School Athletics Renovations
  • High School Athletics Renovations
  • High School Multi-purpose Facilities
  • C.H. Collins Stadium Renovations
  • Guyer Baseball Restroom and Parking Additions
  • Elementary Fine Arts Refurbishments
  • Elementary Campus Renovations
  • Borman Elementary Replacement Campus
  • Ginnings Elementary Replacement Campus
  • Middle School Renovations
  • Ryan HS Band Hall Expansion/Reconfiguration
  • Sisk Annex Capital Improvements
  • District HVAC Controls/Replacement
  • District Roof Replacements
  • Technology Upgrades and Infrastructure
  • Safety and security improvements
  • Updates to facilities used for athletics and fine arts
  • Food Service Upgrades
  • Transportation Improvements, Including Buses
  • Land Purchases for Future Sites

“As a Dentonite by choice, and the father of a prekindergarten student, I was honored to be selected to serve on this committee,” said Andrew Morris, a member of the Citizens’ Advisory Committee who presented during the board meeting. “We had several questions regarding the funding and the feasibility of this program. This committee’s work was thorough and detailed, and personally, I believe this is an investment in the community and our kids’ futures.”

Development of the 2023 proposal involved an in-depth process of gathering information, research and community input. Throughout the fall of 2022, the district conducted a comprehensive facilities assessment, facilitated staff interviews, and analyzed demographic and growth reports.

“The entire process allowed for collaboration focused on all of our students and faculty and how we can make them successful in Denton ISD,” said Charlie Stinson, a member of the Citizens’ Advisory Committee at Tuesday night’s meeting. “We want the best for our children, want to be involved in the process and want to be great stewards of our tax dollars. Our committee accomplished all of these goals, and I am proud to have my name on the creation of this bond.”

In September, the district solicited input from the Citizens’ Advisory Committee — a group comprised of 77 community members and 15 students from a variety of geographic areas and backgrounds. CAC committee members met six times during a four-month period to study and prioritize the district’s current and long-term facility needs.

“You really represent through this bond approval process the future of Denton ISD,” Trustee Dr. Jim Alexander said, thanking the Citizens’ Advisory Committee for their work. “What you have been doing is thinking ahead and engaging in a futuristic activity to help us prepare for Denton ISD in 2028, 2029 and 2030. It is those children who will be here those years that will benefit from this process.

The district said the board has used debt management practices, including the refinancing of existing bonds, to lower the borrowing costs of taxpayers over the years. Since 2005, this practice has reduced the cost of voter-approved bonds resulting in $274.4 million in direct savings to district taxpayers. For 20 consecutive years, Denton ISD has achieved the highest possible rating in the school Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas (FIRST), the financial accountability system established by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) and enacted by the Texas Legislature in 2001, according to the district.

Denton ISD residents can vote on the bond referendum during Early Voting, April 24 through May 2, and on Election Day, May 6.

Mark Smith
Mark Smith
Mark Smith is the Digital Editor of The Cross Timbers Gazette.

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