FRISCO, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – Frisco ISD is considering a proposal that would build new schools and make existing campuses safer — all while lowering the property tax rate.
After the deadly shooting at Santa Fe High School in Texas last spring, Frisco ISD is considering installing bullet-resistant glass for all glass inside every new and existing school.
The proposal would also call for LED exterior lighting at the campuses and updating surveillance cameras there.
Sean Heatley, whose daughter starts kindergarten next week, is chairman of the Frisco ISD Facilities & Program Evaluation Committee.
He said, “The national news unfortunately puts us in a position of offense or defense.”
It’s part of a proposed $695 million dollar bond program.
Heatley said, “That’s a way to get close to the classroom and give one more layer of defense.”
The plan also calls for expanding the district’s natatorium and career and technology education center and building a 1,250 seat multi-purpose auditorium.
The district would also renovate campuses 20 years and older. “Like it or not, those are aging, and so we’ve got large buckets of schools coming due in the next five years that need a refresh,” he said.
In addition, the district may hold a tax ratification election that would lower the property tax rate by two cents, from $1.46 per $100 valuation to a $1.44.
It would do so by raising the tax rate on daily operations by 13 cents, and lowering the tax rate on debt by 15 cents, a move called tax swap and drop.
Frisco ISD Chief Financial Officer Kimberly Smith said, “Giving us this flexibility to move pennies from the debt rate would allow us to put more money into operations that we would get to keep locally through that funding formula while still giving us the ability to pay down our debt.”
The new proposals come after voters rejected the district’s tax ratification election two years ago, when the district would have raised the property tax rate by 13 cents.
As a result, the district delayed opening four schools by one year.
They will open next week.
One man who led the effort to kill that tax hike in August 2016 said that he thinks this time the district is taking the right step by lowering the tax rate, and he predicts it would pass.
Sean Heatley says he is optimistic. “I think our approach was better this cycle. We involved the community starting two years back right after the other one failed, we said ok, we have to do something different.”
The Frisco ISD Board will meet this Monday evening to discuss the proposals, and will vote on them the following Monday, August 20.