The board of trustees from Prosper ISD approved placing a $2.8 billion bond package on the November 7 ballot earlier this week.
Voters will be able to weigh in on the use of tax dollars to expand school facilities in response to enrollment growth.
Earlier this month, the district broke ground on its fourth high school, as previously covered in The Dallas Express. Richland High School will span 530,000 square feet and include a separate 75,000-square-foot multipurpose building.
The district has seen a surge in numbers, which currently stand at over 28,000 students. Superintendent Holly Ferguson reported that this number is expected to hit 50,000.
“As one of the fastest-growing school districts in the state that attracts more than 3,000 new students each year, we must continually evaluate our facilities and support systems to determine if our learning environments, equipment and infrastructure are equipped to best support the future for our children and community,” Ferguson said in a statement ahead of the trustees’ vote, according to Community Impact.
Due to infrastructure issues, this growth has had negative impacts on students and teachers alike.
Class sizes are not optimal, while almost 5,000 students are currently being taught in portable classrooms, according to Ferguson.
She suggested that enhancing the district’s building program over the next five to seven years could turn this growth into a positive.
“Growth is our greatest opportunity to improve every second of every day,” Ferguson said during the August 21 meeting, according to Community Impact. “Every time we get a new student walking in the door … something magical is going to happen.”
The bond package that will appear on November’s ballot includes four propositions.
Proposition A is by far the largest at $2.4 billion. It targets the expansion of the district with funds going towards improving existing school campuses, purchasing land to build new ones, and buying new school buses and other vehicles.
More specifically, four campuses would be expanded and eight would be upgraded. Meanwhile, one early childhood school, six elementary schools, two middle schools, and two high schools would be built.
Proposition B seeks technological upgrades across the district for a total of $140 million.
Proposition C would see athletic fields and facilities upgraded while a new stadium is erected capable of seating 8,000 people. These projects amount to $102 million.
Finally, proposition D would allocate $125 million to the construction of a 2,500-seat performing arts center. While students interested in theater, music, and more would have a space to perform, community groups would also be able to rent space.
While districts like Prosper have had to grapple with surges in student enrollment, Dallas ISD has been losing students for years.
This has been in part due to Dallas ISD’s poor student achievement outcomes. STAAR exams for the 2021-2022 school year showed that 41% of its students scored at grade level, significantly below the 48% statewide average. The scores released for the 2022-2023 school year do not show much improvement, as covered in The Dallas Express.
Prosper ISD saw slightly better results in 2021-2022, with 66% of students achieving at grade level or above.