Frequently Asked Questions
What is a bond?
A bond is similar to a home mortgage. It is a contract to repay borrowed money with interest over time. Bonds are sold by a school district to competing lenders to raise funds to pay for the costs of construction, renovations and equipment. Most school districts in Texas utilize bonds to finance renovations and new facilities.
How can bond funds be used?
Bond funds can be used to pay for new buildings, additions and renovations to existing facilities, land acquisition, technology infrastructure and equipment for new or existing buildings. Bonds cannot be used for salaries or operating costs such as utility bills, supplies, building maintenance, fuel and insurance.
What is a bond election?
School districts are required by state law to ask voters for permission to sell bonds to investors to raise the capital dollars required for projects such as renovation to existing buildings or building a new school. Essentially, the 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.
Exactly how much is the proposed bond package?
The Board of Trustees called a bond election in the amount of $1,337,000,000 to be brought before voters on May 4, 2019.
How was the bond package developed?
Development of the bond proposal was an in-depth process of information gathering, research and community input. The Board of Trustees worked with staff for more than a year to study growth trends, facility assessments and financial data before convening the Bond Planning Committee to seek input from the community. The Board received a recommendation from the Bond Planning Committee, studied options and deliberated before voting unanimously to call for a bond election.
How can the district call a bond election with no increase to the tax rate?
According to state law, a public school district cannot raise taxes higher than $1.67 per $100 of property value. Therefore, Prosper ISD’s existing tax rate of $1.67 would not change as a result of the 2019 bond election. Learn more by watching the 2-Minute Drill from April 3.
Where does the money come from? How can Prosper ISD afford these projects without changing the tax rate?
Much like a family takes out a mortgage, the school district would sell bonds to fund new construction projects. The bonds would be sold against new value that has resulted from more homes and businesses being built in Prosper ISD. Prosper ISD’s ability to issue additional bonds will continue to grow as the student population and the Taxable Assessed Values (TAVs) continue to rise.
If the tax rate is staying the same, does this mean the money is already available?
Not exactly. School districts are required by state law to have elections to get permission from voters to sell bonds to fund new schools and other capital projects. Prosper ISD would need authorization from voters before it could move forward with the new projects identified in the 2019 bond proposal. The last time Prosper ISD voters authorized the sale of bonds was in 2007. Since then, the district has used the approved $710 million worth of bonds to fund the construction of eight new elementary schools, two middle schools, two high schools, a stadium, a natatorium, and a maintenance/bus facility. Bond money for the proposed projects outlined in the 2019 bond is not available to the district without an election approved by voters who reside within Prosper ISD.
How will the proposed bond election affect my taxes?
There will be no impact to the Prosper ISD tax rate as a result of this election. The current tax rate is $1.67 per $100 of property valuation and the rate will stay the same regardless of election results. Per state law, the tax rate cannot go higher than $1.67.
What if I am over 65 years old? What is the tax rate I pay?
The school district tax rate will not change for anyone in Prosper ISD as a result of this election. In addition, residents 65 and over are eligible for an “over 65” exemption. If you have applied for and received the age 65 and older exemption on your homestead, by law, your school taxes cannot be raised above their frozen level. The amount of taxes you pay is determined by the tax amount at the time your taxes were frozen. The taxes cannot go up as a result of this election.
What if I am over 65 years old and receive the “Senior Citizen Exemption” and my home value goes up, will my taxes increase?
The appraised value can change, but the amount of school taxes on your homestead cannot increase. Normal repairs, maintenance and the economic impact of the market cannot increase the amount of taxes you will pay once a tax ceiling is in place on that homestead. Therefore, if this bond election is successful, it will not have an impact on the tax bill for homesteads that are receiving the senior citizen exemption, unless you make significant improvements to your home.
Who is eligible to vote in this election?
Any registered voter that resides within the Prosper ISD boundaries.
Can I still register to vote in the election?
The deadline for voter registration is April 4, 2019. If you are not registered to vote by this deadline, then you are not eligible to vote in this election. The Texas Voter Registration Application can be found online here, or applications can be picked up at any Post Office, library or Department of Public Safety location. All schools in Prosper ISD also have copies of the Voter Registration Application.
After I have registered, when will I receive my Voter Registration Certificate?
You should receive a Voter Registration Certificate within 30 days. On Election Day, please bring your certificate to your local polling place if you have it. However, all that is required to vote is a valid ID.