By Rodney Hays
Last week the student population at Prosper ISD hit the 6,000 mark. With more students comes the need for more space. Unfortunately, the district’s revenue is not keeping pace, causing the PISD board of trustees to discuss some creative ways to finance capital improvement projects.
According to the board briefs available on the PISD website, "Until PISD
realizes the benefits of new commercial/retail value, the district is very limited on
its access to the bond money that was approved several years ago."
PISD superintendent Drew Watkins said the district has the majority of the $710 million bond package approved by voters a couple of years ago.
"Although we have approximately $622 million left of the $710 million authorized bonds, we are cannot sell additional bonds at this time." Watkins said this week.
So, the board approved a measure to move forward on a "maintenance tax not" to help address capital improvement needs over the next two years.
Watkins said a maintenance tax note is often used to address capital needs. "Our challenge is that PISD cannot access the voted bonds as in the past until we are able to realize additional commercial/retail taxable value. Therefore, in order to keep up with the capital needs (buses, technology needs, etc.) of our growing district, a maintenance tax note is a viable alternative to address those needs."
The board also approved a resolution to allow the district to include purchases under the maintenance tax note that were made up to 60 days ago.
In other business:
— The Board approved the campus student handbooks along with the PISD Student
Code of Conduct for 2013-14. There are a number changes to a few things, but the most important issue will continue to be the enforcement of the handbook. The building principal has the ultimate authority on each campus and will ensure that enforcement.
The handbooks are available on each of the district’s campuses’ websites.
— The Board approved the Campus and District Improvement Plans for the 2013-14
school year. The plans serve as a guide for campus and district level decisions
and will be posted to the website prior to the start of school.
— The Board approved to seek the waiver days regarding the expedited waivers with
the Texas Education Agency as was previously approved in the 2013-2014
— The Board approved the MAP (Measures of Academic Progress) Assessments in
Reading, Math, and Science as one measure to evaluate student growth from
kindergarten through 12th grade. This is consistent with the district’s work as a
member of the High Performance Schools Consortium and the district’s
commitment in using multiple tools to evaluate student learning. MAP will be
replacing some of the testing that has been used in PISD.
— The Board approved the Financial/Investment/Tax Reports for June, 2013. Detailed reports can be viewed via the district website (www.prosper-isd.net).
— The Board approved the technology-related purchases under the authorization that
was approved last month to accommodate student/staff growth throughout PISD.
These purchases assist with replacing aging equipment while allowing the District
to pilot new technology in targeted areas.
— The Board approved the Depository Contract Agreement with Independent Bank.
The next meet is set for Aug. 19, where the board will discuss and vote on the budget for the upcoming year.