When the FISD Board of Trustees called for a 13-cent tax increase in spring 2016, the school district was still experiencing growth at a rate of 3,500 to 3,700 new students each year. The rate of growth has slowed down since that time. FISD added approximately 2,600 students each year between October 2015 and October 2017. The District is projected to continue to add students, but at a slightly slower rate than the past, which further slows the District’s building program.
Fewer new students allowed FISD to accommodate some of the enrollment growth in existing schools. The District took a close look at attendance zones in fall 2017 to utilize existing school capacity and made changes that impacted 26 schools.
At the same time, taxable values in Frisco ISD increased by approximately 16 percent each year from 2015 to 2017. Property value growth directly benefits the interest and sinking (I&S) fund, so when property value growth outpaces student enrollment growth and building needs, capacity is created within the debt service fund.
In addition, thanks to low interest rates, FISD borrowed funds authorized through the 2014 bond program at lower rates than were anticipated in 2016, saving interest over the long term and creating additional capacity in the debt fund. From 2015 to 2017, FISD paid off $11,790,000 in bonds and refinanced $475,570,000 of existing debt, saving taxpayers $132,991,201 in interest over the life of the bonds. Since 2007, the District’s debt refinancing activities have saved over $180 million in interest costs.
All of these factors – some that FISD controlled and some that were out of FISD’s control – gave Frisco ISD the capacity to lower the I&S tax rate.