FORNEY, Texas — The Forney Independent School District will seek a $623 million bond election on the November ballot in anticipation of future growth in the district boundaries and ever-increasing student enrollment numbers.
Over the next 10 years, the district anticipates the student population to grow over 70% from its current enrollment of approximately 11,300 students to over 18,500 students.
Anticipating the growth, the district assembled an “Innovative Facilities Planning Committee,” made up of more than 60 community members, to evaluate and recommend a proposed facilities plan to the Forney ISD Board of Trustees.
The committee presented its recommendation to the board and, during the May 28, 2019 meeting, unanimously approved calling for a bond election on the November ballot.
District officials say, if approved by voters, the total bond amount would not be sold immediately. Instead, bonds would be sold as-needed and only if the district had the financial capacity and current enrollment numbers deemed a necessity.
“Due to conservative fiscal management by our board, Forney ISD is financially healthy, and now able to look at building new schools,” added Forney ISD Superintendent Dr. Justin Terry. “We will continue to be conservative and efficient before selling any potentially authorized bonds by watching two trigger points of growth and financial capacity. ”
The district hasn’t built or opened a new campus in eight years. In fact, the district recently sold the last of its 2006-voter approved bonds to fund renovations and expansions at several campuses to address immediate growth needs.
According to the district demographer, there are 40 subdivisions within the district’s boundaries that are actively building homes or are in the planning stages; of which, eight subdivisions have more than 1,000 planned lots and two have more than 3,000 planned lots. Six of the subdivisions are currently building more than 100 homes per year.
The boundaries currently includes some 21,000 future planned lots.
In the next five years, Forney ISD is forecasted to add more than 8,700 new homes and 1,000 new multi-family units.
In 2018-19 alone, the district grew by approximately 1,000 students.
So, what does the 2019 bond package propose to fund?
At the elementary level, $294 million is designated to an Early Childhood Center for Pre-K, two elementary schools and elementary school improvements, a new Johnson Elementary School, and intermediate school and improvements.
At the secondary level, $307 million is designated for a middle school and improvements, high school expansions and improvements, and a College and Career Center and improvements.
Another $16 million is designated for repurposing the current Johnson Elementary School and district-wide capital improvements. The $623 million total bond package is rounded out with a $6 million contingency fund.
The Forney ISD’s tax rate has been $1.54 per $100 in assessed home valuation since 2012. According to Forney ISD, due to new state legislation, the overall tax rate may decrease to $1.47 even with voter approval of the bond package.
House Bill 3, signed by Governor Greg Abbott in June, designated $5.1 billion in school district property tax relief — providing an average 8-cent property tax reduction statewide in 2020 and an additional 5-cent reduction in 2021. Additionally, it called for provisions prohibiting tax rate increases of more than 2.5% on a large portion of a district’s property tax rates.
Early voting for the November ballot will be from October 21 to November 1 with Election Day on Tuesday, November 5, 2019.
To view the complete 2018 Fall Demographic Update, click here.