Why Hold a Bond Election Now?
“Why are you going out for a bond election in the middle of COVID-19?”
We have heard this question from many community members. While the timing may seem odd, the reasoning is simple. We believe that the current environment we are experiencing due to COVID-19 will not be around forever, while this bond election takes a long-term approach for our school district. Election Day is on November 3, 2020, yet the first set of projects in this bond proposal would not begin until the Summer of 2021. Per state law, school districts may only hold bond elections in either November or May. If this bond election was held next May, it would not provide the school district enough time to begin the first projects that summer. Many projects are slated for the summer months to minimize impact on students.
Additionally, if voters approve a bond election, it grants the Board of Trustees the authorization to sell bonds, but does not require them to do so. The Board can consider the economic outlook and interest rates before selling any bonds. Bonds would not be sold in November, and instead would be sold closer to the timeline of beginning projects.
The Planning Process
Another answer to “why now?” is that this bond proposal was created and recommended by members of the community, not Allen ISD officials or the Board of Trustees.
Project Kids was formed in February 2020 to assess and prioritize Allen ISD’s current and long-term facility and capital projects. The 80-member citizen committee represented a cross-section of the Allen community and included parents, grandparents, parents with children who have already graduated from high school, individuals without children, teachers, and Allen High School students. The application process to join Project Kids was open to the community, and participants provided a wide range of viewpoints, including both those who voted for and against the unsuccessful 2019 bond election.
Representatives from Project Kids presented a bond proposal recommendation to the Allen ISD Board of Trustees on July 27.
Project Kids was originally scheduled to meet in March 2020, but the process was delayed due to COVID-19. The committee began meeting virtually on May 12, culminating with a sixth and final meeting on June 23. The committee was led by an independent facilitator to guide the group members through an open process that included community voice and committee input.
During the committee process, members heard from district staff and third-party experts with long-standing knowledge of AISD, such as the district’s financial advisor and the district’s demographer. Following each presentation, the committee met in small groups of approximately 10 members to discuss the information and create questions for staff.
A two-step consensus model was used to determine which items were placed on the final proposal that Project Kids presented to the Board. First, each small group voted on individual projects, and 2/3 consensus was necessary to move each project forward. Next, a 2/3 consensus was necessary from all of the small groups before a project was added to the final proposal. Ultimately, the committee reached 3/4 majority consensus.
For more information on the process and to view committee meeting materials, click here.