Bond issue to prompt big debate

Princeton school district officials want their constituents — such as my wife and me — to spend a lot of money to build schools and perhaps add some more venues that officials deem are necessary to serve a growing district.

The price tag is $797 million, which is the biggest bond issue I’ve ever been asked to approve. For the record, I am going to vote “yes” on May 6 when the issue comes up for a decision.

What fascinates me about this, though, is a reality I didn’t think was possible. The bond issue will not affect the school district tax rate. It will remain the same, even if voters approve the amount of spending that is headed for the ballot.

That doesn’t mean, however, that voters’ tax bills won’t increase. Why? Because the Collin County Appraisal District is going to assess increases in property valuation in the years ahead. It’s a normal occurrence, given the growth that is occurring in this North Texas county … and is damn sure occurring in Princeton.

The tax rate is likely, as I see it, to spur considerable debate among residents. That’s a good thing, to be sure.

As for the total tax bill that Princeton ISD residents could face, that issue is beyond the scope of the school district. PISD officials will need to make it clear that it controls only the rate that residents are charged, but that the total bill remains the purview of the other independent entities.

I was privileged to watch this bond issue take shape from the beginning almost to its conclusion. The PISD long-range planning committee did its job in good faith and given the district’s explosive growth, presented a reasonable proposal to cope with it.

The tax rate will not be an issue going forward.