DALLAS — The Lewisville Independent School District plans to offer $87.7 million of unlimited-tax bonds in a competitive sale Monday, with the proceeds going to build additions to two elementary schools.

The sale exhausts a $306.7 million authorization approved in 2001 and a $199.5 million bond package overwhelmingly passed by district voters in October 2005.

“These are the last of the bonds [from the authorizations] that we’ll be using for the construction of new wings onto Bluebonnet and Bridlewood elementary schools,” said Dean Tackett, the district’s public information director.

Lewisville is mulling another bond election for May, possibly for as much as $700 million, for three new elementary schools, one middle school, four ninth-grade campuses, additional fine arts and athletic facilities, technology upgrades, and maintenance to existing facilities.

The student population of the rapidly growing school system, which is about 10 miles north of Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, has climbed 64% in the past decade. The current enrollment is about 49,500 students. Officials expect to continue to add about 1,000 students annually until 2016.

The district has built 51 new schools since 1980 and more than 30% of that construction has occurred in the past 10 years. Lewisville ISD draws students from at least 13 communities across North Texas. The total population of the areas within the district has more than doubled the past 15 years to roughly 275,000 from 132,000 in 1992.

The debt to be sold Monday will be structured as serial bonds maturing from 2011 through 2028, or a combination of serials and term bonds. Insurance for the bonds will be at the bidder’s option.

Southwest Securities Inc. is the financial adviser to the district and McCall, Parkhurst & Horton LLP serves as bond counsel.

John Martin, senior vice president with Southwest Securities, said he expects to see “quite a few bids” on the debt.

“We have a good name here with a high underlying credit,” Martin said. “Couple that with the nervousness we’re seeing in the market right now as far as bond insurers are concerned and we expect the recent upgrade to benefit the ISD tremendously.”

Last month, Standard & Poor’s upgraded its underlying rating on the credit to AA-plus from AA due to the district’s “long-term trend of strong financial operations, resulting in an above-average general fund position.”

Analysts said Lewisville ended fiscal 2007 with an unreserved general fund balance of $118.4 million, well above the council-adopted $45 million resolution.

The district’s assessed value rose nearly 8% annually the past five years to $21.3 billion for fiscal 2008 from $14.6 billion in 2003, according to Standard & Poor’s.

Fitch Ratings assigned a AA rating to the issue. It listed as credit stregths the district’s tax base that “continues to grow and diversify with expansion of commercial construction,” solid fund-balance levels, and historically strong voter support for bond programs. Analysts said each of the district’s bond elections in the past 22 years have been approved by more than 80% of voters.

Both rating agencies said the outlook is stable. Moody’s Investors Service doesn’t rate the district’s underlying credit.

Superintendent Jerry Roy said he doesn’t expect the bonds to be further enhanced by the state’s triple-A rated Permanent School Fund because the district’s debt-service per student ratio doesn’t meet the parameters of the program.

“We’re in a good position though, as the upgrade should result in our taxpayers getting a better interest rate on this debt, as we’re a lower risk than other Texas school districts,” Roy said. “The upgrade is also solid evidence that we are doing one hell of a good job controlling our finances and managing the needs of the district.”

Following next week’s sale, Lewisville ISD will have $810.6 million of debt outstanding.


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