Claiming they’ve been backed into a corner by state law, rapidly growing school districts across Texas – including a handful locally – have turned to a controversial pay-later method of borrowing to accommodate their expanding student bodies.
Leander, which has nearly doubled in size in the past decade to 34,232 students, is among those districts relying on capital appreciation bonds that delay repayment for decades while interest grows to as much as 10 times the amount borrowed. The districts say the bonds allow them to make the improvements demanded by growth, even as they bump up against a state-mandated limit on taxes they can collect to pay off debt.
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Central Texas school districts debt per student:
Liberty Hill: $42,384
- Hutto: $32,567
Dripping Springs: $30,859
- Leander: $29,762
Lake Travis: $24,097
- Georgetown: $20,560
- Bastrop: $20,115
- Round Rock: $16,700
San Marcos: $16,183
Del Valle: $15,509
- Pflugerville: $15,457
Source: Texas Bond Review Board, 2011 figures