Analysis of Texas K-12 School District Bond Data

We've been on-boarding customers for BondPlanner, and in the process of doing that, I began to look at school district bond data for the State of Texas to provide some additional input for the districts we support. I decided to limit my analysis to the years from 2001 to today. With school bond funding being the fuel for K-12 maintenance and growth, I was interested in doing some analysis.

One comment regarding the data. The Texas data requires a bit of cleanup. Anyone that does any data analysis knows that this comes with the territory. A few changes by the state on their data acquisition process could yield immediate improvements. The State of California is far ahead in this area. Enough about that, let's get to the data.

First, let's look at the total bond issues per year from 2001-Present:

Texas school district bonds by year

School bond offers took a significant dip during 2007-2009, just like everything else did during that time. We saw a recent peak in 2015, with a pullback into this year, though 2017 is not over. I know of a few bond offers that are planned for this November, and they are large. If they pass, we might see 2017 surpass the 2015 peak.

Let's take this same data and overlay a linear trend line:

TX school district bonds by year with trend line

The trend slopes upward, though gradual. After November 2017, we can check our upper and lower bounds to see how close this projection is.

Next, let's look at the distribution of the bond offer size. I wanted to see where the greatest concentration of bond offers were and if there were any outliers. What I did was group the bond offers in $100M groups--$0-$99M, $100M-$199M, etc. The blue bars indicate the total value that carried within that size, and the red are those that failed. Again, this is for 2001-Present:

TX school district bond size distribution

As you can see, the size of the bond offers decreases steadily to the $500M size, then basically flattens. It seems that if a school district is targeting the ~$400M range, they should consider $499M, as the data shows greater success. Yes, I know that data does not tell the whole story.

Then I was curious about this distribution over time. How many $0-$99M, $100M-$199M, etc bond offers were presented each year? Let's have a look:

TX school district bond offers by size and year

This chart is a little more difficult to interpret, but if you look at the first one that I showed, the peaks and valleys align. It is the value offered over time. The colors indicate the size of the offer (ties back to our distribution). 

Here's the color legend: 

  • Grey = $0-$99M
  • Brown = $100-$199M
  • Pink = $200M-$299M
  • Blue = $300M-$399M
  • Green = $400-$499M
  • Yellow = $500M-$599M
  • Orange = $600M-$699M
  • Red = $700M-$799M
  • Purple = $800M-$899M
  • Additional Grey = >$900M

The final bits of data that I looked at were focused on recent bond elections, which school districts were involved and whether they carried or failed. I'll present this two ways: A map and tabular data.

TX school bond offers by district and size 2017

The size of the bubble relates to the size of the bond offer and blue indicates carried, red indicates failed.

The tabular data shown below relates to the data shown in the map and provides the bond offer value, the number of propositions and votes for/against. The list was too large to capture all of the carried and failed, so what you see is most of it, but certainly not the complete list.

So there you have it. History doesn't necessarily predict the future, but we all know that looking at prior results can help us make a more informed decision.

For each of you in the throws of reviewing bond scenarios with your committee and/or school board, we're here to help! BondPlanner makes that process fast, easy.

We're easy to work with and no pressure. Either you see the value or your don't. We have too many opportunities in front of us to debate that with anyone.