$750 million bond would pay for new schools, upgrades in FWISD

Fort Worth ISD residents will vote on a $750 million bond proposal Nov. 7 that would pay for two new schools and educational upgrades for high schools, according to district officials.

“The district is expected to approach 90,000 students by 2020, and this current bond program addresses both our growing needs (new schools and classrooms) and a critically needed educational upgrade for our high schools,” FWISD superintendent Kent P. Scribner said in an online statement.

The proposed bond is broken up into three sections where the $750 million will be allocated: upgrades for high schools, school overcrowding and student growth and specialized rigorous schools and programs.

High schools in Fort Worth ISD could receive various upgrades. Money will be allocated to upgrade science departments, libraries, collaboration areas, athletics, extra curricular activities and other areas.

If the bond is passed, a board will meet to evaluate and determine which high schools are in need of which upgrades.

Clint Bond, the director of external and emergency communications, put into perspective what the bond measure will cover.

“Keep in mind that our 10-year long range facilities plan came up with $1.6 billion in projects that really need to be done in Fort Worth ISD,” he said.

Some of these projects include updating safety and security within Fort Worth ISD.

In 2007, the district began installing security cameras, Bond said. A lot of those cameras have outlived their lifespan and need to be replaced, which is just one aspect of safety and security, he emphasized.

The bond would cover $750 million–or slightly less than half–of the $1.6 billion long range plan, Bond said. Another $850 million worth of projects would still need to be completed.

The Long-Range Facilities Master Plan advisory group developed the $750 million bond proposal over a period of six months, according to the district. The group of parents, educators and community leaders focused on what FWISD schools needed to equip students to enter the 21st century workforce.

Some Fort Worth parents said they didn’t think the new upgrades were as important as a supportive family environment in preparing students for the workforce.

“I do not think adding more money into the school system has anything to do with having better students,” said Blair Walker, a mother of three. “Better home life is what makes kids confident enough to enter the workforce.”

The last day to register to vote on the bond proposal is Oct. 10, with early voting running from Oct. 23 through Nov. 3. Election day is Tuesday, Nov. 7.