Superintendent Kent Scribner is inviting parents, community members and taxpayers to delve deep into a proposed $749.7 million bond program during a series of upcoming town halls that begin Thursday and continue through October.
The bond package, the largest in Tarrant County history, will go before voters on Nov. 7.
Fort Worth school district officials said that the bond package would not require a tax rate increase because of soaring property values.
Scribner said the bond would address a portion of an estimated $1.6 billion in needs for school buildings. The investment in the district’s 87,000 students is a “must,” he said, adding that the plan comes as they work to make gains in early literacy, middle school math and college and career readiness.
“We believe that investing in our capital facilities will allow us to sustain that success — in fact, accelerate it,” Scribner said.
The town hall meetings are open to the public and will be held at various high schools. The district has posted information about the bond program and town hall meetings. Additionally, the district has posted campus-by-campus explainer sheets that outline what projects will be included for each campus.
The first town hall meeting will take place Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at the Texas Academy of Biomedical Sciences at 3813 Valentine St. in Fort Worth.
Tanglewood Elementary overcrowding solutions were discussed, at times emotionally by parents, at a FWISD forum at Paschal High Wednesday evening.
The bond program has three main areas of focus, including about $581 million to pay for upgrades to 14 high schools. That portions represents the largest part of the proposed bond. It will pay for renovations and upgrades for high schools include science labs, learning spaces for career and technical education, library renovations and collaborative learning areas.
The bond and TRE election will be Nov. 7. Early voting begins Oct. 23 and ends Nov. 3. The last day to register to vote is Oct. 10.
An estimated $52.1 million will address overcrowding and campus growth in several areas of the district, including a new elementary school for families that live in the Tanglewood school boundary near TCU.
About $40.8 million would be spent to relocate and renovate two specialty schools. Preliminary plans call for the Texas Academy of Biomedical Sciences, or TABS, to move from 3813 Valentine St. to the Tarrant County College Trinity River Campus in downtown Fort Worth. The Young Men’s Leadership Academy would move from 5100 Willie St. near the Dunbar High School campus.
The bond program is one of two propositions that voters will decide. The district is also holding a tax ratification election.
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The ratification would let the school district restructure its tax rate and move 2 cents from one tax pool to another — it’s called a tax swap — which district officials say will generate more than $23 million annually, including a boost in state funding.
The overall tax rate of $1.352 per $100 valuation is not changing — it’s just being restructured. The overall tax rate has two sides: Maintenance and operations ($1.04) and debt service (31.2 cents). Under ratification, the tax pools would change to $1.06 and 29.2 cents, respectively.
“We believe this is a package,” Scribner said of the two propositions. “If we are going to achieve and complete all of the projects that are listed ... they are both essential.”
The last day to register to vote is Oct. 10. Early voting begins Oct. 23 and ends Nov. 3.
This report contains material from the Star-Telegram archives.
Town hall meetings
6:30-7:30 p.m.. Texas Academy of Biomedical Science, 3813 Valentine St., Fort Worth
6-7 p.m. Trimble Tech & YWLA, 1003 W. Cannon St., Fort Worth
6-7 p.m. Eastern Hills High School, 5701 Shelton St., Fort Worth
6-7 p.m. South Hills High School, 6101 McCart Ave., Fort Worth
6-7 p.m. Carter-Riverside High School, 3301 Yucca Ave., Fort Worth
6-7 p.m. Dunbar& YMLA, 5700 Ramey Ave., Fort Worth
6-7 p.m. Paschal High School, 3001 Forest Park Blvd., Fort Worth
6-7 p.m. Benbrook Town Hall, 201 Overcrest Dr., Benbrook
6-7 p.m. North Side High School, 2211 McKinley Ave., Fort Worth
6-7 p.m. Diamond Hill-Jarvis & Marine Creek Collegiate, 1411 Maydell St., Fort Worth
6-7 p.m. Southwest High School, 4100 Altamesa Blvd., Fort Worth
6:30-7:30 p.m. Arlington Heights High School, 4501 W. Freeway, Fort Worth
6-7 p.m. Polytechnic High School, 1300 Conner Ave., Fort Worth
6-7 p.m. Western Hills & World Languages Institute, 3600 Boston Ave., Benbrook
6-7 p.m. O.D. Wyatt & TCC-South, 2400 E. Seminary