The Fort Worth school board has posted its agenda for a board workshop on Monday at 5:30 p.m. It includes no public comment or closed session portion.
The single discussion item is: "Review Capital Improvement Plans to Define 2013 Bond Proposition."
Also: Read a Star-Telegram editorial on the furor here.
They say: "This would be a good time for residents of the Fort Worth school district to remain calm, at least until Superintendent Walter Dansby has a chance next week to give trustees a pared-down list of projects for a possible November bond election."
Update 5:20 p.m. Tuesday
Fort Worth schools trustees plan to meet in a special meeting on Monday to talk about the potential bond program.
Trustees reviewed potential projects that could be included in the package at a meeting on July 29. Next week's meeting is a chance to ask questions about the presentation from Superintendent Walter Dansby and officials from AECOM, the district's bond consultants, said school board president Christene Moss.
Trustees also plan to meet Tuesday for their regular meeting, Moss said.
Parents at Tanglewood Elementary will get a survey by email on Friday to provide feedback on possible bond options to handle overcrowding at the campus.
There is a proposal to have the current Tanglewood campus serve prekindergarten students through second grade and have third, fourth and fifth graders attend a new campus that would be built in River Hills, said trustee Judy Needham.
Consultants working on the possible Fort Worth schools bond package presented a proposal on Monday that called for building a new Tanglewood Elementary and moving the McLean Sixth Grade Center into the current Tanglewood site. McLean's current site, in turn, would become a prekindergarten center.
That proposal was among several project ideas outlined in a report to trustees by consultants from AECOM. Trustees will now work to decide what projects to include in a possible bond package. They are to vote on Aug. 13 on whether to call a Nov. 5 election.
Needham noted that the projects are subject to change and that the district is seeking public input.
A meeting for the Tanglewood neighborhood is planned for Aug. 8 or 12 at 7 p.m. at the school. The consultants from AECOM are scheduled to be there to explain how they arrived at their recommendations, Needham said.
The list of proposed projects being considered for inclusion in a Fort Worth school district bond package includes a new campus for Tanglewood Elementary School.
The area is experiencing significant student growth.
A demographics report prepared for the school district shows that Tanglewood is overcrowded. The school's capacity is 588 students. Last school year, there were 771 students at the campus. By 2017-2018, the school is projected to have 872 students and enrollment could swell to 1,003 by 2022-2023.
District officials stress that trustees must determine which projects would be put into a final bond package. If they go forward, and voters approve, here's how the plan would work.
First, a new elementary school would be built for the students in the current Tanglewood Elementary attendance area. Tanglewood students would move into the new campus.
The current Tanglewood campus on Overton Park Drive would be prepared for use as the new McLean Sixth Grade Center. Students at McLean Sixth would move there.
McLean Sixth Grade Center on South Hills Avenue would be converted to a prekindergarten/early childhood center, the school district's first such campus.
The district wants to launch universal prekindergarten, offering pre-k to all four year olds in the school district. To that end, the bond proposal list also includes prekindergarten classroom additions at 14 elementary schools.
They are: Greenbriar, Mitchell Boulevard, Rosen, McDonald, Springdale, Woodway, Diamond Hill, Benbrook, Wilson, Moss, Merrett, Lowery Road, West Handley and Green.
The SPAC has had a new name change to: Citizens Supporting Classroom Excellence.
The Fort Worth school district is considering asking taxpayers to go to the polls as early as Nov. 5 to vote on a bond program that could include opening a
new Benbrook area high school, offering prekindergarten for all students and a new fine arts academy. Here's a story in the Star-Telegram from Monday's school board meeting.
Consultants this week made public a list of potential projects that could be included in a bond package if trustees decide to go forward. It totals $785 million. But the final amount of the package, and the impact on property tax rates, won't be determined until trustees decide which projects to include. Click here to read FWISD presentation on proposed bond
The school board is scheduled to vote on Aug. 13 on whether to call a Nov. 5 referendum. If they do, community meetings would be held in each of the nine school board member districts to give details about the package, said Superintendent Walter Dansby.
All told, the program calls for building more than 300 classrooms.
A political action committee to support the bond has already been formed. The
Fort Worth Chamber of
Commerce is launching Citizens for Classroom Excellence, a specific
No money has been raised yet. The group’s first action is launching a
city-wide poll to gauge the community’s attitude toward a possible bond program, spokeswoman Andra Bennett said.
The potential bond projects include:
Opening a new Benbrook area high school by converting Benbrook Middle School and using the current Westpark Elementary School campus to create a complex for grades six through 12
Building three elementary campuses: a replacement Westpark
Elementary School in the Benbrook
area, a new elementary school in the Tanglewood neighborhood and a replacement campus for the aging Washington Heights
Prekindergarten classroom additions at 14 elementary schools
A fine arts academy for students in sixth through 12th grades
A multipurpose event center with a 6,500 seat area
E-cafes with TVs inside all 13 high schools
New athletic field houses at all high schools and practice field turf at the
11 high schools that don’t have it.
Launching a science, technology, engineering and math academy in downtown Fort Worth
New school buses, maintenance trucks, student uniforms and instruments
In the bond referendum, voters gave the go-ahead for a $593.6 million bond package that included $551.9 million to construct campuses and additions and perform renovations to existing schools and athletic facilities.
Fort Worth schools Superintendent Walter Dansby (r) said in a statement: "In the years since voters approved the 2007 bond referendum we've built new schools, renovated facilities and technologically transformed classrooms all across the district. And with our AECOM partner we have been able to do it all on time, under budget and within strict guidelines for safety, sustainability and accountability."
The deal still must still be considered by the Tarrant County Commissioner's Court, which is expected to take up the matter at a meeting scheduled for Feb. 26, a school district spokeswoman said. If both parties approve, officials hope to be done with renovations and ready to move into the new building in time for the fall 2013 semester.
The academy has outgrown its current space, Fort Worth schools spokesman Clint Bond said.
The school opened in August 2010 in a converted building on West Magnolia Avenue that served as the school district's adult education center. Officials are adding one grade per year. This year, there are students in grades seven through 10.
Carroll Middle School features thousands of solar tubes on the roof, which can generate up to 450 kilowatts of electricity. The $40 million campus was part of a $139 million bond package approved by voters in May 2009. The campus replaced another building at 1101 E. Dove Road in Southlake, that will be renovated for an administrative headquarters and other purposes.
Charter schools are supposed to be able to tap the Permanent School Fund's bond guarantee program, which saves schools money by helping them get high ratings for bond packages. The Legislature last year included charter schools in the program, and they were to be eligible starting Sept. 28. But that's not happening - and it may never happen. In October, the state asked the IRS if including them in the program would violate what's called arbitrage laws and cause the program to lose its tax-exempt status. It won't extend guarantees to charter schools until the IRS clears the idea, the State Auditor's Office says in a new report. Besides, state law says that the state education commission may not approve charter district bonds for guarantees if it would result in a lower bond rating for the program. So now the program is waiting to get updated rating letters from various bond rating agencies to see what would happen if charter schools were covered. - Lois Norder
Birdville's facility Bond Study Committee is taking the summer off and will resume work in the fall, officials said.
Administrators in the Haltom City-based school district on May 3 asked the committee for more time to gather information to present to the committee before the group makes a recommendation on a possible bond package, according to a Monday news release.
The bond study committee is evaluating data about the district's facilities and technology needs.
"The district believes the committee needs more time to study all materials and facilities in order to propose an appropriate plan to BISD’s board of trustees and voters," the school district's news release said.
The group will continue evaluating the school district's "critical needs" and make a recommendation on a plan proposal to the school board. Birdville trustees meanwhile, are continuing work on forming a budget for fiscal 2010. The district has a small surplus but trustees have not discussed employee pay yet and will need to factor in updated property value estimates.
Committee agendas and schedules are posted online.