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What's in the Fort Worth ISD bond proposal?

Fort Worth ISD bus
Tony Gutierrez
/
Associated Press

The Fort Worth Independent School District is asking voters to approve a historic $1.49 billion bond package aimed at making improvements to existing schools and facilities and to fund some new construction. But what will the funds really do?

Most of the money in the bonds go toward improvements and renovations to existing school campuses. Three new elementary schools are also planned.

While these bonds would focus primarily on middle and elementary schools, $100 million would go toward new high school stadiums.

Here are the propositions you'll see on your ballot:

Proposition A

This bond is the largest and would provide more than $1.2 billion for the construction, renovation and equipping of school buildings in the district. That would include secured front vestibules, refitted science labs and removal of portable buildings. This includes upgrades to middle schools, as well as the construction of three new elementary schools.

Proposition B

This text box defines a bond. It's essentially a loan taken by a government unit to raise money for projects.

Proposition B allocates $98.3 million specifically for the district's middle school and high school fine arts facilities. This includes upgrades to auditoriums, including ADA accessibility.

Proposition C

Proposition C would provide $105 million to build three 5,000-seat sport stadium complexes, including turf and concession facilities.

Proposition D

This bond allocates $76.2 million to enhance and renovate district athletic facilities. This includes the replacement of turf at 14 high school football practice fields and at 14 high school baseball/softball fields.

Kent Scribner, Fort Worth ISD superintendent, says the bonds are a chance to even the playing field for a district with a large percentage of students who are economically disadvantaged.

"Infrastructure is equity, infrastructure is equal opportunity," Scribner told KERA. "Fort Worth ISD serves a student population 85% of which is economically disadvantaged. We believe that our students deserve the same high quality facilities that students in the suburbs benefit from."

So much renovation is needed, Scribner said, due to the age of most of the schools.

"Sixty percent of our schools were built before 1960. We know that with old schools spacing is difficult for social distancing, ventilation is challenging, and our 12 million square feet of facilities absolutely needs additional investment," Scribner said.

If all the propositions are passed, district officials plan on repaying the bond over the next 25 years. The funded projects are expected to be completed over the next five years.

The last major bond election in Fort Worth ISD was in 2017 for $750 million and was passed by voters with a more than 70% approval rating. These bonds will not raise property taxes.

One more informational session about the bond election is scheduled for this week — from 6 to 7 p.m. Oct. 27 at Western Hills High School.

Helpful links

KERA's Galilee Abdullah contributed to this report.

Got a tip? Email Domini Davis at dhdavis@kera.org.

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