Bond proposal for Weatherford schools deserves 'yes' vote

Posted Wednesday, Apr. 17, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Facing a projected 16 percent increase in student population over the next 10 years, the Weatherford school district has proposed an innovative and sensible plan to address its growth, facilities, technological and security needs for at least a decade.

To achieve that end, the district is calling a $107.32 million bond election that, if approved by voters, would authorize major capital improvements, address campus capacity issues through realignment of the student population and allow the purchase of an interactive whiteboard for every classroom, along with teacher workstations and wireless Internet access.

Residents will vote on a single proposition that includes building secure vestibules and adding exterior lighting, more cameras and perimeter fencing on all 11 campuses. A ninth-grade wing will be built at the high school and the current ninth-grade center (now at only 38 percent of its capacity) would become the single middle school for the district, housing seventh- and eighth-graders.

Elementary schools, rather than going to grade six, will have pre-K through fourth-grade students; the two middle schools (now with grades seven and eight) will become intermediate schools serving fifth- and sixth-graders. Officials say three of the district's seven elementary schools exceed 100 percent capacity.

The bond proposal, the district's first since 1999, also calls for building a gymnasium for the ninth grade and constructing baseball and softball facilities, among other athletic improvements.

Approval would mean a tax rate increase of 15.5 cents (to $1.555) per $100 valuation, costing the owner of a $100,000 house about $131.75 annually or $10.98 a month. That is a sizable increase, but one the district feels it needs to keep Weatherford schools prepared to handle a growing population and future educational demands.

The election is May 11, with early voting April 29 through May 7.

The Star-Telegram Editorial Board recommends voting yes to the Weatherford school district bond issue.

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