Dansby says Paschal could get 28 new classrooms under a bond proposal

Posted Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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More information R.L. Paschal High School 3001 Forest Park Blvd., Fort Worth Capacity: 2,014 2012-13 enrollment: 2,725 2017-18 projected enrollment: 3,441 2022-23 projected enrollment: 3,533 Source: Templeton Demographics, Fort Worth school district

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Paschal High School could get 28 new classrooms under one option in the school district’s new bond proposal, school Superintendent Walter Dansby said Wednesday night.

Dansby spoke to about 100 people in the auditorium of the south side Fort Worth school, including parents of students who have transferred to Paschal because of its academic reputation.

“If we wait, we continue to fall behind,” Dansby told the audience before presentations detailing trends, projections and options for student growth at Paschal.

A demographer’s report shows that Paschal is over its capacity of 2,014 students, and by 2017-18, the school could be over capacity by 1,427 students.

The informational meeting was organized by Paschal Legacy Project leaders, which raised money to pay for the installation of synthetic turf practice fields and resurfacing tracks at the high school.

Ken Schaefer, a member of the Legacy project, said that the biggest issue at Paschal is overcrowding and that the district addressed that concern.

“The district produced some new insight that was very valuable,” Schaefer said.

The presentation stated that overcrowding could be handled two ways: with no construction and simply enforcing transfer rules. or by a blended solution that adds classrooms while looking for ways to control transfers.

Thirty percent of Paschal’s students last year were transfers.

The blended solution would involve 28 new classrooms with a cost of about $8.8 million. Dansby said those additions could be made without increasing the size of the total bond program.

That option would also add 14 classrooms at Tanglewood and 12 at McLean Middle.

But some parents wondered why more classrooms weren’t proposed for the McLean 6th Grade Center.

“It is something that needs to be looked at,” stressed Sharion Bostic, former PTA president of McLean 6th. Bostic said that last school year there were 30 to 34 students in some classes.

District leaders said that plans continue to evolve and that they will look at issues parents raise. McLean 6th would have initially been coverted to a pre-kindergarten center under earlier versions of the bond proposal. Under that scenario, the 6th Grade campus would have moved to Tanglewood.

Some parents are skeptical of the bond proposal.

“I am concerned that there is not a solid plan and they are asking for an open check,” said Crystal Williamson, who has a junior attending Paschal and lives in the attendance zone.

Many parents at the meeting have children who are transfer students and worry that the program will be discontinued or that policy changes will result in their children being unable to attend Paschal.

Dansby promised that transfer students will not be kicked out of the school. Instead, programs of choice and proposed specialized campuses in the bond proposal may eventually lead to a lowering of transfers at Paschal.

Principal Terri Mossige said the campus is already addressing the issue and has accepted fewer transfers for the 2013-14 school year. The freshman class will be the smallest in several years, she said.

The Paschal campus got about $4.3 million in improvements in the 2007 bond program. Among enhancements to the campus were improving classrooms, new ceilings and lighting throughout the school, and roof repair.

District officials are considering a November bond election. Dansby has laid out the options as:

• $585 million including a new high school in Benbrook, classroom additions, safety, security and technology improvements, and universal pre-kindergarten for all 4-year-olds.

• A $667.5 million package that adds the cost of building a performing and fine arts campus and nonconstruction projects such as new buses and maintenance trucks, student uniforms and instruments.

• A $777 million package would include athletics projects such as practice field turf and building new field houses at all high schools, and a multipurpose center.

This report includes material from the Star-Telegram archives.

Jessamy Brown, 817-390-7326 Twitter: @jessamybrown Diane Smith, 817-390-7675 Twitter: @dianeasmith1

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