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Northwest voters favor bond, new faces on Keller school board

Beverly Dixon. Keller School District Place 5.
Beverly Dixon. Keller School District Place 5.

yes

for the bond and gcisd

A $399 million bond package in the Northwest school district was approved with about 61 percent of voters in Tarrant County and almost 64 percent in Denton County, according to unofficial election results

“Thank you to our community for their continued support of our school district,” said Superintendent Ryder Warren. “This result shows the fast growth NISD is experiencing and will continue to experience is understood by our community.”

The bond includes $264 million to build four elementary schools (one replacing Haslet Elementary, which would become administrative space), construct additions at eight campuses and purchase land for future schools.

Another $51.2 million goes to enhance student programs in career and technical education, fine arts and athletics. The largest portion of that is a $31 million aquatics center. Northwest swimmers currently go to the Keller school district Natatorium for practices.

Technology infrastructure improvements and replacements of student and staff computers and tablets is about $37.4 million and upgrades for district security would be another $14.1 million and $32.3 million goes for repairs and upgrades at the district’s oldest facilities.

The last bond package passed in 2012 for $255 million.

The tax rate is expected to increase by 3.75 cents, or about $84 a year for a home valued at $250,000. The tax rate for bond debt is now at 45 cents, 5 cents less than the current maximum allowed by state law.

Keller school board adds new faces

With no incumbents running in Place 4 and Place 5 in the Keller trustee race, the election was guaranteed to change the makeup of the board. Board President Craig Allen decided not to run for a third term and JoLynn Haussmann moved out of the school district last summer.

In Place 4, Chris Roof, 49 and director for healthcare contracts, won with 74 percent of the vote over Peiman Montazeri, a 43-year-old business operations specialist, who had 26 percent.

“I’m excited to get to work,” Roof said.

Roof is hopeful that the Texas Legislature will approve more funds for Keller schools to help the district balance its budget. Officials have been dipping into fund balance (district savings) over the last several years of limited funds from the state.

The Place 5 race was loaded with four candidates but Beverly Dixon, 47, a retired U.S. Navy officer, won with 58 percent of the vote. Frank Arban, received 11 percent, Candy Bruton, had 13 percent and Sherry Simon had 18 percent.

Dixon said the biggest challenge facing the board is to help in the leadership transition with a new superintendent coming on board this summer because change can make people uncomfortable.

She also said the board should work with leaders from the nine cities within Keller school district boundaries to ensure good economic development as the district nears build-out.

Northwest trustee race

Five candidates were vying for Place 5 after incumbent Devonna Holland opted not to run for re-election

Steve Sprowls, a 46-year-old pilot and Air Force veteran, won with 30.5 percent of the votes according to unofficial results from Tarrant and Denton counties. Candidate Tammy Eck, received 19.4 percent, Matthew Hooper had 19 percent, Jennifer Zazula had 17.6 percent and Taylor Harrington had 13.5 percent

“I will represent every child, from west to east and north to south,” Sprowls said. “I’m not representing a certain geographical area or political ideology.”

He said the passage of the bond would make trustees’ job easier in providing for all the new students coming to the area.

In Place 6, incumbent Lilian Rauch, 68, a retired educator, won in unofficial results from Tarrant and Denton counties with 60 percent of the votes while Carissa Barrett got 40 percent.

“We’ll continue to address the challenges we’ve had with rapid growth and funding issues while maintaining and improving the quality of education,” Rauch said.

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