Weatherford Star-Telegram

Booming Aledo brings $149.9 million school bond to voters. ‘It’s about our kids’

The Aledo school district is asking voters to approve an estimated $149.9 million bond package to pay for renovations and new schools. Under the district plan, McAnally Intermediate would be renovated into an elementary school.
The Aledo school district is asking voters to approve an estimated $149.9 million bond package to pay for renovations and new schools. Under the district plan, McAnally Intermediate would be renovated into an elementary school. Aledo school district

Folks are flocking to Aledo. City officials expect the population, currently around 4,500, to triple in the next couple decades.

With that population growth will come more students into the school district, which is constantly planning its own growth. The latest is in the form of another bond election on the ballot for Nov. 5, recently approved by the Aledo school board.

Trustees approved the Bearcat Growth Committee’s (BGC) recommendation of a $149.9 million bond proposal, which will be presented on the ballot as a single proposition. It will not include a tax rate increase.

Jim Scott, who co-chaired the proposal for the BGC with Christi James, said the money for the bond will come from existing school taxes. He noted that while the rate won’t go up, more people moving into the district also means means more taxes coming in.

“The tax rate will remain the same whether it passes or fails,” Scott said. “In the Fort Worth region, Aledo has the second highest percentage of growth among districts with over 5,000 students.”

The Aledo school district covers 130 square miles, including Aledo, Annetta, Willow Park, Hudson Oaks, parts of Cresson, and even parts of Fort Worth.

“And there is a lot of land to build on,” Scott said.

Which is a good thing, because Aledo Superintendent Dr. Susan K. Bohn said student enrollment is expected to double in the next decade.

The bond package includes funding for two new campuses, renovations to three existing campuses, replacement furniture at three elementary schools, land for future school sites, and school buses.

Templeton Demographics projects that Aledo Middle School will exceed maximum student capacity in one year, and that the district’s maximum elementary school capacity will be exceeded in two years.

The bond proposal includes a new middle school, priced at an estimated $62.5 million, along with $33.4 million in renovations and expansions to the current Aledo Middle School.

“The high school is fine, and will be for several years,” Scott said. “We just don’t have enough buildings for the other schools.”

Scott said if the bond does not pass, the district could look at bringing in portable buildings as a temporary solution.

“It’s not about your kids, it’s not about my kids, it’s about our kids,” he said.

With this plan, Aledo ISD moves to a 6th-8th grade middle school configuration. If the bond program is approved by voters, the new middle school will be on land owned by the district on Old Weatherford Road.

Scott said renovations at the existing middle school would include a new library, a new fine arts wing, a new gymnasium, and a new field house.

“We wanted to create equality, so we wanted to go back to those existing facilities and fix those up,” he said. “We had to address existing facilities and prepare for growth with the new facilities.”

The proposition also includes a new elementary school, the district’s sixth, at a cost of $35.8 million. It would also be on district-owned property on FM 5 in Annetta.

Also included are renovations to McAnally Intermediate (currently the sixth-grade campus) of $9.6 million, and Vandagriff Elementary (K-5) for $1.7 million. McAnally would become an elementary school, and Vandagriff would be renovated into an early childhood campus, serving children in the district’s pre-kindergarten program and preschool program for children with disabilities, with a planned expansion of the district’s early childcare program for employees’ children.

The package also includes replacement furniture at Coder, Stuard and McCall Elementary schools at a cost of $1.8 million. There is also $4.5 million for future school sites, and $500,000 for buses.

Early voting for the Nov. 5 election begins Oct. 21 and ends Nov. 1. Early voting locations include the Aledo ISD Administration Building and the Willow Park Municipal Building. The last day to register to vote is Oct. 7.

School officials will be providing informational presentations throughout the community during the fall leading to the election. Aledo ISD bond information can be found on the district’s bond website, aledoisdbond.org.

“From what I’ve heard, people understand we need this,” Scott said. “The sentiment seems to be people move out to Aledo for the school district, so let’s keep it a good school district.”

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