Weatherford News

Aledo ISD seeks second chance at bond package

For the second time in less than a year, Aledo voters will have another chance at a bond election for the school district. The board of trustees voted unanimously (7-0) in a special Feb. 25 meeting to put another bond proposition - or this time two propositions - on the ballot for the May 9 election.

Last November, voters turned down a $61.5 million proposal that included the construction of a new elementary school and technological update throughout all campuses. The Aledo 2025 Committee went back to work, did some restructuring, and presented a new proposal to the board for a pair of bond packages totaling $53.2 million.

One will be a $28.8 million bond package that will focus on a new elementary school. The other will be a $24.4 million package that will focus on technology, new school buses, safety and security and construction and renovation within existing facilities.

"I think splitting this in two is very good," said board member Johnny Campbell. "It allows the community to weigh in yet again."

Campbell said the split packages allow the voters to look at the entire proposal in pieces instead of one package. For example, if a person approves of a new elementary school but not the other parts, they can now cast such a vote, or vice-versa.

In a recent public hearing concerning the bond election, the majority of those in opposition to the technology part of the proposal were still in favor of a new elementary school.

However, the need for upgrading technology within the district took up a large portion of the board's discussion during the Feb. 25 meeting of just over two hours. While virtually everyone agreed on the necessity, the discussion was largely about how to put the upgraded technology in place.

"We're trying to play catchup," said Earl Husfield, Aledo ISD Chief Financial Officer.

Superintendent Dr. Derek Citty said this is “the tip of the iceberg.”

“The highest priority things we need to address immediately," he said. "I don't want our taxes going up any more than anyone else but we're at a crossroads."

Campbell added, "It's not going to be cheaper next year or the year after to issue bonds."

The proposals do not include the cost of land, said Leesa Vardeman of VLK Architects. Citty said, however, with the newest district growth projected to be in the upcoming Walsh Ranch development, the school is expected to be built on land donated within that development.

If, somehow, the projected growth winds up being elsewhere, the district will have to rely on fund balance to purchase the land.

Vardeman said if a new elementary school is approved, the entire project will take about two years to complete. She said the bidding process takes about a couple of months, followed by nine or 10 months designing, and another year of actual construction.

The entire Aledo 2025 Committee's vision includes the need for another three elementary schools to be constructed in 2019, 2021 and 2030 with a third middle school to be added in 2020.

Hudson Oaks City Council

The Hudson Oaks City Council met Thursday and a highlight on the agenda was updating the city's water conservation plan. The city is currently on a two-days-a-week watering

plan, but could move to one day a week in the next few months, according to assistant city administrator Chad Janicek.

"It's not up to us," said Janicek, noting the city draws its water supply from the Tarrant Regional Water District.

The council also approved a grant application for funds for the development of a feasibility study under the Title XVI Water Reclamation and Reuse Program.

In other business, the council approved an ordinance raising the speed limit on Interstate 20 from 65 to 70 miles per hour within the city limits. This is in conjunction with the Texas

Department of Transportation's decision to raise the limit in numerous spots along the highway in late January.

The 2014 Certified Annual Financial Report was also approved.

Aledo City Council

The Aledo City Council meeting Thursday was a quick one, lasting around 20 minutes, but a lot was proclaimed during the short time.

The council issued a proclamation recognizing Aledo High School student Randye Nicoel Harris for her fourth All-State win in band.

Also, proclamations were made recognizing March 1-7 as Severe Weather Awareness Week; recognizing March as American Red Cross Month; and recognizing March 15-21 as Poison Prevention Week in Aledo.

The City of Aledo and the Aledo 4-H Club have signed a contract with the Keller Miller Circus for an all-new 2015 show, scheduled for March 14. Activities begin at 7:30 a.m., and the big top will be raised at 9 a.m., with the public being invited to come watch the animals being unloaded and fed, including a special Tiger Meet & Greet. Guides will be furnished.

The traditional old-style circus will have performances at 2 and 5 p.m. Proceeds will support the Aledo 4-H Club and the City of Aledo, and tickets can be purchased in advance at Aledo City Hall, East Parker Chamber of Commerce, Brookshire's of Aledo, Interbank, and at the East Parker County Library. Advance tickets are $12 for adults and $6 for children, compared to $16 and $8 at the door.