Weatherford News

School bonds pass; new face on council

Prissy Neely, a longtime supporter of Weatherford ISD and a member of the FACTS committee, hugs a fellow supporter Saturday after results were announced at the Parker County Annex.
Prissy Neely, a longtime supporter of Weatherford ISD and a member of the FACTS committee, hugs a fellow supporter Saturday after results were announced at the Parker County Annex. Weatherford Star-Telegram

Though storms were brewing outside, the sounds of thunder erupted inside the Parker County Annex on Saturday as supporters of Weatherford ISD clapped and cheered when results revealed that all three bond propositions on the ballot had passed.

The district was seeking a total $74.9 million package for facility improvements for all its campuses, plus the replacement and grade realignment of Hall Middle School. Currently, WISD elementary schools serve grades kindergarten through sixth grades and middle schools serves grade seven and eight. WISD proposed to realign elementary schools to serve kindergarten through fifth grades and middle schools to serve sixth through eighth grades.

Proposition 1, at a cost of $18.8 million, allows for upgrades and improvements to comply with current codes and standards, increase safety and security and make schools more energy efficient and extend the life of each WISD facility. It passed 52.5 percent to 47.5 percent (2,281 - 2,062).

Proposition 2, the costliest of the three, passed by a mere seven votes, 2,169-2,162 or 50.08 percent to 49.92 percent. The $49.5 million price tag on what's this prop includes $41.1 million to tear down and replace the existing Hall Middle School with a new school at the current location to serve grades six through eight. The additional $8.4 million will be used to construct a sixth-grade classroom addition to Tison Middle School, as well as upgrade the track and field.

Proposition 3 addresses safety and security at all campuses ($6.6 million) and includes the construction of controlled entrances to improve security at all existing campuses and passed 52 percent to 48 percent (2,252 to 2,087).

The estimated tax impact of the total bond proposal is anticipated to be $7.79 per month based on a $100,000 home value.

The last time Weatherford voters passed a bond package was in 1999 when they voted to approve $97 million to construct a new high school, among other improvements.

In 2013, voters overwhelmingly let their voice be heard and defeated a proposed $107.32 million package with 68.94 percent of the vote. That bond proposal had included four key focus areas including safety and security, building capacity, technology and capital improvements.

Aledo ISD

Though it took longer than expected due to a large turnout on Election Day and the weather, both Aledo ISD proposals passed as well.

The $53.2 million bond proposal included one for $28.8 million that focused on a new elementary school, and another for $24.4 million that focused on technology, new school buses, safety and security and construction and renovation within existing facilities.

Proposition 1 – the new elementary school – passed 1,756 – 1,677 (51.15 percent to 48.85 percent). Proposition 2 passed 52.41 percent to 47.59 percent (1,802 – 1,636).

Last November, voters rejected a similar bond proposal of $61.3 million - all in the same package. The Aledo 2025 Committee went back to work, did some restructuring, and broke their proposal into two packages.

Neither bonds include the cost of land on which to place the new elementary school, 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.

The estimated tax impact of the total bond proposal is anticipated to be about $7.78 per month based on a $100,000 home value.

WISD Board

Two places were up for grabs on the Weatherford ISD Board of Trustees.

For Place 1, S. Brian Catlin earned 54.05 percent (1,873) of the vote versus opponent Amy Bonnett, who had 45.95 percent (1,592).

For Place 2, incumbent Jeff Geyer narrowly retained his seat on the board, defeating Ben Schoonover, 1,730 – 1,674 (50.82 percent - 49.18 percent).

AISD Board

In Aledo, three school board members also won seats.

Incumbent and board president Jay Stringer was uncontested in Place 1.

Jennifer Loftin defeated opponents Cindi Neverdousky and Hans Dube for Place 2 by earning 43.36 percent of the vote. Her closest opponent, Dube, had 32.58 percent of the vote. Neverdousky finished with 24 percent.

Incumbent Dr. David Tillman also faced two opponents for Place 3, but came away with a close victory over challenger David Denman, 1,216 to 1,190. Vernon Anderson Jr. was a distant third with 419 votes.

Weatherford City Council

One place on the Weatherford City Council was decided as well and one will be a runoff.

Place 3 was the heaviest contested with four people vying for the seat - Reed Wainwright, Wade Calhoun, Dale Fleeger and Jim Merritt. Wainwright and nearest competitor Fleeger will have a runoff June 13. Early voting for that will be from June 1-9.

Wainwright received 840 votes to Fleeger’s 568.

Incumbent Craig Swancy easily retained his seat, defeating challenger Tom Holman with nearly 72 percent of the vote.

Melissa Winn, 817-594-9902, Ext. 104

Twitter: @scoopmdw3701