Editor’s note: Following is a letter by Weatherford ISD Superintendent Jeffrey Hanks sent home with students on April 5 concerning the district’s proposed $107.32 million bond package.
Dear Weatherford ISD Families and Community Members,
On Feb. 22, 2013, Weatherford ISD school board members unanimously voted to call the district’s first bond election since December 1999. The $107.32 million bond election addresses safety and security, building capacity and capital improvements for the next 10 years, as well as technology improvements at each of the district’s 11 campuses.
If approved, Weatherford ISD homeowners would see an overall estimated tax increase of $0.155 per $100 valuation. For example, the average home property value in Weatherford is approximately $130,000. Based on this amount, taxes would increase approximately $14.85 per month (or $178.25 annually). Residents who are 65 years of age or older who file for an over 65 homestead exemption will have their school taxes frozen and their homestead taxes will not be affected by the proposed election.
According to a study conducted by Templeton Demographics in December of 2012, the district’s projected enrollment at a conservative level is expected to increase by over 16 percent in the next 10 years. Currently, three of the district’s seven elementary campuses exceed their original building capacities (Austin-104 percent, Curtis-111 percent, Wright-108 percent). In addition, the Ninth Grade Center is using 38 percent of its capacity for student use. The bond proposal reconfigures the district’s overall footprint by making the seven elementary schools PK-4 campuses, Hall and Tison would become intermediate campuses (grades 5-6), the current Ninth Grade Center would serve as a common junior high facility (grades 7-8), and Weatherford High School would be a comprehensive 9-12 grade campus.
The bond focuses on four areas within the district. Identified projects for these focus areas are as follows:
Safety and Security – construct secure entries into all campuses; create a self-contained high school campus eliminating the daily need to travel off campus for programs such as: Career and Technical Education offerings, fine arts, advanced academics, and athletics (exception: events at Roo Stadium); keyless entry systems; upgrade classroom door locking systems; additional parking lot lighting; additional cameras/surveillance equipment; and perimeter fencing.
Building Capacity – construct a new Career and Technical Education Center at WHS (66,425 square feet, 25 classrooms); construct a ninth grade wing at the WHS campus (78,000 square feet, 38 classrooms, gym); reconfigure all elementary campuses to PK-4 facilities (extends building capacity out 10-plus years); reconfigure Hall and Tison to become intermediate schools (grades 5-6) [Hall would receive a significant renovation]; and reconfigure the WHS Ninth Grade Center to become a middle school (grades 7-8).
Technology – every classroom would receive a technology hub including a digital interactive whiteboard, projector and document camera. In addition, computer upgrades to all existing technology labs, additional mobile technology units for all campuses and upgraded network infrastructure throughout the district.
Capital Improvements – renovation of the Hall campus; renovation of shops at Ninth Grade Center (NGC) campus for classroom space; renovation and repurposing of athletic spaces at NGC to accommodate a middle school program; energy efficient upgrades (HVAC replacement and upgrades to lighting/fixtures); improvements at Austin, Crockett, Curtis, Martin, and Wright elementary schools; roofing upgrades and/or replacement. Construction of: agriculture barn, baseball/softball complex, multi-purpose turf field for athletics/fine arts, and a maintenance/transportation facility.
Election Day is Saturday, May 11, and early voting will run from April 29 – May 7. Early voting locations include the WISD District Services Building, Parker County Courthouse Annex and Hudson Oaks City Hall.
Early voting will also be conducted at the following locations in Parker County: Willow Park Municipal Building, Peaster Fire Department, Springtown City Hall, Millsap Community Center, Azle Masonic Lodge, Brock ISD Administrative Offices, Brock Jr. High Library, Brock Elementary Library, Brock High School Ag Building, and Aledo ISD Administrative Offices.
Weatherford ISD will offer satellite voting locations at each of its 11 campuses on May 2. Election Day voting will be held at the Parker County Courthouse Annex located at 1112 Santa Fe Drive, in Weatherford.
Weatherford ISD Bond Election Website Information
Additional information may be found on the Weatherford ISD 2013 Bond website located at www.weatherfordisd.com/bond2013.
Jeffrey M. Hanks, Ph. D.
Superintendent of Schools