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.