Tyler VanSant was appointed to place 2 of the Willow Park city council in a unanimous vote Tuesday night, following the resignation of previous Place 2 Councilmember Amy Fennell at the Sept. 22 meeting.
“It’s no secret that these past eight months have been incredibly difficult for me on council. I have been in a lot of prayer and have stayed the course because of how much I love the people. I love Willow Park like family and my passion is to serve others, it’s part of who I am,” Fennell said at the Sept. 22 meeting. “I couldn’t give up on it, but I’ve been working to find a more effective way to live out that passion than where I am right now and I believe that I have found it.”
Fennell took on a position at Century 21 Lynch Legacy in Willow Park leaving a vacancy on the council.
VanSant was chosen to fill the position out of two other applicants, James Gilliland and Scott Smith.
During Tuesday's meeting, WP City Manager Bryan Grimes spoke with council about a unique opportunity between Aledo ISD and Willow Park through the Texas Education Agency.
“A couple of weeks ago we were approached by Aledo ISD to see if there would be an appetite from the council to redirect part of our CARES Act funding to Aledo ISD. They have a unique opportunity from TEA, a matching program, where it’s a dollar-for-dollar match so if we do the $47,000 they would be able to obtain $47,000 from TEA,” Grimes said. “I consulted with Pat [Chesser, city attorney] last week. There are a number of cities that have done this before previously as this CARES funding comes out. We are designated to receive roughly $300,000 in CARES funding and so we would be diverting $47,000 to Aledo ISD.”
Grimes said this is new funding from the federal government and so the city still isn’t sure how it will all play out, but the money will be transferred and then AISD will have to use the funds for permissible purposes under the Cares Relief Fund. Aledo ISD is planning to use the funding for the purchase of additional technology devices.
“There is a narrative out there that is false — we have received no federal funding as a school district. No school districts in Texas have," AISD Superintendent Susan Bohn said. "We received about $230,000 that was revenue we were supposed to get from the state anyway so the state took the federal funds, withheld revenue that we were supposed to get and gave that money to us and that’s how all public school districts in the state of Texas have been impacted so far with respect to funds. There is some CRF funding that we can get reimbursement for at about a 75% rate from the state that we have applied for."
Bohn said the opportunity between the city and school district could help keep the county economy going, particularly in Willow Park and Aledo ISD.
"We will next week be at 94% of our students in-person on campus and we really do believe we’re giving all of us the opportunity to get back to work and in a safe way carry on and most importantly serve our kids," she said. "We just really appreciate the partnership that you all have with us and that we have with y’all in serving our children but for sure the entire county and city of Willow Park.”
The transfer of the $47,000 to AISD was unanimously approved by the WP city council.