FORT WORTH -- A new elementary school to ease overcrowding at Tanglewood Elementary, renovations at 13 high schools and the relocation of two specialty campuses are among the high-profile items in a $749.7 million bond package approved by Fort Worth school trustees Monday.
The bond package, the largest in Tarrant County history, will go before voters on Nov. 7.
School district officials said that the bond package would not require a tax rate increase because of soaring property values. The school board voted 8-0 in favor of calling a bond election during a special meeting Monday. Trustee Judy Needham was not present for the vote.
“This bond program is extremely important,” Superintendent Kent Scribner said. “We are already seeing success in our academic strategies with early literacy and middle-years math. This will allow us to invest in our capital infrastructure and focus on the college and career aspect as well.”
The bond program includes an estimated $52.1 million to address overcrowding and campus growth in several areas of the district, including a new elementary for families that live in the Tanglewood school boundary near TCU.
Parents have been vocal with their concerns about building a new school, including a potential redrawn attendance zone and saying they don’t want it to diminish Tanglewood’s exemplary culture.
Besides constructing a new elementary school, the district plans to make renovations to the existing Tanglewood Elementary. Trustee Ann Sutherland said the Tanglewood-related projects are important because of the critical needs there. She added that overall the bond program is greatly needed.
“It’s vital,” Sutherland said. “We still have a growing enrollment and we have increasing need for special programs and we don’t have room for them.”
About $40.8 million would be spent to relocate and renovate two specialty schools. Preliminary plans call for the Texas Academy of Biomedical Sciences, or TABS, to move from 3813 Valentine St. to the Tarrant County College Trinity River Campus in downtown Fort Worth. The Young Men’s Leadership Academy would move from 5100 Willie St. to the Dunbar High School campus.
The plan also includes about $1 million to move the World Languages Institute from Magnolia Avenue to the former Leonard Sixth Grade Center, which isn’t being used for classes.
Earlier plans called for moving the institute to the Western Hills High School campus, but families with students in the institute spoke out against those plans.
Juan Turcios and his son, Carlos, said this plan is better.
“It’s better than being separated. We will take that for now,” Juan Turcios said after the vote.