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Northwest ISD Voters To Decide On $399 Million Bond Program

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FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) - The Northwest ISD Board of Trustees approved the Long-Range Planning Committee's recommendation, calling for a $399 million capital bond referendum.

The committee, composed of 39 community and staff members from across the district, spent four months studying the district's growth and prioritizing facility needs.

"It takes a lot of work to get a bond package like this put together," said Board President Mark Schluter. "There has been a great deal of effort from many folks. We have been through the bond election process before, and this is one of the best bond packages I've seen."

If the bond is passed, the majority of the bond funds will be used to address the district's continuing student population growth, which is projected to increase by an additional 6,200 students during the next five years.

Northwest ISD currently operates 28 campuses, spanning three counties (Denton, Tarrant and Wise) and 14 municipalities across 234 square miles.

According to Northwest ISD's news release on the bond issue, the referendum would address the following areas broken down by percentages of the total package below:

• Student Population Growth (66%)
• Advancing Student Programs (13%)
• Technology Infrastructure and Devices (9%)
• Aging Conditions of Existing Facilities (8%)
• Safety and Security of Students and Staff (4%)

According to Northwest ISD, major new or improved facility highlights include:

• Three new elementary schools
• A replacement school for Haslet Elementary
• Renovation of the existing Haslet Elementary to serve as a district instructional facility
• Expansions of Byron Nelson and Eaton high schools to 3,200 students
• Expansions of Medlin and Tidwell middle schools to 1,200 students
• Expansions for three existing elementary schools to 850 students
• The district will closely monitor housing developments to determine which campuses would increase from 650 to 850 capacity.
• A district aquatic center to serve all campuses
• A classroom addition to Beck Elementary to allow growth for current enrollment
• Outdoor fieldhouses for Byron Nelson and Northwest high schools

"I could not be more proud of this committee for their tremendous support, dedication, and commitment to Northwest ISD," said Superintendent of Schools Ryder Warren, Ed.D. "This committee has examined each area of the district's 234 square miles, prioritizing needs of our current students and staff and planning for the essentials of our future students and staff. This is a recommendation that I believe reflects the demographic information available in a district that is expected to see an additional 12,600 students in the next ten years."

The news release on the bond issue addressed tax rates this way:

The estimated maximum tax impact of the 2017 bond is 3.75 cents for a total tax rate of $1.49. For a home valued at $250,000 (the average home value for residents in NISD), this represents an increase of approximately $7.03 per month. Northwest ISD property taxes for citizens age 65 or older would not be affected by the bond election as long as a homestead and over 65-exemption application have been filed with the local appraisal district.
During the bond elections in 2001, 2005 and 2008, the district upheld its commitment to voters and was able to provide seats for thousands of new students without a tax increase, maintaining the I&S (Interest and Sinking) portion of the tax rate at 33.5 cents or less for the past decade. However, the downturn in the economy in the past several years has significantly reduced the growth of the taxable value; therefore an increase of 7.75 cents was included in the 2012 bond election which brought the I&S portion of the tax rate to $0.4125 and the M&O (Maintenance and Options) remained $1.04.

Election Day for the Northwest ISD bond election is May 6, with early voting April 24 to May 2.

(©2017 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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