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Aledo ISD

School funding continues to weigh heavy

Board of Trustees meeting discuss bonds


With the Ken Paxton impeachment trial officially over, the pressing concern of school funding was at the forefront of the discussion during Aledo ISD’s Board of Trustees meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 19. 

During the legislative session earlier this spring, state legislators took until the final days of the session to agree upon state-wide property tax cuts. The state treasury has $5 billion earmarked for school funding after the tax cuts were approved and signed into law by Governor Greg Abbott. 

However, what the legislature failed to do before the legislative session concluded was decide how and where the $5 billion would be distributed to schools across the state. Now that the Paxton trial has ended, Governor Abbott stated he plans to call for a special session in October to hash out funding for schools.

Board of Trustees Secretary David Lear spoke during the opening moments of the meeting to advise the board of what to expect during the special session. Lear said with the governor, lieutenant governor, and the state senate all in favor of a voucher program while the state representatives in the House of Representatives widely opposing a voucher program, the state congress will likely end in a gridlock that will leave school funding hanging in the balance. 

If that happens in October, Abbott is expected to call a second special session in order to give legislators another opportunity to pass laws to fund schools across the Lone Star State. Lear mentioned he is less than optimistic anything will be accomplished in the second session that was not accomplished in the first. 

Should the second special session end without resolution, the governor is expected to kick the choice to voters. 

Last month Aledo ISD Superintendent Dr. Susan Bohn said the district has adopted a deficit budget, as have most districts across the state. She added that for the 2023-24 school year the district was not in a position where it was important to cut staffing or programs due to budgetary constraints.

During the Sept. 19 meeting, Bohn reiterated that the district will not face cuts to personnel or programs for this school year. However, if the state legislature cannot figure out how to fund schools in short order, making cuts for the 2024-25 school year will be unavoidable as the district’s deficits continue to grow.

Board President Forrest Collins added that while speaking with a state legislator on the phone, he advised the legislator when he receives calls from disgruntled teachers and staff from this point on he is going to give them the legislator’s phone number.

2023 Bond update

Board Vice President Jessica Brown provided an update on where the district currently is in regard to the items on the 2023 Bond Package. 

The bond package included $17 million for the procurement of land for future construction sites as the district continues to grow. Brown mentioned the district has made several land purchases or is under contract to acquire land. The district owns the 20-acre parcel across Champions Drive from the Daniel Ninth-Grade campus. They are also under contract on 109 acres north of the McAnally Middle School.

Speaking of bonds

Parker County will have a transportation bond proposal of its own coming up in November. County Judge Pat Deen presented the specifics to the board during a portion of the meeting.

Deen stated the county runs on a seven-to-eight-year cycle, typically speaking. The first transportation bond was back in 2008 for $80 million. The second came in 2016, again for $80 million. 

Right now, the county sits in the seventh year of a typical eight-year cycle with 32 proposed projects needed for safety and improvement. 

Specifically in Precinct 4, which covers much of Aledo ISD, the primary focus is transitioning from a rural infrastructure to an urban infrastructure. That transition includes widening roadways, complete with paved sidewalks and gutters. 

One of the projects the county expects to accept bids on next month is transitioning Old Weatherford Road from a rural to urban cross-section. The county has already purchased all the right-of-way property necessary for the project that will include a four-lane, divided roadway with a trail system from McAnally Middle School running west all the way to FM 3325. Construction on that project is expected to start just after the New Year.

Another project of note for Aledo is the extension of Bankhead to a full urban cross section from FM 1187 all the way to Ranch House Road in Willow Park.

Deen stated the proposed bond is for $130 million. If approved, property taxes for Parker County will increase 2.5 cents. For the average home with a taxable value of $330,000 in Parker County, that 2.5 cent increase translates into $83 per year in extra property tax.

Along with the increased safety impact the transportation bond is expected to create, Deen also mentioned an expected economic benefit to follow. He stated in Parker County approximately 60% of residents commuting to work in the mornings commute east towards the Fort Worth metro area. 

As growth continues to come to the area with efficient travel possible due to adequate infrastructure, Deen stated he expects more economic development in Parker County so that fewer residents will have to leave the county to make their living.


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