Fort Worth Independent School District mounted a campaign to pass a $1.2 billion bond issue, the largest in the nation, and it passed by 57 votes, out of nearly 25,000 cast.

The successful campaign reflected the needs of the public schools and the hard work of parents and the chair of the campaign, Dr. Charles Foster Johnson of Pastors for Texas Children.

a The new money will be used to renovate the district’s middle schools, some built 70 years ago, to build a new elementary school, and to renovate others.

Dr. Johnson and his fellow clergy worked closely with parents to win support for the bond issue, as this article by Dr. Johnson shows.

Dr. Johnson wrote:

As the pandemic worsened, teachers went the extra mile, checking on the health and safety of children and often providing for students’ needs out of their own pockets. Fort Worth professional educators served as angels of mercy, especially for our poorest, most vulnerable children. Eighty-six percent of students in the district are economically disadvantaged. For many, their lifeline is their neighborhood public school.

The package is the result of years of detailed planning and careful community input. An advisory committee of educators, parents and business leaders spent more than five years assessing our facility needs. Our elected school board held thoughtful, thorough deliberations.

This thorough due diligence is one reason why the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce, Fort Worth Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and Fort Worth Metropolitan Black Chamber of Commerce all endorse this bond.

Why now? With bond rates at historic lows, Fort Worth can save millions of dollars by improving our children’s neighborhood schools now instead of waiting. Furthermore, this bond will not result in a property tax rate increase for homeowners and businesses. It is imperative that we provide our educators with the tools and facilities they need to best prepare the next generation of community leaders. The bond package will help our hard-working teachers across the district continue to provide quality programs at every grade level. This includes improving every part of the district with additional classroom space, renovations to aging middle schools, and a new elementary school.

The improvements funded by the bond issue will help the public schools fend off the aggressive invasion of new charter schools, which are favored by Governor Gregg Abbott.

Read more at: https://www.star-telegram.com/opinion/opn-columns-blogs/other-voices/article255103397.html#storylink=cpy