Fort Worth voters made a nearly half billion dollar investment in the education of the city's students, overwhelmingly passing a $490 million bond package in Tuesday's election.
The measure, which was passed with 70 percent of the vote, includes technology upgrades for learning and safety, replacements for its aging bus fleet and new schools.
District-wide expansion of the pre-kindergarten program is perhaps the most popular measure.
Currently, the Fort Worth Independent School District has about 4,000 students enrolled in pre-K programs that supporters say improve outcomes for new students and help cut the achievement gaps for inner-city students. Under the bond package, the program will expand district-wide, adding approximately 3,000 more students.
Safety enhancements are already underway. Schools are being equipped with electronic locks that can be opened remotely to keep intruders out. There are also communication devices for teachers and staff and a state-of-the-art surveillance system that equips each school with cameras that can be monitored and recorded at one central location.
The district also plans to build new schools, including a performing fine arts school and a science, technology, engineering and math-focused school, both at the high-school level.
District leaders say they've learned that over the years that FWISD loses some students to districts that offer both programs. The loss of those students not only drains the city of some of its best young minds, it also costs the district money because funding is based on district population.