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Dallas, Fort Worth School Districts Asking Voters for Money to Improve Technology Among Other Items

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Both Dallas and Fort Worth ISD are asking voters to approve more money for everything from providing social services to internet connectivity.

Students at James Madison High School in Dallas are expected to perform. In January, before COVID-19,  Principal Marian Willard told NBC 5 how so many social issues get in the way of her student's succeeding. 

"I have a young lady who was in our collegiate academy, her mother was deported, at this point in her education, she was a straight-A student, at this point she's really not thinking about school, she's thinking about her mom," said Williard.

From students living in homes where drugs are sold to hiding on the floor because there's a shooting on their block, Dallas ISD wants to open social service centers to help.

"We do a real good job of preparing the kids academics, math, science, whatever, but we have to think outside the box now and see what we can do to impact our students when they go home in the neighborhood," said Leslie Williams, Deputy Chief of Racial Equity, Dallas ISD.

COVID-19 changed the game though in both Dallas and Fort Worth. The districts purchased hotspots to get kids connected for now but both districts are desperately trying to come up with long-term solutions. Dallas and now Fort Worth are looking to purchase cell phone towers. 

"In East Fort Worth, South Fort Worth, we have a high percentage of children without broadband access at home," said Kent Scribner, Superintendent, Fort Worth ISD. "We believe in the next six months we certainly would be able to begin that process."

Fort Worth ISD wants to do it through a tax hike which Scribner said will still be lower than 12 other districts in Tarrant county.

Dallas ISD wants to use the largest bond in state history and they say it will not impact taxes directly, despite the disclaimer seen on the ballot.

"If you vote for this bond on November 3, on November the 4th, your property taxes are going to remain exactly the same, said Miguel Solis, Dallas ISD Trustee. "If you vote against it they will remain the same. What we asking voters to do is issue debt in the future so we can keep taxes the same rate and allow us to pay off that debt."

Both districts relying heavily on the community to remember this past spring and the struggles to get students connected and the need to fix that problem for good.

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