Inflation was at the forefront of assembling the bond proposals in the Crowley and Northwest school districts.
Officials and community members built the bond programs, which voters are considering in the May 6 election, with buffer room to cover any additional increases in the cost of construction materials.
Putting together a bond proposal required looking at how the cost of construction materials changed in the past 10 years and predicting where they may be in the future, Crowley ISD Superintendent Michael McFarland said.
“It’s a process and it requires a lot of people at the table asking questions and looking closely,” he said. “It also helps ensure you deliver on what you promise the voters.”
The producer price index for new school building construction is at a new high, according to Federal Reserve Economic Data. The index looks at the price of goods, such as wood and metal, and how they have changed over time.
Since June 2021, the index saw a nearly 29% increase. In the past decade, the index jumped almost 62%.
Northwest ISD rolled over plans for a 23rd elementary school, converting a campus into an administration building and central administration renovations from a voter-approved $746 million bond in 2021 into its latest proposal. Combined, the projects cost $81.2 million, according to district documents.
The projects were pushed as construction estimates on a new middle school and renovations at Northwest High School ballooned past their budgeted costs.
The new elementary school had already been named — Perrin Elementary — when officials decided to push it to the 2023 bond.
Instead of spending millions on improvements for administration buildings, the district directed those dollars toward building a replacement campus for Pike Middle School and Northwest High School renovations, said Anthony Tosie, Northwest ISD’s communications director.
“It doesn’t make sense to put ourselves before the students,” Tosie said.
Crowley ISD based its bond proposal on a high inflation rate projection to ensure what is planned gets built, McFarland said.
“If we go with the highest number, that ensures that we’re able to take care of any kind of ebbs and flows that occur,” he said.
Jacob Sanchez is an enterprise journalist for the Fort Worth Report. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.