The Fort Worth ISD school board approved more than $223.5 million in construction contracts for seven school renovations.
The projects are part of the district’s voter-approved $1.2 billion bond from 2021.
Trustee Kevin Lynch was the sole board member to vote against all of the contracts.
He questioned whether moving forward with the bond projects was the right decision as district leaders wait for a third-party company to complete a $2 million facility master plan. The school conditions analysis is expected to be released in the spring.
Fort Worth ISD enrollment has dropped by nearly 1 in 5 students since 2016. Estimates show the district has 70,675 students. Enrollment hit a high in 2016, when 87,428 students were in the district.
Trustees also have a study underway examining how shrinking enrollment has affected the district’s 122 campuses.
“I just think it’s prudent for us to figure out what we’re doing as a district before we enter into these projects,” Lynch said.
Trustee Anne Darr pushed back against Lynch. She pointed to Wedgwood Middle School, which will see more than $46.8 million in renovations, and noted that it is the sole campus that feeds into Southwest High School.
“The probability of that changing is pretty much zero,” Darr said.
Trustee Michael Ryan joined Lynch in opposing all but one project: renovations for Forest Oak Middle School.
Trustee Anael Luebanos joined Lynch and Ryan in voting against the planned $12.7 million in improvements to Workforce-Based High School, which is housed in the former Como Montessori campus.
A political action committee that advocated for the 2021 bond saw most of its donations come from companies with a history of working with Fort Worth ISD, a common pattern.
One contract awardee, Westworth Village-based management firm Reeder Construction, donated $2,500 to the pro-bond PAC in 2021. The Tarrant County firm was one of two companies tapped for the $36.8 million renovation project at Meadowbrook Middle School.
Donations do not guarantee a contract.
Companies go through a bidding process, and eventually the school board will consider awarding a contract during a regular meeting.
Jacob Sanchez is an enterprise journalist for the Fort Worth Report. Contact him at email@example.com 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.