MIDLOTHIAN — The Midlothian ISD board of trustees voted Monday night to authorize the superintendent to move into discussions with VLK Architects to negotiate terms for a second high school, additions to Frank Seale Middle School and a seventh elementary school.

The construction projects to address needed expansion to accommodate district growth, will go before voters in May in the form of a $97.3 million single-proposition bond.

“My concern is the perception is that we are moving forward as if a decision has been made in our favor,” board member Cindy Williams said. “I have concerns about moving forward before we have any decision in the community.”

Superintendent Jerome Stewart said nothing would be finalized.

In a related item, with no action taken, the board considered the cost of improvements on Farm-to-Market 1387 adjacent to the site for the planned second high school. Leesa Vardeman of VLK Architects related the estimated cost of the road improvements has increased from $3.9 million to $4.3 million exclusive of design fees but including signalization. Vardeman said that after conceptual review, the city made some adjustments that resulted in less usable acreage on the site. The board members discussed possible options for changes to the existing plan to increase utility and reduce costs.

“I think you are making this harder than it has to be,” said Jamie Wickliffe, retained real estate professional for the district and city council member, suggesting that Stewart talk with the city manager. “I can’t imagine the city wouldn’t want to consider something more cost effective.”

In other business, Deputy Superintendent Robin Bullock, presented information regarding student residency issues related to the 449 students temporarily residing with other families living in the district. Bullock said that, by state law, students cannot be denied enrollment if they live in the district. The board requested additional information and will revisit the item at its regular meeting March 28.

The board also approved a resolution supporting community efforts to restore the J.R. Irvin Gymnasium to its operating condition without financial contribution from the district.

Contact Rebecca at rebecca.hertz@wninews.com or call 469-517-1451.