Citing students safety concerns, the Keller ISD board of trustees unanimously approved spending $3.2 million to purchase land adjacent to Basswood Elementary School during its regular meeting April 25.

The details

According to district documents, the purchase of the 2.2 acres of land through eminent domain would allow for the expansion of Basswood Elementary School. The documents state district officials had “recently learned of a property development within its geographical territory that will increase the enrollment in its schools,” and Basswood Elementary would be impacted due to increased enrollment.

The property, which is located at 3056 Clay Mountain Trail, is owned by Basswood Investments, LLC. According to city of Fort Worth documents, Basswood Investments owners had intended to put an extended-stay motel at the location, and preparation of the land had already begun on the property before the board of trustees made the decision to purchase it April 25.

What they’re saying

While board members recognized the district is not in a position to make such a purchase—Assistant Superintendent John Allison had presented a budget update prior to the board’s vote on this item that showed the district has a preliminary budget shortfall of $27.43 million for fiscal year 2024-25—they felt it was the right thing to do for the safety and security of Basswood Elementary students and their families.

“Yes, we are in financial straits, and this is not money that we want to spend, but I do believe that this is appropriate action to protect our kids,” Place 5 trustee Chris Coker said.

“At the end of the day, one of our primary functions is the safety and security of our kiddos,” board President Charles Randklev said. “An extended-stay motel so close to our elementary school doesn’t fit within that function or vision.”