Killeen Independent School District faces a variety of challenges shared with districts across the state as the May 5 election approaches.
Two candidates are vying for the board’s Place 6 in the election: Minerva Trujillo and Lan Carter.
Trujillo was originally elected to fill the seat vacated by her late husband, Arthur Trujillo. Previously, the incumbent spent 35 years working for KISD as a teacher, assistant principal and principal in a number of schools.
Carter has years of experience working for Copperas Cove ISD. She has also run campaigns for several political seats, and is an education advocate.
Board member JoAnn Purser is unopposed in her bid for another term on Place 7.
A critical piece in ensuring quality of education is the condition of school facilities.
The district has reached out to the citizens within its boundaries for help.
For the first time since 2002, KISD embarked on a major project in the last quarter of 2017, developing projects and costs for a bond issue that will be presented for a vote on the May 5 ballot.
The request for $426 million in property owners’ tax dollars will be divided into two ballot propositions - $235 million and $191 million. The projects included in the bond issue are construction of a new high school and new elementary school, both of which should open for the 2022-2023 school year, renovations to bring older schools into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and increased security in and around the buildings, as well as consolidations of some older campuses into new buildings, and renovations to Killeen High School and Clifton Park Elementary School.
The bond issue was driven, in part, by current overcrowding in the district’s schools. Enrollment for the 2018-2019 school year in the 26th largest school district in Texas is expected to be nearly 45,000 students, a new record high, according to KISD officials.
Many of those students require specialized instruction.
The Texas Education Agency has also been pressed by Gov. Greg Abbott to take action to fix special education, something KISD has grappled with for years.
An initial special education audit was commissioned in 2015 after the TEA investigated KISD for failing to meet standards for evaluating special education students to give the students appropriate education. KISD has initiated follow-up audits in an effort to address these issues.
And over all of these issues is ensuring the safety of each and every student in KISD schools, as schools across the U.S. have had to cope with tragedies involving deadly shootings, terroristic threats and more.