HARKER HEIGHTS — Just one week after the Killeen Independent School District Board of Trustees voted to ask taxpayers for $426 million in school construction and renovations in a May 5 bond issue, nearly 20 district officials gathered Tuesday night in the Harker Heights High School auditorium for the first of five bond voter education meetings.
However, no residents showed up, and the meeting was canceled.
District officials were ready to discuss details of the most expensive bond issue in district history. The meeting would have discussed how the bond works and is financed, along with other background information about district operations.
About a half-hour after the planned start time on a rainy Tuesday evening before an empty auditorium, Superintendent John Craft called off the meeting.
“I would say it’s surprising. I anticipated some community engagement,” Craft said. “At the same time, I do think we worked really hard to get the message out and we’ve worked hard to educate the community to what is entailed. We will continue to host the meetings both at our campuses as well as throughout the community.”
A second meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. today at Killeen High School.
The bond issue to appear on the May 5 ballot is split into two propositions. Proposition A, worth $235 million, would make schools more ADA compliant, building one high school and one elementary school. The district would also be able to finish adding vestibules and intercoms for security at schools.
Proposition B, worth $191 million, would pay for consolidation of some schools and renovations to Killeen High Schools.
Craft said he hasn’t seen much opposition to the bond issue at this point. Moreover, chief communication officer Terry Abbott cited “a landslide” of support for the ballot items from a previous phone survey in November, which anticipated the bond passing by a 19-point margin, he said.
An optional faculty meeting was held prior to the scheduled bond voter education meeting. Craft said a “good turnout” came to that meeting, and that no employees were paid overtime or compensated in any fashion for attending either meeting.
Abbott said future meetings will develop according to how the general public responds to them. Abbott also encouraged citizens to submit questions at www.killeenisdbond.org.
The locations of the meetings were spread throughout the district geographically, according to Abbott, and were chosen to be representative of the projects to take place if the bond issues pass.
“As we go, if we get a series of questions on a certain topic, (KISD) will add to the presentation,” he said. “The whole idea is to listen what the public has to say, answer questions and be responsive. At every meeting, people will be allowed to ask questions.”
As district officials chatted among empty seats in the HHHS auditorium Tuesday, Craft shut off his PowerPoint presentation and waved for everybody to go home.
“I want to remain cautiously optimistic,” Craft said. “Obviously, it’s early, but at the same time, we’re going to continue to work hard to ensure the appropriate information is provided to our community, and that any questions the community has our answered.”
Two more meetings will occur this week. Meeting No. 2 will be 6 p.m. today in the Killeen High School auditorium on North 38th Street.
Meeting No. 3 will be 6 p.m. Thursday in the lecture hall at the Career Center on Stagecoach Road.
The fourth meeting will be 6 p.m. March 8 in the cafeteria at Nolan Middle School on East Jasper Drive.
Meeting No. 5 will be held 4:30 p.m. April 5 at Central Texas College on West Central Texas Expressway.
The last meeting will be held 6 p.m. April 9 in the cafeteria at Skipcha Elementary on Prospector Trail in Harker Heights.
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