Inside the cafeteria at Nolan Middle School on Jasper Road Thursday evening, rows of lunch benches sat empty behind Phil Haggerty, Kenny Jean and Killeen Independent School District officials.
Only Haggerty and Jean attended the fourth scheduled voter education meeting in advance of the two, proposed, taxpayer-funded bonds totaling $426 million to appear on the May 6 ballot. Superintendent John Craft and fellow district officials informally chatted about the renovations and construction included in the two propositions for about 20 minutes.
Both Haggerty and Jean have ties with KISD.
Haggerty was a controller for KISD about four years ago, and has also served as Assistant Superintendent for Belton ISD.
Jean is the current president of the Killeen ISD Alumni Association Committee, and has served on the KISD Education Foundation Board of Directors.
The district’s first bond meeting, Feb. 20, at Harker Heights High School was called off by Craft because no members of the public appeared.
Subsequent meetings were held at Killeen High School and the KISD Career Center, which gathered about 10 voters each. A separate luncheon was sponsored by the Harker Heights Chamber of Commerce and Central Texas Home Builders Association, which was open to the public. The luncheon attracted about 50 people, many of whom are affiliated with the district or have ties to other public entities.
Haggerty believes the district has gone too long without a bond. The last bond voters approved was in 2002, levying $98.72 million in taxpayer money.
“We have an obligation to make sure these kids don’t have to have their education in trailer houses,” Haggerty said.
Haggerty and Jean praised the district for maintaining a total tax rate of $1.11 per $100 of taxable property value, comparably less than surrounding districts.
If either Proposition A or Proposition B passes, that tax rate would rise to $1.26, higher only than Copperas Cove ISD’s current total tax rate of $1.22 per $100 of taxable property value.
“It’s hard to believe people fight over the tax rate,” Jean said, remarking on how the tax rate stacks up compared to surrounding districts.
Craft replied to Jean, noting what he perceives is a lack of opposition toward the proposed bond.
“We haven’t had much of a vicious response to it,” he said. “A lot of people have been in support of it.”
Two KISD-sponsored bond voter educations remain before the May 6 election.
Meeting No. 5 will be at 5 p.m. April 5 at Early College High School on Tank Destroyer Boulevard.
The last meeting will be at 6 p.m. April 9 in the cafeteria at Skipcha Elementary on Prospector Trail in Harker Heights.