HARKER HEIGHTS — Superintendent John Craft was blunt when asked what the Killeen Independent School District intends to do if its $426 million in proposed bonds fail to pass on the May 5 ballot.
“I would love to be able to say we could just sit idly and do nothing,” Craft said. “We can’t do that. We will regroup and strategically decide how we want to proceed.”
Craft was joined by various KISD officials as he continued his streak of holding public bond meetings around the area up to the May 5 election. The superintendent gave a presentation on the upcoming bond proposal Monday afternoon at the Central Texas Home Builders Association to nearly 50 people.
The public luncheon, organized by the Harker Heights Chamber of Commerce and Central Texas Home Builders Association, featured the same presentation Craft has relayed at all his meetings. The public responded with questions afterward related to security concerns and the amount of time construction proposed in the bond would take.
One meeting attendee spoke up as soon as Craft was finished, inquiring what the district’s next move would be if the two propositions fail to pass. The man referred to Round Rock ISD’s $572 million bond package that was voted down last May.
“Dr. Flores and I are good friends, and we cry on each other’s shoulder frequently,” Craft said in response, speaking of RRISD Superintendent Steve Flores.
Craft said a failed bond would result in more portable buildings stationed across the district. As he was answering questions, he said installation of more portable buildings for the next academic year at Harker Heights High School down the road has already begun.
Harker Heights resident Jeff Orlando, who said he is in support of the bond, followed up with questions revolving around the amount of time construction would take, as well as security concerns for portable buildings.
Students inevitably shuffle from portable to portable on a seven-bell school schedule, Craft said, potentially making them more vulnerable when changing classes.
Craft said the district is challenged with finding appropriate ways to secure portable buildings, even though they aren’t long-term solutions for the district.
The entire state is struggling to find long-term security for short-term buildings, Craft said. Craft also referred to Gov. Greg Abbott’s recent directive to Texas Commissioner of Education Mike Morath on portable building safety.
“We haven’t really added a lot of options for portable buildings, because one of our goals is to try and decommission as many as possible,” Craft said. “That’s the safest option.”
Harker Heights resident Barry Hinshaw recognizes the importance of considering a bond. But ultimately, after hearing Craft’s presentation, isn’t convinced either way just yet.
Hinshaw is considering how previous KISD bonds in the past have been handled.
“I don’t really have an opinion yet,” Hinshaw said. “But I am concerned to see the history of the bonds of the past, and when we’ll see another one.”
The fourth voter education meeting will be at 6 p.m. Thursday in the cafeteria at Nolan Middle School on East Jasper Drive.
Meeting No. 5 will be at 4:30 p.m. April 5 at Central Texas College on West Central Texas Expressway.
The last meeting will be at 6 p.m. April 9 in the cafeteria at Skipcha Elementary on Prospector Trail in Harker Heights.