KISD

The Killeen Independent School District Board of Trustees votes to call a bond election on the May 5 ballot during their meeting Tuesday evening.

The Killeen Independent School District Board of Trustees voted Tuesday to ask taxpayers for $426 million in school construction and renovations in a May 5 bond issue.

By a unanimous 7-0 vote, the board agreed to ask district voters to consider two propositions — one for $235 million and the other for $191 million.

The vote came after the board viewed a 42-slide presentation that will be used to educate the community about the bond issue.

Board president Corbett Lawler praised Superintendent John Craft and the bond steering committee, which was selected by the school district, for what he called a transparent process in pushing a long-term investment.

“What drives the whole thing is this: what the best thing is for kids,” he said. “If you don’t see a kid in your mind when you consider all this, then I think something is wrong. This [bond] answers a problem, and it’s a difficult problem.”

The $426 million in total bonds to appear on the May 5 ballot outweighs investing in short-term, portable buildings to supplement swelling enrollment, Lawler said. The district currently has 232 portable buildings for a total of 290 portable classrooms.

The idea to break the bond issue into multiple propositions was suggested by board member JoAnn Purser at the Dec. 12 board meeting. Craft revisited the possibility at the Jan. 23 meeting, offering a proposal for the bond to be broken into two parts.

The $235 million Proposition A would include renovations to bring existing campuses into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and a new elementary and high school to open for the 2022-2023 school year.

The new high school would be constructed on Chaparral Road in south Killeen, with the new elementary on property not yet purchased by the district, also in south Killeen.

The $191 million Proposition B would cover consolidation of existing schools into newly built campuses, and renovation of schools older than 50 years. Killeen High School alone would see $75 million in renovations.

“I think it’s warranted. I think it’s justified. I think it’s needed to do our very best educating for our students,” Craft said. “Regardless of the bond or not, [our teachers] will work tirelessly to ensure the students have the absolute best educational programming possible.”

Board member Susan Jones questioned the nonspecific language of Proposition B, citing the lack of detail for what projects would be undertaken.

Craft said the board will maintain transparency if the district is granted those bond funds.

“The projects will still go through steps of approval by the board,” Craft said. “This is not a blank check. The board will take action through a series of steps.”

The last construction bond for the district was passed in 2002, which levied $98 million that was utilized through the 2007-2008 school year.

KISD has seen an enrollment growth of 7,520 students since the last bond was levied. The district anticipates to grow by 4,637 in the next 10 years.

Craft said all existing facilities since that time have been built from facility fund balances outside of bond funds, such as the district’s new elementary school that is scheduled to open for the 2019-2020 school year.

“All of these existing facilities have been brought online utilizing existing funds,” Craft said. “In better terms: savings.”

The current maintenance and operation tax rate of $1.04 would be unaffected. However, the interest and sinking tax rate, which finances a district’s facilities, would rise to 22 cents for a total of $1.26 per $100 of property value. That is a total of $112.80 annually for a home valued at $100,000, district figures show.

Killeen residents can visit www.votetexas.gov and click the “Am I Registered?” tab to check whether they are registered to vote. Residents can also call the Bell County elections office at 254-933-5774. The deadline for registering to vote is April 5.

Early voting for the May election begins on April 23 and ends on May 1.

The last day to apply for a ballot by mail is April 24. Ballot-by-mail applications must be received by that day.

IN OTHER BUSINESS

Twenty high school seniors scheduled to graduate from Killeen ISD schools this spring will share $71,000 in college scholarships. The money comes from Killeen ISD college fund endowments, which include the historic Parrie Haynes endowment. The Haynes endowment will fund two $2,500 scholarships for KISD seniors this year.

The board approved the proposed design for Elementary School No. 35. The $37 million school will be built with existing funds (not from the bond) and will open in August 2019. The school site is just west of the southern end of Rosewood Drive in White Rock Estates, at the intersection of Obsidian Drive and Morganite Lane.

The board approved a Memorandum of Understanding with Temple College for the Texas Bioscience Institute (TBI) Program for the 2018-2019 School Year for the continuation of students in the TBI program.

Tuition and fees will remain unaltered from the current year at $129.00 per semester hour. KISD student enrollment at TBI remains capped at 120 students.

 The 2017-2018 junior cohort will continue to receive full funding from KISD as outlined in the agreement through their senior year.

Any new students entering the program starting in the 2018-2019 school year will receive partial funding ($90 per student credit hour) from KISD.

Students beginning the program next year will be responsible for arranging their own transportation.

254-501-7568 | jferraro@kdhnews.com

Herald staff writer

(7) comments

Alvin

This is the personal opinion of this writer.
@dailymajor:
Copy: 'Alvin, Alvin, Alvin....Let's see now,..who do I think knows more about the school business and KISD...Dr. Craft (not Mr. Kraft) and the school board...or you?....You ask why the board has not asked for more funds earlier...it is because they actually hate to go to the public and ask for more funds. Believe it or not, there are going to be people, like you, who are going to vote no for any school bond no matter what, and the board and superintendent hate to ask the public for more monies. Surely you realize that, though, right, Alvin?...' End of copy.
Now that is the most absurd reasoning that I think I have ever heard, Now lets pick up the conversation from where you was admonishing me for not getting the 'Dr.' right, it is Dr. Kraft. Do you remember the story I related to you on a Doctor of Civil Engineering, he was a holder of a PHD, but he was not adept enough to load a copy machine? Do you expect me to fall down in awe to anyone who possesses a Doctorate in front of his name. I don't think so. Someone must 'earn the recognition from me, not the other way around'. This goes back to some of your statements: I was responsible for all of the engineers, 'to which I retorted, ' I was expressing the thought that I was only responsible for the engineers to whom reported to me, not all engineers'. And I finish this statement with 'or who do you think knows more about the school business and KISD”????
Well I can say without reservation that a 'Dr. Kraft' has not been as transparent as you paint him to be, that this avenue of supporting the development of a housing tract that is outside of the city limits, and while we are that subject, I do seem to recall that it was the then present mayor, Corbin, that said, and I paraphrase: 'there would not be a move to incorporate this housing tract into the city limits for at least 20 years, if at all'. End of paraphrase.
But to get back on the subject;
Copy: ' You are so upset and harp constantly on the new home division being built.' End of copy.
And of course you expect, and think, that everyone should buy into the school proposed by the KISD school board, and I do not, so then, 'when does disagreement among peoples of the same city, on a subject such as the $426 million dollars reach a peak to where someone, like yourself, can spout the words, harp, rant, rave and not be called out on it???? If you care to answer this please.
As to the qualifications of an individual, one can expect to be noted as holding a Doctorate in a certain, say education, but what does that entail???? Is that individual qualified in all aspects of say engineering and design, of construction management, of the various disciplines say of scheduling, planning, costing structures, or should he rely on these various disciplines for their expertise.
And as I have stated, this venture was originated back in the days of then Corbin who manhandled the city council by requiring only a 4 vote margin as to what could be done in this city. And I dare say that with the council of yesteryear, he 'got what he wanted', and was able to pursue the courting of this off court model of building the 3,750 homes that were to be just outside of the city limits, he was able to manhandle the new water system that would be built on Stillhouse reservoir, and be of a quantity of 10 MGD, and which was to be built by the then city manager getting the OK to release $5 million dollars of 'up front money' and cost $30 million dollars, which was changed and modified to 'a elevated head tank that when filled, could support in the neighborhood of 3 to 5 million gallons.
Now I venture to say that this new high school was in the planning and development stage in early 2014 along with the establishment of the new expanded roadways that will cost the city approximately $30 million dollars and we can't even maintain our roadways now. This budget shows $1.2 million dollars for maintenance of roadways and only $300,000 has been earmarked,so we, in my opinion, are spiraling downward at an ever increasing pace. And the story goes on and on into infinity.
It's not the total of the money that I am questioning, it's the way this is being pursued, in secret, not transparent to the average citizen, but being simplified for the glory of the KISD school enviroment.
I question 'why did they, the KISD school board, not be moving in a direction that was purposeful and enlightening, trying to move towards a budget that would encompass the very buildings that you are talking about instead of trying to cram down the throats of it's citizens a broad classification of multiple schools, both new and old, with a price tag of $426 million, down from a plateau of $700 million. In one breath you say hat the older schools are being refurbished, and @Asquad5: this writer is berating the schools saying paint peeling of of the walls, floors coming apart, so which is it your version or @Asquad5????
I am for education but there has to be some give and take to this venture. Yes I believe in good quality education but when say a school board member wants to put up million dollar scoreboards, in that I draw the line. It tells me that that individual does not know the value of a dollar, that that individual just wants to spend, spend, spend for the sake of spending 'our' money, not his.
You say that 'you are OK with spending a little over $20 a month. You say that you don't think that Nolanville and Harker Heights, that this isn't a drain on the Killeen school district, but your only statement is 'That's ludicrousness', but you offer no support for your argument. What is the support for the maintenance of these outlying schools and what would it be if they were not included???? Where is, 'the fluff', in maintaining these schools????
I contend that if this city and this school district was not required to support these areas, this school department would be a much smaller footprint, and taking on the task of supporting the homes to be built 'across the line', with a school system that does not want to be a part of the city of Killeen should not be allowed. Let's keep Killeen and the school district separate and apart from somebody's pipe dream.
As you have said:
Copy: 'Maybe for you, it is, but it certainly is not for me.' End of copy.
And I'll say it again, 'Its not your decision alone, save some for the rest of us. You know, we're citizens of this city too'.
And @Maveric54:
Copy: 'i understand the angry, frustration, and burden that higher taxes puts of the taxpayers of these cities but we cant have an substandard academic quality schools, overcrowded classrooms, and out dated, crumbling campuses and unsightly, and temporary portable blds in KISD. we must fund these much needed repairs to existing old kisd school campuses, nuild new kisd schools to caccompdate the overcrowding and rapid populations of students, and spend the necesasry resources and funds to make KISD an first rate school district, our military solider's & civilian populations's children need & deserve it!' End of copy.
Don't you see and understand all of the outsourcing that this school system is incorporating???? It's not the amount of money, it's where and why it is spent that I'm talking about.
And @Thugnificent killed me:
One thing I know, other than KI$D BEGGING 4 a BOND, nothing we post here will influence others. If most US families were experience a job loss, a layoff, health problems, or other monetary setbacks, those families don't go begging for money. Most families start looking how to REDUCE their expenses, save money, get more money legally, even selling some of their cherished possessions. Yet, government immediately raises taxes, or goes BEGGING 4 a BOND. Government never considers cutting costs. One thing I do KNOW, teacher, staff, and support personnel fight the good fight everyday, putting kids first. Meanwhile, the overpaid backslappers, handshakers, and BOND BEGGARS receive salaries and benefits beyond what the Republic of Texas pays its Governor, Lt. Governor, senators, and state representatives. BTW, our Texas legislature meets biannually, while the $chool Board Bond Beggar$, and the Big Bo$$ meet weekly. Once the BOND is defeated, will KI$D begin to reduce spending? Hmmmm.
Sad to say, but I think that you are right in your analogy, people just don't care unless it affects them and then they want a handout. It's only $20 dollars a month, whats the big deal????
And once again I want to post a complaint in the direction that this newspaper takes, supporting the arguments that are agreeable to this newspaper and scrubbing those that are not. This article is only 20 hours old and I don't when you jerked it off. What happened to equal opportunity???? Sad.
This has been the personal opinion of this writer and nothing shall be used, in context or without or changed in any way without first notifying, and receiving explicit approval from this writer.
One of the 4.58 % who voted.

THUGNIFICENT KILLED ME

One thing I know, other than KI$D BEGGING 4 a BOND, nothing we post here will influence others. If most US families were experience a job loss, a layoff, health problems, or other monetary setbacks, those families don't go begging for money. Most families start looking how to REDUCE their expenses, save money, get more money legally, even selling some of their cherished possessions. Yet, government immediately raises taxes, or goes BEGGING 4 a BOND. Government never considers cutting costs. One thing I do KNOW, teacher, staff, and support personnel fight the good fight everyday, putting kids first. Meanwhile, the overpaid backslappers, handshakers, and BOND BEGGARS receive salaries and benefits beyond what the Republic of Texas pays its Governor, Lt. Governor, senators, and state representatives. BTW, our Texas legislature meets biannually, while the $chool Board Bond Beggar$, and the Big Bo$$ meet weekly. Once the BOND is defeated, will KI$D begin to reduce spending? Hmmmm[rolleyes][whistling][lol]

maverick54

I urge the Residents Of Killeen, my beloved hometown to think of the best interests & the quality education of our KISD students (the youth of Killeen, Harker Heights, & Nolanville) . i understand the angry, frustration, and burden that higher taxes puts of the taxpayers of these cities but we cant have an substandard academic quality schools, overcrowded classrooms, and out dated, crumbling campuses and unsightly, and temporary portable blds in KISD. we must fund these much needed repairs to existing old kisd school campuses, nuild new kisd schools to caccompdate the overcrowding and rapid populations of students, and spend the necesasry resources and funds to make KISD an first rate school district, our military solider's & civilian populations's children need & deserve it!

Alvin

This is the personal opinion of this writer.
I believe you have just stated the exact reason for my 'NO' vote: 'Killeen grows significantly every year and we are in desperate need for new schools, like the board says, we have to consider what's best for the students, having 35 kids stuffed in a classroom is detrimental to their education.'
Question: 'Why has this school system 'allowed this school system to lapse into the deteriorated state that it is in now?' 'Why hasn't this school system, if it has been known to be in the state of disrepair that is now being stated for years, like the 4 recent years?' It was not found to be a case of rapid growth and not in just the past 4 years???? And 'why hasn't this school system not been kept up, with the safety features that 'any' school system maintain???? And 'why has not your 'case of: 'Having 35 kids stuffed in a classroom is detrimental to their education.' So the extra 5 'kids' accounts to 'being detrimental to their education huh'....
Copy: 'Take Bellaire for example, that poor school is so old and decrepit. Walls are peeling, floor coming apart, bathrooms are in terrible condition.' End of copy.
Now 'why' are these conditions being left in this state of deterioration as this is a function of scheduled maintenance. I would have to state that 'it will not cost $426 million to scrape and paint the walls, to repair 'floors that are coming apart', put new fixtures in the bathrooms. Again I contend that 'this is a serious problem that this school system should have been cognizant of and not let these buildings lapse into the state of disrepair they are now in.
And don't forget, it was originally slated to be a bond issue of $700 million dollars. What was the 'extra $274 million going to go for, 'fluff'????
Yes @asquad5: You have just given the points of contention that are now existing, that could have been eliminated with what I will call, 'proper school board activity'.
Yes if you want a school system that is maintained for the 'good for the home building, that has been kept in the hush-hush for 4 years', that is going to keep this city with roadways that are in a state of deterioration as this city is now in and will continue to be in this state, and all for a condition that could and should have been avoided.
Why is Nolanville for example in the KISD school system in the first place, or Harker Heights???? Why don't they have their own independent school systems???? It seems to me that this is a burden on the city of Killeen.
Yes you go ahead and vote for a bond that will keep this city in the clutches of a school system that is really full of fluff, costing the citizens of Killeen millions of dollars 'that they do not have'. And don't forget the fact that this school board just not 2 months ago was queering an extra $274 million dollars. Was it for a scoreboard or other inconsequential item????
I am still of the opinion that I am going to vote 'NO' on this bond and every bond that follows until we get a school board that is conscious of what it takes to operate a school system.
This has been the personal opinion of this writer and nothing shall be used, in context or without or changed in any way without first notifying, and receiving explicit approval from this writer.
One of the 4.58 % who voted.

dailymajor

Alvin, Alvin, Alvin....Let's see now,..who do I think knows more about the school business and KISD...Dr. Craft (not Mr. Kraft) and the school board...or you?....You ask why the board has not asked for more funds earlier...it is because they actually hate to go to the public and ask for more funds. Believe it or not, there are going to be people, like you, who are going to vote no for any school bond no matter what, and the board and superintendent hate to ask the public for more monies. Surely you realize that, though, right, Alvin?...You are so upset and harp constantly on the new home division being built. What would you like to do about it? Is this the only subdivision that has been built outside the city limits? Of course not? Do you think they will stay outside the city? Probably not, and you know that, or at least you should........You say that having Nolanville and Harker Heights in the KISD is a burden on Killeen. That's ridiculous. ...You talk about the "fluff". ..I want a school district that the citizens of Killeen and the students of KISD can be proud of. Not one to be ashamed of. ..FYI, also, KISD does a really great job of maintaining existing facilities. Many are just very, very old and out of date...such as East Ward....Supposing that you live in a home that is worth $200,000, you would see a raise in your tax rate of a little over $20 a month, approximately. To me, that is not such a heavy burden to have, to improve our school system and enrich and improve our educational system for our students. Maybe for you, it is, but it certainly is not for me. My kids have already graduated with honors, and they are all doing very, very well in college and after graduation from college. KISD was wonderful for them and has started them on the road to successful careers and life opportunities. Maybe that doesn't mean a lot to you. It does to me. ....I will vote yes for the bond, because I know that it is needed....I believe that Dr. Craft and the board are doing what is best for the students and the district, and I think they are much, much more knowing about everything about the needs of the district and its students than you are.

Asquad5

I am going to vote YES for the bond, for the simple fact that Killeen grows significantly every year and we are in desperate need for new schools. Being a Killeen ISD alumnus, I know what it's like to be in a school that's WAY overcrowded and believe me when I say, it's not fun. Like the board says, we have to consider what's best for the students. Having 35 kids stuffed in a classroom is detrimental to their education. Let's not forget about the condition of schools that are 30+ years old. Take Bellaire for example, that poor school is so old and decrepit. Walls are peeling, floor coming apart, bathrooms are in terrible condition. Same goes for East Ward, West Ward, Pershing Park, Nolanville and Hay Branch. I know if I was zoned to an older school, I would not want my child going there. Schools are a death trap waiting to happen. Mr. Lawler was my principal when I was at Killeen High and I trust this man 100%. He knows what it's like on the inside and knows that KISD is in dire need of change, not only for current and future students, but for our community as well. Times are changing......we need to get with the program

Alvin

This is the personal opinion of this writer.
Copy: 'Board president Corbett Lawler praised Superintendent John Craft and the bond steering committee, which was selected by the school district, for what he called a transparent process in pushing a long-term investment.
Continuation of copy: “What drives the whole thing is this: what the best thing is for kids,” he said. “If you don’t see a kid in your mind when you consider all this, then I think something is wrong. This [bond] answers a problem, and it’s a difficult problem.” End of copy.
There is a fundamental problem with the above, and apparently the school board and the school board steering committee must think that John Q. Public stupid. They apparently think that by brow beating the citizens, making them think that the more money you spend on education the smarter the kids are going to be, but there's a catch, people are wising up to the school boards type of educational 'case and effect, and that is: 'the more money you feed down the pipe the worse for clutter it gets.
Where's the old style of education where a child gets to go from 0800 to 1500 Monday through Friday, attends 6 classes per day, and goes home. In some school districts the child attends a split school system going in the morning or afternoon sessions.
Times were tough for some school districts, not enough money, but the school district made do. But it's not the case now, the school districts apparently too affluent, set the mark too high.
But the case in point to me is why we are catering to the people in real estate in an effort to create an atmosphere that is almost certainly a drain on it's citizens by the effort to build a new high school which can't be functional unless the city expands their roadways to the tune of $30 million dollars when the city doesn't have the necessary resources and is continually falling behind on their roadway structure each and every year. They were supposed to budget $1.2 million and so far they are in the neighborhood of $300 thousand. This school system has known of this problem for over 4 years with the approaching bond necessity but they just now make this fact known. Now they are finalizing plans, to the tune of $426 million and it will be $426 million in total for this school system looks at this through rose colored glasses, expecting this city to just roll over. Well as far as I am concerned, this school system should have had their duck all lined up neatly, spending money wisely and not getting too far behind. Well I for one will not cater to this school baord, this KISD steering committee and will right now announce that this is just one of the reasons that I feel that this school system has let the public down in their search for a public education system. This is not a public education system, it is a strictly for cash education system and this school board and this Mr. Kraft should be put on notice as this is not the way to run a railroad, nor a school system for that matter.
I am going to vote 'NO' on any school bond and the city bond should it come up in the future.
As this future 3,750 homes that are to be built on county property, let this group start their own school system, their own water and sewer system, their own district 2 and leave the city of Killeen alone. That would be one answer to the quandry that Killeen finds itself in at the present. Let the builders fend for themselves.

This has been the personal opinion of this writer and nothing shall be used, in context or without or changed in any way without first notifying, and receiving explicit approval from this writer.
One of the 4.58 % who voted.

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