It could be seen as a case of sticker shock.
At Thursday night’s Killeen Independent School District bond steering committee meeting, held at the KISD Career Center, members of the committee learned that the total cost of projects under consideration for the potential bond issue could exceed $700 million.
That’s $200 million more than the highest estimate for the bond issue presented at the committee’s Nov. 9 meeting.
Along with a copy of the evening’s PowerPoint presentation, each bond steering committee member received a sheet on which the projects under consideration were listed, along with their estimated cost ranges.
No total was listed on the sheet, but simple addition saw the high-end total topping $700 million.
The projects being considered by the committee for the potential bond issue include three new elementary schools, a new middle school, and a new high school. Just those projects exceed $400 million in costs.
Renovations to existing facilities, or consolidations of older facilities involving construction of new schools, tops $300 million.
The suggestions of consolidating East Ward and West Ward elementary schools, located on Killeen’s north side, was one of the line items to be prioritized. Also, a consolidation plan for Sugar Loaf, Pershing Park and Bellaire elementaries, all located near U.S. 190, is on the list.
One of the bond steering committee chairs, Brenda Coley, has been pleased with the committee’s progress so far.
“It’s a huge group of engaged community leaders,” she said of the 50-plus-member committee.
Originally, over 100 residents of the district were invited to be part of the bond steering committee, which began meeting on Nov. 2. A total of four meetings were originally scheduled, each held at a different school in the district.
As for the potential bond issue, Coley said, “I trust the leadership in the district to use the money wisely.”
KISD board member Shelley Wells said she appreciates how much information the committee is receiving, in order to make conscious decisions.
“I wish the general public would go on the website and read the information,” Wells said.
That information includes documents and videos of the meetings, along with time lines that reflect how the district plans to meet a Feb. 16 deadline for the KISD board to call for a bond election on the May 5, 2018 ballot.
The exact amount of the bond issue has not yet been decided. The bond steering committee is charged with making a recommendation about the projects to be included, and the amount, to the KISD board at its Dec. 12 meeting.
At last week’s meeting, RBC Capital presented possible scenarios ranging from $175 million to $500 million for the bond issue, and the property tax impact for residents of the district. Owners of a home assessed at $150,000 with a homestead exemption would see a rise in property taxes between $44 and $209 per year, depending on the size of the bond package.
The bond steering committee’s next meeting will be held Nov. 30 at Roy J. Smith Middle School. If the recommendation for the KISD board is not finalized then, an additional meeting may be held on Dec. 7.
All information about the bond steering committee meetings can be found on the website: www.killeenisdbsc.org. The public can also submit questions and comments about the bond process on the website.