MONEY

One of the things the Killeen Independent School District bond steering committee will do at its first meeting Thursday evening is to look at the district’s existing facilities.

The district needs nearly $500 million for new buildings and repairs to older buildings, KISD officials said. They are asking the committee to prioritize and to help determine how much money to seek from taxpayers in a proposed bond issue on the May ballot.

The committee meeting will take place at 6 p.m. in the Harker Heights High School cafeteria.

Another item on the preliminary agenda will be to review the committee's purpose itself.

The bond steering committee’s purpose is “to provide facility, equipment and infrastructure recommendations to the Killeen ISD Board of Trustees after analyzing existing facilities assessment, enrollment projections, financial data, results of a community survey, and other data relevant in creating and maintaining learning environments that align with the district’s mission, vision and goals,” according to documents created by KISD for the committee.

The community survey is being described by Terry Abbott, KISD chief communications officer, as “something that would be done in the next few weeks to get feedback from the public on facilities needs.”

The bond steering committee meetings run through November.

At the first meeting, the committee chairmen will be introduced and their roles defined. The committee will review their upcoming schedule.

The bond steering committee will also discuss the bond process and the planning work involved to determine the projects to be included on the bond issue, and the amount that will be requested in the bond election. The proposed date of that election is May 5, 2018.

The existing facilities the bond steering committee will be discussing are buildings near 50 years or older, as mentioned by KISD superintendent John Craft at the last KISD board workshop.

Replacing 239 aging and inefficient heating and air conditioning units at six campuses could be part of that discussion for inclusion on the bond issue.

The district’s capacity and demographic projections are another item on the committee’s agenda. A key factor in the need for new school buildings funded by the bond issue is a continued 1 percent annual growth in the student population.

This figure has been determined by looking at increases in enrollment the past three years, according to Jeff Heckathorn, KISD public education information management system coordinator and district demographer.

Heckathorn believes those numbers are indicative of the growth which will be seen in the district in the years ahead, assuming no major changes. He watches fluctuations in enrollment numbers through the school year, as well as the housing market and other variables that might impact enrollment potential.

The Herald submitted a public information request to KISD for all documentation Heckathorn uses in making his calculations regarding student population growth.

A request to interview Heckathorn in person was declined.

The names of individuals from the 104 invited by KISD officials to be part of the bond steering committee have yet to be announced by KISD. The Killeen Daily Herald has filed a public records request to discover details of the process used to create the list of those 104 people.

Harker Heights High School is at 1001 Farm-to-Market 2410. Those attending should use the school’s front entrance, on the west side of the building near the flag pole.

254-501-7568 | jferraro@kdhnews.com

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