The Killeen Independent School District is preparing to spend nearly $300 million on facility construction and renovation by 2021.
Almost half of that money will go toward construction of the district’s new high school, which is expected to begin this fall; the $135 million school is expected to open in 2021.
Board members discussed the upcoming projects at a workshop meeting Tuesday.
Board members previously approved plans for a number of construction projects, including a new elementary school for 2019 estimated to cost $37 million, a career center expansion plan for 2020 that does not have a tentative cost yet but is expected to be near $20 million, a new high school to open in 2021 that could cost more than $135 million, a new football stadium for 2021 priced near $48 million and a new middle school to open in 2021 estimated to cost $54 million.
The facilities plan also details other construction projects through the 2028-29 school year.
“The real work for the new high school will get underway this fall, as the high school construction plan will take three years,” KISD Superintendent John Craft said Tuesday.
Craft explained that other districts are continuing to spend upwards of $130 million for new high schools that house 2,000 students or more.
“These prices continue to increase and I’ve even see high schools projected to cost nearly $160 million,” Craft said.
According to KISD’s Chief Financial Officer Megan Bradley, construction fees are increasing each year by about 8 percent, which has played a huge factor in the consistently increasing cost of facility building.
Bradley then gave a presentation showing that the district is expecting nearly 1,000 more students for the upcoming school year in comparison to enrollment numbers from the 2015-16 school year.
By the start of the 2017-18 school year, the district expects to have over 44,200 students in comparison to 43,257 students during the 2015-16 school year.
Another item presented was the district spending figures for 2016.
The district’s operating expense funds in 2016 totaled $385,650,372. The district during the same span was also made up of 56.5 percent low-income students (students who receive free or reduced lunch).
Round Rock Independent School District, which is comparable in student enrollment, spent almost $30 million more than KISD in 2015-16. Round Rock ISD also had nearly half the low-income students as KISD during the same span.
According to Bradley’s presentation, KISD has also increased its average teacher salaries each year since 2012.
In 2016 teachers in KISD made around $51,000. Round Rock ISD teachers in 2016 made the same amount on average.
KISD employees also averaged 8.5 years experience. The student-to-teacher ratio for 2016 was just over 15 to 1.
In other news, the board approved the 2017-18 staffing allocations proposal that details faculty member hirings and campus assignments.
In 2017-18, the district expects to have just over 6,500, employees both part time and full time.
The staffing allocation update details an increase of 37 full-time employees for the upcoming school year, many of these employees being teachers, teacher’s aides and instructional specialists.
The district also still needs to hire 23.75 new bus drivers for 2017-18.
Lastly, the board discussed changing its policy to no longer allow political candidates to deliver campaign material on campus.
Previously the district allowed political candidates to deliver campaign material to campus administration, and faculty members.
The policy is expected to be voted on at the board’s next meeting on July 11.