MONEY

After weeks of work, the bond steering committee has presented its recommendation for a $426 million bond issue to the Killeen Independent School District board of trustees, but the process of getting the bond issue on the May ballot is not finished.

A marketing strategy will be developed by KISD administrators during the coming week, with the help of architect Huckabee, Inc., according to the bond process calendar. Before the first committee meeting to discuss a bond, Huckabee entered into a contract with KISD that runs from Oct. 25, 2017, to May 5, 2018, to handle “bond planning and community engagement” with the cost from $45,000 to $49,000, below the $50,000 threshold at which bids are required. These fees will be paid from the Killeen ISD general fund, according to Terry Abbott, KISD chief communications officer. Taxpayers’ money makes up the general fund that will be used to promote the bond taxpayers would fund.

Huckabee’s fees were not acknowledged by KISD Superintendent John Craft in a recent question-and-answer with the Herald regarding marketing of the bond issue.

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Superintendent John Craft

Killeen Independent School District Superintendent John Craft addresses KISD related topics at the Killeen Daily Herald on Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2017.

Abbott, in response to Herald questions said, “Huckabee has worked with many school districts throughout Central Texas in this way for many years.”

During the first week of January, financial and legal consultants will meet with KISD administrators to discuss details of the bond issue, which will be reviewed at the KISD board’s Jan. 9 meeting.

According to KISD’s bond process calendar, the board is not set to vote on whether to hold a bond election on the May 5 ballot until the Feb. 13 meeting — three days before the deadline to call that election.

Despite these progressive steps, Craft and KISD board members have mentioned some remaining concerns.

During a meeting with Killeen Daily Herald staff on Tuesday, Craft said if the city of Killeen does not find the money to provide infrastructure for new school construction, some projects that are part of the KISD bond steering committee’s recommendation could be put on hold.

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Superintendent John Craft

Killeen Independent School District Executive Director of Facilities Adam Rich, from left, Superintendent John Craft, Chief Communications Officer Terry Abbott and President of the KISD Board of Trustees Corbett Lawler address KISD related topics at the Killeen Daily Herald on Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2017.

Craft said the proposed new high school, with an estimated cost of $171 million, set to be built on a 67.5-acre lot on Chaparral Road south of the Killeen police station, would require the city, and possibly other governmental entities, to make improvements to the road.

Otherwise, access to the new school would be problematic, Craft said.

Craft has been discussing matters with Killeen City Manager Ron Olson, and officials from Harker Heights and Bell County for months, he said.

The need for wider roads was not mentioned to the bond steering committee during its meetings, and was not brought up to the KISD board until the Dec. 12 meeting.

At the Nov. 28 Killeen City Council meeting, council members discussed possibly calling for a city bond issue to cover these infrastructure costs.

At Tuesday evening’s KISD board meeting, Craft spoke more confidently about the potential KISD bond issue. The board received the bond steering committee’s recommendation from co-chairmen Bill Kliewer, Brenda Coley and Hal Schiffman. Craft added his thoughts on the process during the presentation.

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KISD bond steering committee meeting

Audience members listen as Killeen Independent School District Superintendent John Craft speaks during the first KISD bond steering committee meeting at Harker Heights High School on Thursday, Nov. 2, 2017.

“This is about how do we best educate all students while moving forward,” Craft said at the meeting.

To that end, the bond steering committee met four times during November to prioritize projects presented by KISD officials.

The bond steering committee’s recommendation includes these projects:

• Renovations to bring existing campuses into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and address security/safety issues.

• New high school to open for the 2022-2023 school year.

• Consolidation of East Ward and West Ward elementary schools with construction of a new East Ward school.

• Consolidation of Pershing Park and Sugar Loaf elementary schools, with partial rezoning of Bellaire Elementary School, and construction of a new Pershing Park school.

• New elementary school to open for the 2022-2023 school year.

• Renovate and expand Clifton Park Elementary School, with partial rezoning of Bellaire Elementary School.

• Renovations to Killeen High School.

“I think the community has the capacity to absorb a bond like this,” Kliewer said at the board meeting Tuesday.

Schiffman confirmed that sentiment. “The priorities were accepted by the group because they made sense.”

KISD board member Carlyle Walton viewed the recommendation as a potential economic plus. “This is the community investing in itself” by bringing a large number of jobs to the district.

Board member Marvin Rainwater voiced his thoughts about the impact on the district’s transportation system, which continues to be short-staffed on bus drivers, currently having 40 bus driver vacancies, according to Abbott.

Craft was unable to answer Rainwater’s question about whether the current KISD transportation department could handle the growth. “We haven’t run the analysis yet,” Craft said.

Another question raised at Tuesday’s meeting came from Board Member JoAnn Purser. She suggested the bond issue might be split into pieces, so voters could choose their preferred projects, rather than an all-or-nothing proposal.

Bond steering committee co-chair Brenda Coley responded that the committee had discussed that option, and decided against it.

The board could, in the weeks to come, make changes to the bond steering committee’s recommendations, including splitting up the proposal, adding or eliminating projects.

Craft, when asked how the bond issue will be presented to the public, said information will be provided to civic organizations in the district, on the school campuses, and via town hall meetings. He did not specifically address the types of materials to be used, or the cost.

As for the essential cooperation with the city of Killeen on infrastructure, Craft said, “I don’t build the roads.”

Information on the potential bond issue is available on the KISD bond steering committee website: www.killeenisdbsc.org.

254-501-7568 | jferraro@kdhnews.com

(9) comments

Alvin

This is the personal opinion of this writer.

@eyewatchingu: I do not care for the blowhards that are trying to distract me, and all of you that care what goes on in this town and ultimately in the school district. That said:

Copy: 'After weeks of work, the bond steering committee has presented its recommendation for a $426 million bond issue to the Killeen Independent School District board of trustees, but the process of getting the bond issue on the May ballot is not finished.'
Continuation of copy: 'A marketing strategy will be developed by KISD administrators during the coming week, with the help of architect Huckabee, Inc., according to the bond process calendar. Before the first committee meeting to discuss a bond, Huckabee entered into a contract with KISD that runs from Oct. 25, 2017, to May 5, 2018, to handle “bond planning and community engagement” with the cost from $45,000 to $49,000, below the $50,000 threshold at which bids are required. These fees will be paid from the Killeen ISD general fund, according to Terry Abbott, KISD chief communications officer. Taxpayers’ money makes up the general fund that will be used to promote the bond taxpayers would fund.' End of copy.

What marketing strategy???? I do not see anything but what would seem to be a gift to architect Huckabee, Inc. of $49,000 dollars. To me and what I am used to is a set of preliminary drawings complete with a plan and cost estimate that would include a time line. This then would be what I would consider as 'going to the client', which in this case is 'the citizens of Killeen'.

But what do we get, we get another plan that was kept in the dark:

Copy: 'Before the first committee meeting to discuss a bond, Huckabee entered into a contract with KISD that runs from Oct. 25, 2017, to May 5, 2018, to handle “bond planning and community engagement” with the cost from $45,000 to $49,000, below the $50,000 threshold at which bids are required.' End of copy.

It is sure nice for the citizenry of Killeen to be 'kept in the dark' by this school board, I think that this is called a version of 'transparency' that the preceding paragraph alludes to, going out and keeping just under what the threshold limits are.

And now the high school which is quoted at $171 million whereas it was quoted as being between $150 Million and up to the $171 million threshold limit. And it would not surprise me if this now quoted $171 million would be increased by a factor of say 10 to 25 percent.

But we are not here to raise the question of 'how much money are we as citizens going to fork over for the city's $41.1 million in roadways and bridges and the school district's $426 million for schools, the question, in my personal opinion, is 'why is this city and this school district attempting to elude the citizenry of this city into voting for this, what I deem as, 'a mistake in judgment by this city and by this school district.

It seems to me that this is a classical mistake in which power brokers often see themselves as 'the only ones who know what is good for the citizen'. In this case, I see this as 'the downfall of the power brokers.

@dailymajor: I will repeat my personal opinion of: ' In my opinion, there has been a concerted effort 'to deceive and withhold information', and that was information that, in this personal opinion of this writer, was in the same old avenue concerning 'Transparency of information that was of the needs to build schools, build roadways, and the requirements to build bridges to better inform the public of just what was intended'.

@dailymajor: 'I do not use the phrases; "There might be", you "hear", "Can it be", "rumors"... Do you know the meaning of the word "delusional"?

And I still contend, as with the recent writer whose name I forget, but the gist of what this gentleman had to say is, and I paraphrase here: 'We already have a bond issue of millions and you propose this $426 million bond issue which is slatted to raise the individuals home property tax by hundreds of dollars'. Do you people of the school board not know the plight of some of your constituents???? Do you not know, or realize that schools along with the cities are bond by the restraints that should govern the need to raise taxes, again and again????

This city,and it's administrative group, does not seem to get this picture, nor this school board, so I am encouraging all who do not see the plight of this city and this school board, to vote 'NO' on all future bond issues in which this city and this school board want to put forth 'on a vague and incomplete picture as that that is provided to this city now'. I will not support the illusion of building homes outside of the city limits, all 3,750 of them, to which roadways, and a bridge, all to be required in support of this city outside of the city. I will continue to voice my personal opinion to which I say 'vote NO' on these measures.

I think we have enough problems with this city council and this city manager wanting to build without having the means to do so. You take the mayor pro tem Kilpatrick, who 2 years ago was sounding the voice of doom, now it illustrating the financial package that will get us out of this 'monetary drain on this city's resources'.

And I like the thoughts:

Copy: “I think the community has the capacity to absorb a bond like this,” Kliewer said at the board meeting Tuesday.'
And the continuation of copy: 'Board member Marvin Rainwater voiced his thoughts about the impact on the district’s transportation system, which continues to be short-staffed on bus drivers, currently having 40 bus driver vacancies, according to Abbott.'
And continuation of copy: 'Craft was unable to answer Rainwater’s question about whether the current KISD transportation department could handle the growth. “We haven’t run the analysis yet,” Craft said.' End of copy.

This school district has had a continual problem with needing school bus drivers so what makes you think that this problem will be solved????

Copy: 'Another question raised at Tuesday’s meeting came from Board Member JoAnn Purser. She suggested the bond issue might be split into pieces, so voters could choose their preferred projects, rather than an all-or-nothing proposal.' end of copy.

Yes I could concur with Ms. Purser, go fo the compromise in which nothing would be included in the Southern section thereby not requiring any roadways, the bridge. And the high school would be included thereby allotting the money's to the refurbishment of the schools already in the system and bring them up to code.

Yes, something needs to be done and it is not in the works now.

@dailymajor: it is you who are playing the part of the fool if you think that cheap shots and cute tricks will win over the populas. I sorta feel sorry for you in that respect.


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.

eyewatchingu

@Alvin look the biggest Narcissist has once again raisen to champion for the crime lords of Killeen . I wonder do you think he gets paid to come and bully people that speak out against the corruption or do you think he is just a person that that talks out his behind cause his head knows better. LMAO trolling is a form of bullying, it used to silence those that speak out, it used by schools and school kids to control any of those that wish to uses their freedom of speech. Trolling is the new wave of democrats, and BLM?naacp to abuse other mentally.
Hmm I wonder how long will KDHnews allow this man/I assume he is a man, because you know now a days there is over 75 different humans, Guess we need to see a birth cert to see which box is checked. Next Daily Major will want students to have the right with out parents permission to decided what sex they are, and we should teach our children how to be transgender and let our kids share bathrooms with grown men.

VOTE NO and send all the Narcissistic packing, lets get real working people in office, people that work on a budget daily, a budget like the average working man or woman is use to.

49,000 dollars should have been used for teachers, school books and other thigs.

Fact a child learns better on a full stomach, not a building. Fact a child that goes to school on a full belly have better chances at getting help and learning how to use critical thinking.
49,000 could have started a program to feed the children in our school.

Hmm seems a narcissism in our city is so well feed they just assume everyone eats steak and lobster nightly.

Vote No

Btw interesting fact, did you know that Lobster was the poor mans food, until it was over fished. Look it up :) My mom was so right I should have went on jeperody when I had the chance. Haha I m freaking walking fact that went a large high school that was way older then any school in Killeen tx and it also is still going strong today, and turns out more kids in the nation with critical thinking.

Alvin

This is the personal opinion of this writer.

@wyewatchingu: and @SnowWhiteNthe7Thieves: Ya'll are right on the money.

In my opinion, there has been a concerted effort 'to deceive and withhold information', and that was information that, in this personal opinion of this writer, was in the ame old avenue concerning 'Transparency of information that was of the needs to build schools, build roadways, and the requirements to build bridges to better inform the public of just what was intended'.

According to 'KISD administrators, they entered into a contract that was below the threshold of $50,000 dollars, as the contract was let for $49,000 dollars, and this contract was for the period of Oct. 25, 2017 to May 5, 2018. And is of further note that these fees would be paid 'out of the ISD general fund, a fund that is used to promote the bond taxpayers would fund'.

It is also of note that:

Copy: 'Huckabee’s fees were not acknowledged by KISD Superintendent John Craft in a recent question-and-answer with the Herald regarding marketing of the bond issue.'

Continuation of copy: 'During the first week of January, financial and legal consultants will meet with KISD administrators to discuss details of the bond issue, which will be reviewed at the KISD board’s Jan. 9 meeting.' End of copy.

Why was it not 'Transparent' that these entities, in the personal opinion of this writer, sought to withhold and deceive from the general public, just what it was that they colluded, and I use the word, 'colluded', as it appears that this was the intent.

Copy: 'Craft has been discussing matters with Killeen City Manager Ron Olson, and officials from Harker Heights and Bell County for months, he said.' End of copy.

Why was it not known that this city, this county, this school system, 'sought to deceive the residents of Killeen in such a manor'???? This is the only way that I can see to say it, a deception of this magnitude, and our city manager, of all people, who proclaims to be open and above board on matters of this type, has withheld this information from the citizens of Killeen.

Now the cost of the new school is $171 million, the top end of what was quoted before, and you can bet it will raise from there.

Now it is being tied in to 'the need for improved roadways'. Why did they not 'ask the citizens of this city', before venturing into this unknown void????

I'll just cut to the chase and state that 'in my opinion, this has gone too far and the recourse of this matter is to put it on hold until such time as this city council, this school board, can get to the bottom of such ventures.
We no longer can 'trust' this city administrative group, this school board, to be transparent in such a venture.
I urge a 'NO' vote in all matters that pertain to this city and it's school board, and I call on this city council to rectify this situation before any other concerns come to light.
Vote 'NO' on all city encumbrances until this city council can get the matters before it, and I call on our city manager 'to do the job that this city is paying him to do and nothing else'. I do not see this city manager performing to the expectations of the city of Killeen and the city council, a council that, as from the lips of our esteemed city mayor, 'a city council that voted unanimously' on the job that our city manager had been doing. Now it comes to light certain factions have been withheld, the city roadway infrastructure, the schools that are intended to support the 3,750 new homes that are to built just 'outside of' the city limits.
I urge, in my personal opinion, everyone to vote 'NO' on all bond issues until this city gets a handle on these things and starts functioning as a city with a city council that can be 'transparent'.

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

Do you ever, ever get tired of hearing your negative self? Giving your opinion is fine,no matter how twisted it is, but just make sure you get your "facts" correct, which you neglect to do very often.

SnowWhiteNthe7Thieves

There might be a deluge of sexual assault accusations coming. I hear an Austin and a Dallas law firm has a dozen, maybe 2 dozen people (men & women) with complaints. Can it be that employees of certain entities have been forced to perform rather naughty acts during working hours????? Rumors today, tomorrow, who knows? Tick Tock Tick Tock Hickory Dickor Dock

dailymajor

"There might be", you "hear", "Can it be", "rumors"... Do you know the meaning of the word "delusional"?

SnowWhiteNthe7Thieves

Don't believe anything these characters tell you. They have one goal. They want YOUR money, LOTS more of YOUR money to fund their JOURNEY, SCHLECHTY - 2018 KICKIN' IT TOUR. Dig deep, give all you have and give more.

eyewatchingu

All I can say, is Mr Craft oh what webs you weave when you practice to deceive.
From article I quote: Huckabee’s fees were not acknowledged by KISD Superintendent John Craft in a recent question-and-answer with the Herald regarding marketing of the bond issue.

So Citizens of Killeen ask yourself one thing, what else is not being said and hidden.

It seems Killeen should be called the land of narcissistic gas lighters. It seems Killeen has become home to a population of Narcissistic Kings and queens

Vote NO ON THIS BOND, send a message that we the citzens demand the stop of wasteful spending, Vote NO and demand that all these so called leaders are investigated. Its time we clean up Killeen, we need to start with the leaders then we will see less street crime when we get the Crime bosses out of office and in orange jump suits.

dailymajor

narcissistic..the informal meaning of that word is "full of oneself".Does that strike a cord with you?......"when we get the Crime bosses out of office and in orange jump suits."...Just what leaders (crime bosses) need to go to jail, eye? Don't just throw wild accusations, I think we need to know names.

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