MONEY

Tuesday night’s Killeen City Council meeting revealed a shocker that could impact the Killeen Independent School District’s potential bond issue.

The City Council announced it has plans to propose a bond issue of its own, on the same May 5 ballot as the proposed KISD bond issue.

KISD Superintendent John Craft gave a presentation to the City Council about the potential district bond issue, prior to attending the KISD Board of Trustees workshop later that evening.

“City Manager Ron Olson and I have discussed the potential of a new high school program, as well as future middle school program to be constructed along Chaparral (Road), just south of the police station,” Craft said. “We continue to work collaboratively with our city and county partners to ensure infrastructure and forward planning is in place to support future educational facilities. This is an important part of strategically planning for the future growth of our communities and school district.”

The possibility of two bond issues has not appeared on recent KISD Board of Trustees agendas, or been discussed at previous KISD board or bond steering committee meetings.

KISD Board President Corbett Lawler, while aware that Craft had been in conversation with representatives of both Killeen and Harker Heights, said Wednesday, “This is the first I’ve heard that it (a city bond) would be on the same date as ours.”

Carlyle Walton, KISD board member, also was not aware of Craft’s presentation to the Killeen City Council or the prospect of a Killeen City bond.

“It’s news to me,” he said on Wednesday. Walton’s intention is to “try to understand the rationale behind the entire process.”

Another key question should be answered at Thursday night’s bond steering committee meeting, as well: what types of KISD residents were contacted to participate in the community survey, asking questions about the potential KISD bond issue. Was it just residents on Fort Hood or downtown Killeen or certain neighborhoods or a true random sampling?

The survey was conducted by Baselice & Associates of Austin. A random sampling of residents was contacted by land line and cell phone to participate in the survey, school officials.

How many residents were polled is another question that should be answered at the meeting when the survey results are presented.

KISD paid Baselice $26,490 for conducting the survey.

The bond steering committee will also review the work done at the Nov. 16 meeting to prioritize a list of proposed projects.

The committee used a 0-5 ranking system, with 5 being the highest priority. The highest priority projects — with a score of 4.0 or higher — total nearly $500 million.

KISD bond projects

Project Ranking Cost
Security, disabilities access renovations 5 To be determined
New high school (Open 2022) 4.9 $150-171 million
New school consolidate East/West Ward ES 4.7 $39-$45 million
New Pershing Park ES, consolidate Sugar Loaf, part of Bellaire 4.6 $44-$52 million
Elementary School #36 (Open 2022) 4.3 $43-$45 million
Clifton Park ES renovation/Bellaire ES consolidation 4.3 $44-$52 million
Middle School #15 (Open 2026) 4.1 $52-$70 million
Killeen High School renovation 4 $44-$52 million
Peebles ES renovation/expansion 3.9 $44-$52 million
Harker Heights Elementary renovation/expansion 3.8 $44-$52 million
Elementary School #37 (Open 2025) 3.8 $48-$58 million
Elementary School #38 (Open 2027) 3.4 $51-$65 million
Gateway HS/MS renovation 1.4 $44-$52 million

If the bond issue was approved for that amount, taxpayers in the district owning a home assessed at $150,000 with a homestead exemption would see a property tax increase of approximately $209, according to calculations presented at the Nov. 9 meeting by RBC Capital of Dallas.

The bond steering committee agenda includes a large-group discussion. The topics to be considered are finalizing the project prioritization, reaching consensus on the projects to be included on the bond issue and the amount which will be requested from taxpayers.

The bond steering committee’s recommendation will be presented to the KISD Board of Trustees at their Dec. 12 meeting.

Information from the bond steering committee’s previous meetings is available at the website www.killeenisdbsc.org. The public may also submit questions and comments about the potential bond issue on the website.

Thursday’s bond steering committee meeting will begin at 6 p.m. at Roy J. Smith Middle School, 6000 Brushy Creek Drive. The meeting is open to the public.

254-501-7568 | jferraro@kdhnews.com

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