Killeen ISD advisers Tuesday night said the district should ask taxpayers for $265 million to build more schools.

That was the upshot of the fourth meeting of residents selected by the school district to serve as an advisory panel. A total of 53 votes were tallied of committee members who were polled for their opinions, and the vote was 50-3 in favor of presenting a recommendation to the board of trustees for two bond proposals that will total $265 million.

Meanwhile, the district will use existing funds for some projects that had been part of the bond discussion, Superintendent John Craft announced Tuesday.

Rather than waiting for the voters, KISD will use strategic facilities funds for the following projects:

-KISD will go ahead with a stadium upgrade at the new high school

-KISD will use existing money to build one new middle school and one new elementary school.

Not all members of the bond steering committee had been in favor of these projects.

Neither of those choices will go to the district’s voters.

FUND BEING DEPLETED

Those projects will deplete the strategic facilities fund, which has drawn money from the federal Impact Aid, which is expected to be cut in half over the next few years.

Craft said that the district and the board of trustees have talked about using $10 million from the strategic facilities fund to increase the capacity of the athletic stadium at the new high school in south Killeen that will open in the fall of 2022 to 4,500 seats. The district would also upgrade other facilities at the new high school’s stadium to accommodate 6A high school football, according to Craft. That would put the remaining balance of the strategic facilities fund at around $108.2 million.

Craft suggested using $109 million from the strategic facilities fund to pay for one new middle school and one new elementary school. Both had been part of the original discussions for the 2020 bond.

According to the district’s presentation from the meeting, the district will have around $118 million in its strategic facilities fund in fiscal year 2021-2022. That is the amount of money that will be in the strategic facilities fund after all of the 2018 bond funds are expended, according to Megan Bradley, the district’s chief financial officer.

NEXT BOND STEPS

As proposed, the potential bond would include the construction of two new elementary schools, the rebuilding of Harker Heights and Peebles elementary schools, the renovation of Ellison High School and upgrades to the athletic stadiums at Shoemaker, Ellison and Harker Heights high schools.

The next step is for bond steering committee chairmen Brenda Coley, Bill Kliewer and Hal Schiffman to present the plan to the Board of Trustees for the Killeen Independent School District on Jan. 14. If the board approves a bond measure, their version of the measure would then go before voters who live in the district in May 2020.

The board would have until Feb. 14 to place the bond on the election ballot for May 2020.

This bond proposal comes two years after two bonds totaling $426 million were approved by voters.

On Tuesday, the district also presented results of its survey about the bond, conducted over the phone with Killeen residents.

There were 400 participants in the survey, 112 of them were from south and central Killeen, 101 were from east Killeen, 102 were from west Killeen and 85 were from north and central Killeen, according to the district’s presentation Tuesday night.

The survey asked the question, “Would you vote for or against the issuance of $175 million in bonds for constructing, renovating and equipping schools with the levying of a property tax thereof?” Around 55% of participants were at least somewhat in favor of the bond while around 37% were against it. About 7% were unsure. That vote was taken before specific information on what the bond would pay for was provided. After the surveyor explained what the bond would take care of around 67% of people were at least somewhat in favor of the bond, 31% were against it and around 2% were unsure.

254-501-7464 | hking@kdhnews.com

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