To the Editor:
Whether one was pro-bond or anti-bond, it is safe to say that questions on the affordability of the $265 million Killeen Independent School District bond in this never-before-seen situation are appropriate.
I encourage everyone to read the just-released Texas Monthly story, “How Will the Oil Bust and the Coronavirus Affect the Texas Budget?” to understand a short history of budget challenges in Texas.
Texas revenues will take a hit on all sides: oil/natural gas production taxes down, sales taxes down, hotel occupancy taxes down ... it is not inappropriate to ponder the question posed early on in the Bond Steering Committee meetings: “Will Texas continue to pay school funding from the state budget at the levels assumed?” The only honest answer is “we don’t know.”
Now is the time for the KISD school board to stop the bond until we fully understand the economic fallout for Central Texas families. It should add an agenda item for the March 31 board meeting so a full board decision can be made; it should not be left as a superintendent decision. A timely decision must be made so a regional government collaboration can go forward on the election at large.
Let the 2018 bond projects, already in our tax calculations, complete before more taxes are added. Very shortly after we read this, we’ll receive tax appraisal notices that are based on Jan 1, 2020, valuations. So much has happened since then and even this tax burden will be too much for too many. Let’s not add more taxes until we’re back on our feet.
We should not add to our uncertainty with additional tax burdens, no matter how well-intentioned they may be by those who proposed and approved them.
Let’s add certainty where we can — defer this bond for a year while we address our ongoing challenges.