To the Editor:
There is a tax time-bomb about to explode on the Killeen ISD taxpayers. The rush to have this second in three years bond is to ensure its resulting tax increase is the “fuse” and not the “shrapnel” on the back end of other near-certain tax increases.
This is all about a race to the taxpayer wallet and KISD wants this bond, on a BSC rubber-stamped wave of “school safety” and “it’s for the kids” to be taxed upon the citizens before other tax increases on the horizon become visible, for once the citizens see those later tax hikes, passage of the bond gets much harder, if not impossible.
It is no surprise, at least it should not have been, that military-related kids are less a percentage of our student population. This year we will breach the 35% threshold and the weaning off Federal Impact Aid commences.
Impact Aid makes up over 12% of the budget (roughly $48M of a $375M budget, as presented at the BSC); over the next five years, this aid drops to $16.7M. Over the last five years, the ISD has been annually allocating from this aid approximately $18M for new construction, meaning that about $30M per year is for day-to-day, year-to-year costs like teacher salaries that are the majority of the Maintenance and Operation Budget (and tax rate.)
How does this Impact Aid gap get filled? I believe the words by the Superintendent were “we (the ISD) cannot raise taxes enough to make up the $30M.” Wow.
I’ll echo the words of Mr. Miller in his recent Herald editorial. It’s time to pump the brakes. This school board must demand and publish to the taxpayers a full 5-year estimate of the overall tax rate for both M&O and debt service. To do otherwise, to sneak the bond to a vote while times are good, before the taxpayers clearly see the clouds on the horizon, is just plain wrong.
Howard “Scot” Arey
Bond Steering Committee member