Killeen ISD committee recommends $426 million bond to school board

UPDATE: After consideration, the Killeen ISD Bond Steering Committee, comprised of parents and community leaders, voted Thursday night to recommend that the school board consider a $426 million bond that would be used to build and renovate schools. A formal report and recommendation will be made at a school board meeting on Dec. 12. From there, it will be up to the school board to choose whether or not to put the issue on the May 2018 ballot, where the public would get the final say on the matter.

Earlier Thursday Night:

Most Killeen ISD voters supported an up to $500 million bond package that would build new schools and renovate existing facilities, according to a new survey released by the district Thursday.

The telephone survey polled 401 registered voters and was conducted Nov. 16-26 by Austin-based Baselice & Associates, which said the survey had a margin of error of 4.9%.

The research showed 68-percent of voters thought Killeen ISD needed more schools and classrooms to keep up with enrollment, which surged beyond 44,000 students this year -- making Killeen the 26th largest school district in Texas. Today, all four of the district's high schools were near or over their student capacities, according to district spokesperson Terry Abbott.

The survey found 86-percent of voters favored repairing older schools, and 83-percent supported using bond money to improve campus safety. When asked about using bond money to build a fifth high school to ease overcrowding, 80-percent of voters supported the idea -- while only 18-percent opposed the concept.

There was a caveat, however. When voters realized their property taxes would increase by roughly $15 per month under the plan, respondents said they opposed the idea by a margin of 60-percent to 35-percent. But, when asked again after hearing what could be accomplished with that money, many voters changed their minds and supported the up to $500 million bond idea by a margin of 57-percent to 38-percent when asked again about their positions at the end of the call.

The results of the survey were shared with a group of parents and community leaders Thursday night. That group will make a recommendation about whether to pursue the massive bond and what projects should be prioritized in the bond during a Dec. 12 school board meeting. From there, the school board will have until February to decide whether or not to call a bond election, which would be scheduled for May 5, 2018.

© 2017 KCEN-TV


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