A discussion about the possibility of holding a potential bond election in May 2018 will be a part of the meeting agenda during the Killeen Independent School District’s school board meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday night at KISD headquarters on 200 N. WS Young Drive.
KISD said the meeting will be a workshop meeting and not a regular action meeting, so the board will discuss the issues but will not vote on the proposals.
This is the first time in 15 years the school district has called a bond election for school construction. KISD said the district has managed its budget efficiently and has been conservative with spending, and as a result the district has been able to build and repair schools in recent years with existing funds.
“We’ve made good, careful use of the taxpayers’ money and are very proud that we have been able to build new schools and make renovations and repairs at other schools for 15 years with existing funds,” KISD Superintendent John Craft said. “We have not had to ask the public to approve a school construction bond issue since 2002, and we have the lowest property tax rate of any school district in the area.”
Voters will be asked to approve the sale of bonds to finance school construction, renovations and repairs.
Craft will talk to the district’s Board of Trustees about the possible May 5, 2018 election .The school board will be asked to use $82,500 from the current facilities budget to remove and replace the crumbling and potentially hazardous retaining wall next to the ballfield at Pershing Park Elementary by next Spring.
The wall is currently wrapped in fencing to protect students, staff and neighborhood residents.
With enrollment surging past 44,300 in 2017 and expected to continue growing by at least one percent each year, according to the district. Craft said a bond issue will be needed for the district to build anew high school, other facilities and potentially make renovations at some of the district’s older schools.
“But as our enrollment grows with more and more families coming to KISD for our excellent educational opportunities and resources, we must now seriously consider asking our voters to approve bonds to provide for the construction and renovation of schools and other infrastructure needs,” Craft said.
Pershing Park and 10 other Killeen ISD schools are more than 50-years-old. Manor Middle School is 46-years-old.
The district said many of the schools need renovations and repairs that could be funded in part by a bond issue.
The board will be asked to vote on the retaining wall proposal at its regular meeting on Nov. 14. School board members will not be expected to make a final decision on whether to call a bond election to build new schools, facilities and renovate others until February 2018.
A Bond Steering Committee has begun organizing by the KISD administration in preparation for the decision. A timeline for the committee to hold meetings this fall to gather input from the community will also be discussed during Tuesday night’s meeting.
The district said once the needs are detailed with the help from the data from the public meetings, the school board could then consider calling the bond election.
Craft said the district will aggressively seek out public input in assessing the facilities needs in preparation for a potential bond.
“We must and we will work closely with the public to determine what needs to be done to give our children the best school facilities,” Craft said. “The public schools of Killeen want and need the involvement of our community. It’s a partnership.”