Keller ISD officials forming bond advisory committee

01/28/2014 11:46 AM

01/28/2014 11:47 AM

Keller district officials are seeking residents to be part of a committee to study a possible November bond election, the first for the district in more than five years.

Hudson Huff, director of planning and construction, said administrators would convene a committee with about 32 members in February to begin looking at facility and instructional needs.

The last KISD bond election in 2008 had mixed results. A proposition passed that funded Ridgeview Elementary, Timberview Middle School, and the Keller Early Learning Center, along with upgrades to athletics, fine arts, security and technology. A second proposition to fund another athletic stadium failed.

From the late 1990s to the mid-2000s, the Keller district grew by more than 1,000 students a year. Twenty-three of Keller’s 39 campuses were built between 2000 and 2011. Voters passed bonds in 2000, 2005 and 2006. A 2004 bond election failed.

The big difference this time is no tax rate increase will be needed. Due to growth in tax values, the Keller school district can raise close to $143 million in capital improvement funds on the current tax rate for bond debt, currently at the state cap of 50 cents per $100 of assessed value.

Potential items for a 2014 bond issue would be another elementary school, more capacity for booming pre-kindergarten programs and a career and technical education center.

Bond committee members will be drawn from residents who have completed the district’s Community Ambassadors program, previous bond oversight committees, parents from schools across the district, teachers, students and community leaders.

Superintendent Randy Reid said, “We want to make sure all areas are represented.”

Committee members will begin by looking at demographic projections and facilities and program needs, then study district finances and priorities, evaluate options for bond projects, and finalize a list of projects to be considered by the school board, Huff said.

The committee’s work should be completed by early June so that officials have time to develop the bond package in time for trustees to call the election in August, 90 days before the November election date, Reid said.

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