Killeen Chamber Supports Local Education Initiative

Published by: Jennifer Hetzel | Published on: 07 Mar, 2018
Killeen Chamber Supports Local Education Initiative

Greater Killeen Chamber of Commerce Endorsement of KISD Bond Issue
 

The Greater Killeen Chamber of Commerce Public Policy Council and Board of Directors voted March 7, 2018 to endorse the passage of both proposed Killeen Independent School District (KISD) bond issues.

Proposition A is in the amount of $235,000,000. Proposition A will address safety, security and accessibility and will provide new schools to accommodate growth.

Proposition B is in the amount of $171,000,000. Proposition B will address the renovation of existing schools and, in some cases, the replacement of existing schools.

Council members and board members cited six general reasons for their support including:
  • Support for the military and Fort Hood
  • Improved school security
  • Cost escalations expected in the future
  • The need to serve a rapidly growing population
  • A competitive tax rate
  • The creation of innovative education models
A more detailed explanation of these reasons can be found below.

  1. Support for the Military
    1. In a recent Memorandum for the National Governors Association dated February 23, the Secretaries of the Army, Navy and Air Force state that quality of schools will be a significant factor in future basing decisions.
    2. Killeen High School is badly antiquated and must be updated. Not only is it a flagship KISD facility, located adjacent to Buckley Stadium, it is the school at which the children of Fort Hood Commanders, who reside on Fort Hood, are assigned.
  2. School Security
    1. At present, KISD must use portable classrooms to meet demand. Without this bond issue, the number of portable classrooms will increase and, in some cases, may require space in excess of that available at some schools.
    2. These portables do not contribute to school security.
  3. Rising Costs
    1. Financial advisors tell us to expect up to four interest rate increases this year. That being the case, we can save money by giving KISD the ability to act while interest rates are low.
    2. Construction costs will continue to rise. In fact, the historic cost of construction has increased approximately nine percent per year. Specifically, ten years ago, a new high school was estimated to cost approximately $50 million. Today, that cost is approximately $170 million.
  4. Serve a Growing Population
    1. The last bond issue occurred in 2002. At that time, the combined population of Killeen and Harker Heights was 114,995. Today, it is 173,017, an increase of just over fifty percent. During that period, KISD student enrollment has increased 13,711 students.
    2. Given our location and other factors, there is every reason to believe that the population of KISD will continue to grow.
    3. This bond issue will meet immediate needs plus a very conservative one percent growth rate. The reality is that the growth rate has historically exceeded one percent.
    4. A new high school is needed now. There is the very real possibility that when a new high school opens, it could do so at full capacity.
  5. Value for the Dollar
    1. The approval of this bond issue will result in a projected tax rate of $1.26 per $100 valuation. At that rate, KISD will have the second lowest tax rate in the region. That rate will be $0.34 lower than the highest tax rate in the region.
    2. At $1.26 per $100 valuation, KISD will continue to have a lower rate than comparable districts around the state.
  6. An Education Model for the Future
    1. KISD, acting in collaboration with Central Texas College and Texas A&M Central Texas, focusing on STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) curriculum and utilizing dual credit opportunities, has created a new education model that, if implemented correctly, results in students earning a bachelors degree for approximately $18,000. This capability produces positive economic benefits for our region and state, creates economic development advantages for our community and positions us as a state leader in education innovation.