MONEY MATTERS

Katy ISD eyes 2020 bond election, gives Gregorski raise

JULIE SILVA - SPECIAL TO THE KATY TIMES
Posted 1/20/20

During its regular Jan. 21 meeting, the Katy ISD Board of Trustees voted to form a committee relating to a possible November bond election and gave KISD Superintendent Ken Gregorski an extended …

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MONEY MATTERS

Katy ISD eyes 2020 bond election, gives Gregorski raise

Posted

During its regular Jan. 21 meeting, the Katy ISD Board of Trustees voted to form a committee relating to a possible November bond election and gave KISD Superintendent Ken Gregorski an extended contract that included a raise.

Bonding matters

Katy ISD is forming an advisory committee to discuss a possible bond election in November as the district attempts to keep up with enrollment growth.

One projection by Katy Independent School District consultants estimate 94,579 students by 2024 and 104,575 by 2029. Currently, the district has nearly 84,000 students, and it adds about 2,500 each year.

“Over the past 15-20 years, we’ve been talking about extreme growth over in the southwest quadrant of the district. We still see that, although we’re running out of territory down there,” said Ted Vierling, assistant superintendent of operations. “And now what’s coming, of course, is the growth over in the northwest quadrant.”

Estimates show Katy ISD hitting the 100,000-student milestone in 2027.

Without a bond, Vierling showed the board estimates that increase Katy High School’s enrollment from 2,697 students in 2020 to 4,544 in 2029. Paetow, the district’s newest high school, is projected to grow from 2,672 students in 2020 to 7,258 in 2029.

Andrea Grooms, chief communications officer, said the district has developed a habit of issuing bonds every three to four years. Most recently, $609.2 million was issued in 2017 and $748 million was issued in 2014. The last two bonds, Grooms emphasized, were issued without a tax rate increase.

The advisory committee is expected to include as many as 150 people, but any member of the community will be permitted to watch the presentations and deliberations. The committee will look at the potential need for capital projects and costs before coming up with a recommendation for the KISD Board of Trustees.

It will include 16 teachers, four principals and six students. Each trustee is expected to appoint three members, and another 25 members will be from previous bond committees. The remainder of the committee members will be selected from applications from the community. The committee’s charter calls for members to have diverse skills, backgrounds, cultures and geographic regions.

Applications for the committee will be available on the district’s website beginning Feb. 3, and the deadline to apply is Feb. 17. To be eligible, applicants must live within the district’s boundaries, attend a minimum of 10 meetings and commit to share information about the committee’s process with their affiliated organizations and networks.

The first meeting is scheduled for April 7, and a series of meetings will be held through July and into August, if needed, from 5:30-9 p.m.

Aug. 17 is the last day the district can call an election.

Super salary

Katy ISD trustees were filled with praise as they voted to give Superintendent Ken Gregorski a salary increase and a longer contract after his annual evaluation at Monday’s board meeting.

Gregorski’s salary was increased by 8% to $324,000 and his contract with Katy ISD was extended from an end date of June 2022 to an end date of December 2025 in a 6-0 vote with trustee Susan Gesoff absent.

Maria Corrales DiPetta, district spokeswoman, said the increase was aligned with the increase teachers saw this school year.

Board members took turns highlighting Gregorski’s enthusiasm, knowledge and sense of humor.

“And the one thing ... that most impressed me, though, is your love of our kids,” said trustee Bill Lacy. “Your love for the kids in the community, the kids at Katy ISD, is shown every single day.”

Duke Keller and Lance Redmon, the board’s newest trustees elected in May, both said they appreciated that Gregorski is always available with quick responses whenever they have questions, even during holidays or at inconvenient times.

Gregorski took the position in January 2019 after serving as deputy superintendent under Lance Hindt. Hindt resigned in May 2018 amid accusations that he plagiarized his doctoral dissertation. Gregorski served as acting superintendent for the remainder of the year as the board postponed a search for a replacement while they debated the process. In December, a majority voted to seek applications internally and named Gregorski to the seat.

Trustee Ashley Vann has served for six years with three superintendents, and she noted the “unusual way” Gregorski stepped into the position.

“This district, these students, teachers, administration didn’t skip a beat, didn’t lack for anything, and nor did this board,” Vann said. “I appreciate your steadfast leadership.”

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