Early voting for the spring elections begins April 19 and runs through April 27. Locally, not only are the city of Katy and Katy ISD have options on the ballot for their governing boards – they …
Early voting for the spring elections begins April 19 and runs through April 27. Locally, not only are the city of Katy and Katy ISD electing new members for their governing boards – they are also both putting forward bonds to fund city and district improvements. Katy’s bond package includes two propositions worth $6 million while Katy ISD’s bond package comes out at $676 million. Both government entities have said the bonds will not increase their respective tax rates.
Katy ISD Superintendent Ken Gregorski and CFO Christopher Smith have been making their way around to multiple venues to educate voters regarding the district’s bond packages. On April 1 they attended a meeting with the Rotary Club of Katy and later attended an April 8 event to discuss school finance and the bonds at a forum hosted by the Katy Area Chamber of Commerce.
In both presentations, Gregorski and Smith explained that the district is seeking approval for the bonds to address growth in the northwestern portion of the district and to upgrade or repair aging facilities to ensure students at all campuses have equal facilities. Bonds, if approved by voters, will also help the district improve technology across the district and build new facilities as needed.
Proposition A for the KISD bond package includes about $591.4 million for new schools, purchase of land to build those campuses on, renovation and expansion for aging campuses, safety and security improvements, new buses and building component replacements such as HVAC systems.
KISD’s Proposition B is a roughly $59.8 million bond to replace and upgrade campus technology. Gregorski noted that, after a year of COVID-19 prompting remote learning and a possible fully remote high school campus on the horizon, technology will be vital for student success moving forward.
“We wouldn’t do our retrofits on schedule (without the bond),” Gregorski said. “About every five to six years, go into every school, take all the technology out and put new technology in. How long does your iPhone last? Mine, I burn out. Every couple of years, I’m looking for another one – not by choice but because I tend to (hit their life expectancy.)”
Proposition C is a roughly $13.8 million bond package that would pay for a natatorium – competition swimming pool – at High School No. 10 which is expected to be built in the next few years to relieve overcrowding that would occur at other campuses if the new campus isn’t built. Gregorski said the item is separate on the ballot due to new state regulations that require large sports facilities to be separate measures on the ballot. However, Gregorski said he feels it is important to put a natatorium at the school to ensure all of the district’s campuses offer the same opportunities for students.
Proposition D is the smallest of the district’s bond measures at about $11.3 million for repairs and remodeling at campuses and athletic facilities across the district that are aging.
In contrast, the city of Katy’s bond package is simpler and comes in at a much lower overall price tag of $6 million broken into two bonds.
The city’s Proposition A is a $1.8 million public safety bond that would reimburse the city for at least $200,000 for the cost of repairs to the city’s Fire Station One. It would also have additional funding for emergency-related items such as a facility that would allow the city to better maintain firefighting apparatus.
Proposition B for the city comes in at $4.2 million and is set to assist the city in developing its parks and overall walkability.
According to Katy City Planner Anas Garfaoui, Proposition B – if approved by voters – will allow the city to plan, design and construct a parks administration building, upgrade parks throughout the city, develop trails and paths that could improve walkability citywide, and supplement construction of all of those projects that are not included in the parks administration facility.
Editor's note: The online version of this article is correct; however, in the print version that went out in the April 15 paper, the article incorrectly states that neither bond is expected to pass. That should have read, "Neither bond proposition is expected to raise its municipality's tax rate."
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