Voting began Oct. 18 on Royal ISD’s proposed $99.5 million bond package which RISD’s administration says is necessary for the district to face oncoming rapid growth in the area to the …
Voting began Oct. 18 on Royal ISD’s proposed $99.5 million bond package which RISD’s administration says is necessary for the district to face oncoming rapid growth in the area to the west of Katy. Planning for the bond package was done by a community group that reached a unanimous decision to move forward with the bond, RISD Superintendent Rick Kershner said during an Oct. 14 community luncheon.
“(They went on) some facility tours – most of that’s at the junior high, looking at some of our aging facilities there,” Kershner said. “You know, the bones of that building are really good – the structure. It’s just some of the infrastructure that (needs refurbishment).”
Kershner said a new junior high campus and an additional Pre-K through elementary campus would be built if the bonds – which are projected not to increase the district’s property tax rates – are approved by voters in the election. Additionally, renovations would be funded for the Royal STEM Academy, current elementary and junior high, the Royal Early Childhood Center and the RISD Transportation Center. While the basic structure of those facilities is intact, Kershner said the HVAC, plumbing and other utility items throughout all of the district’s campuses, except Royal High School, require repair or refurbishment. Additionally, the expansion with two additional campuses is necessary to meet anticipated growth coming to the district.
According to documentation provided by RISD, the district has new students coming in from at least 10 new housing developments in and around Brookshire and Pattison. Examples of that include part of Freeman Ranch and Crystal Lakes. Additionally, Kershner said, about 4,000 acres of land are expected to be developed between Katy and Brookshire which will provide both workplaces and homes to draw additional population to the district.
In a recent presentation, Kershner said that the district has already grown this school year by 12% in comparison to the 2020-21 school year. Overall, thousands of new homes are expected to bring more than thousands of new students to the district in the next few years as Brookshire, Pattison and unincorporated portions of Waller County are developed.
Financially, Kershner said the district is in a good position to pay back any bond financing authorized by voters. Additional taxpayers such as warehouse businesses on Old Highway 90 and in subdivisions throughout the district will allow the district to lower the tax rate slightly for area residents, he said.
Before the bond, the district charged a total tax rate of $1.32 per $100 in property value; however, given increased property values and debt the district has paid off early, district documents said, the rate will be lowered by a penny to $1.31 per $100 valuation whether the bond passes or not. Additionally, homeowners 65 and older are eligible for a homestead exemption which will reduce their tax bills. Those interested in the exemption can contact the Waller County Appraisal District at 979-921-0060 or visit www.waller-cad.org.
Early voting runs through Oct. 29 and Election Day is Nov. 2. Additional information on the bond is available at www.royal-isd.net/page/bond.
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