Skip to comments.Katy ISD won't give up on bonds Despite rejection by district voters
Posted on 05/15/2006 5:29:56 AM PDT by cbkaty
After Katy ISD voters' rejection of a $261.5 million bond proposal to build new schools and renovate aging facilities, officials say they will regroup this week to determine the next step toward passing a future bond issue.
The district's referendum was among the elections held throughout the Houston area on Saturday to fund everything from new school construction to jail expansions and libraries.
By law, the Katy school district cannot put another bond issue before voters until November.
"Our biggest concern is that it puts us behind in the construction schedule to accommodate new students," school district spokesman Steve Stanford said.
The defeat of the Katy bond issue, by a vote of 3,990 to 3,528, is not the first time in recent years that voters in a high-growth school district turned down a bond proposal.
In February 2003, Fort Bend school district voters defeated a proposed $399.4 million bond issue to deal with an expanding student population.
After the close loss, Fort Bend school board members and school district officials formulated a smaller proposal that was about $100 million less than the one that failed. The measure was approved in November. Some projects included in that bond issue are now close to being completed, such as the William B. Travis High School, which is set to open in August.
The Katy school bond measure was opposed by a local watchdog group. Chris Cottrell, a member of the Katy Citizen Watchdogs, said members are willing to consider supporting an alternative line-item bond issue in November.
"We sent a strong message to the administration that we are not just a handful of local citizens," Cottrell said. "People are tired of a continued policy of fiscal irresponsibility by our elected officials."
Forrest Bjerkaas, a Katy parent who campaigned for the bonds' passage, said he was disappointed in the vote.
"Children in the district will suffer. Permanent construction will be delayed about a year and the district will have to fall back on portable buildings for the 3,000 new students expected next year," Bjerkaas said.
District officials on Saturday initially announced, inaccurately, that the bond proposition had been approved and that Neal Howard had won the Position 7 trustee race. After the watchdog group questioned the results, votes were retallied, showing that a member of the watchdog group, Tom Law, won the trustee race and the bond measure had failed.
School officials said the discrepancy occurred because early-voting ballots were mistakenly counted twice.
Law defeated Howard and Gregory Gibbs by garnering 2,609 votes to 2,539 for Howard and 937 for Gibbs.
In the Position 6 race, incumbent Robert Shaw defeated watchdog member and bond opponent Fred Hink, 3,415 votes to 2,891.
Jail expansion for Fort Bend Also on Saturday, a $130 million bond issue for Fort Bend County easily passed. The bonds will pay for a jail expansion, new libraries and expansion and improvements in other county buildings.
Officials have said they don't expect a tax rate increase because of extra revenue from increased property appraisals.
The new jail tower made up the bulk of the bond proposal. Voters approve spending $85 million to increase the county's jail capacity. Sheriff Milton Wright said he was confident the measure would pass.
"We have been going around the county, making presentations, answering questions. Generally, everything we heard was positive," Wright said on Sunday. Wright said construction may start before the end of the year.
"We have a lot of planning to do before then," he said.
Wright said once construction begins it should take anywhere from 26 to 36 months to complete.
Voters also approved $24.5 million for two new libraries and renovations to another. An additional $20.5 million is earmarked to expand and relocate several other county offices.
What dolts...their biggest concern should be that the VOTERS in their community voted NO....to building the "Luxury Palaces" called public schools.... Steel and concrete create the same learning space as marble, granite, bricks & mortar and inlaid Italian tilework.........
Let us not forget that each one of these new students have tax-paying parents.... KISD would have you believe that these kids showed up with empty pockets.
KISD parents...I know you are out there!
We're in Cy-Fair ISD. Have you seen the monstrosity that they built on Barker-Cypress? The athletic stadium looks like it belongs at a college. Congrats to Katy residents for dodging the bullet (at least temporarily).
I am surprised the vote failed. Signs all over our neighborhood with VOTE YES on them.
Incidentally, has anyone seen the Seven Lakes web site? School is HUGE.
Is that the school that opens this fall?
Yes... One cannot miss it... I am certain one can see it from the moon!
The TAX & SPEND group will not give up or give in... They'll be back after our wallets in November... The good news is we can beat em... They know it, so they will use different tactics....
One must take notice that the initial vote count was in favor of the counters....GRIN....until the opposition demanded a recount..
Are you curious about what our Superintendent thinks about appraisal cap? Well, there is a very disturbing story that appeared in the Lone Star Times last year (March 23, 2005). We have put the story under the In The News tab on the Web site. Scroll down to the very bottom of the In The News page; its the very last story shown.
Watchdog Charter Member and Candidate for Trustee Position 6 had this to say about the story: The story outlines what our superintendent is up to. There are two ways that taxes can be raised. One is the old fashioned way: raise the rates. The other is by raising our property appraisals. It seems Superintendent Merrell is running out of money to fund his operation so he is opposed to appraisal caps. It isnt enough that our Board has raised our taxes to the highest in the state. They want more!
This election is all about whether we want to pursue a liberal tax and spend policy or whether we want to hold our elected officials to a higher standard. We must turnout the largest vote in KISD history to shoot down the irresponsible bond and put two fiscal conservatives on the Board.
Fred Hink/Watchdog Charter Member & Trustee Candidate Position 6
Thanks for posting the link.