Karnes City school board calls $45M bond election
by Bain Serna
Feb 20, 2014 | 159 views | 0 0 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print
KARNES CITY – During the Feb. 10 regular meeting, the Karnes City Independent School District (KCISD) Board of Trustees approved the calling of a bond election for the amount of $45 million, for the purpose of expanding the district facilities with new campuses and additions.

The board heard a presentation from Cletus Bianchi, a representative of the Community Facility Advisory Committee. The committee was formed and appointed this past August in order to explore the current state of KCISD facilities, and to give a community perspective in making any recommendations to the board regarding the district facilities.

“There were three primary concerns that we came up with,” said Bianchi as he addressed the board. “The first one is that student growth, specifically at the elementary school, is rapidly expanding. Of course, if it starts at the elementary school it bubbles up into the secondary schools that we have…The other problems we’ve encountered is that the high school was built in 1960 and is beginning to experience some structural problems…Finally, the junior high has some maintenance issues that will require attention in the not too distant future.”

Increasing enrollment and aging facilities are the core concerns for the district. District officials state that the elementary campus has added 130 students within the past ten years, leading to its current total of 554 students, with almost 60 percent of that growth coming during the last four years. Enrollment projections show the campus to be overcrowded within the next five years, according to district officials.

The high school main campus building is now over 50 years old. While the structural problems and issues with that building are age-appropriate, the concern arose about its functionality and stability being sustained within the next couple of decades.

Bianchi presented to the board various architectural plans and ideas drawn up by Lamarr Womack & Associates Architects for the proposed bond projects of the campus expansions and additions.

“The committee recommended that the board call for a bond election to be held on May 10,” explained Superintendent Jeanette Winn after the meeting. “The funds would be used to build a new primary grade campus on existing KCISD property located on Browne St. (between Broadway and Mayfield), additional classrooms at the junior high, and a new high school. The secondary schools complex would be built on its current site in phases.

“The total cost for all these projects is $45 million. We will be scheduling a community-wide forum in the near future to share more details of the plan and to answer any questions.”

The board also heard a presentation from Victor Quiroga, Jr. of San Antonio-based Southwest Securities, Inc. regarding information on facility improvement financing and bond elections.

Quiroga explained the various taxation and financial considerations of the bond. Quiroga highlighted that 85.31 percent of the bond will be paid by oil and gas, minerals and other subsurface interest, as well as related that homesteads of persons over 65 years of age will be exempt from the tax increase.

Also at the meeting, the board:

-Approved the installation of new lighting for the baseball field. Two of the wooden poles that hold the lights up had become cracked during one of the cold fronts that blew in, which caused the lights to become unstable and in need of replacement

-Approved the rescheduling of the May regular board meeting from May 12 to May13.
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