The mission of the Katy Tea Party Patriots is to provide the voters in our area with information to make informed decisions. Katy Tea is not and will not take an official position for or against the bond referendum.
Over the past two months members of the Katy Tea Party have attended KISD Board meetings, Board/Senior Cabinet retreats, and attended all three meetings held by the Board and KISD staff to explain the Bond Election.
Katy Tea is a strong supporter of education, however during the process of gathering additional information there are a number of items that the voter will need to take into account before they cast their vote. The following items were made clear during the above meetings:
- The Bond Referendum is an authorization for the Board to sell almost a half of a billion dollars of bonds. They are under no legal obligation to do any of the items they have recommended in their bond package. In 2006 the bond package contained items that were never done and additional items not listed in the bond package were funded. The Trustees were asked to pass a resolution to commit them to additional public discussion if they decide to revise the bond recomendations. Their lawyers said they do not have to do this.
- The Board of Trustees maintains that they are different from other members elected to political subdivisions of the state and do NOT represent the Taxpayer but rather have oversight responsibilities for the fiscal and academic operations of Katy ISD.
- The future operational funding of KISD and all the school districts is very unclear at this point in time due to the $20 Billion shortfall in state funds. It has been stated by members of the legislature that this deficit will be addressed through budget cuts and the state sales tax will not be raised. The board has been informed by their fiscal officer that the Commissioner of Education has the authority to raise the decompression cap that was put in place to lower property taxes for the operations and maintenance portion of the budget.
- The bond committee did not receive a complete list of the operating costs of all the new construction planned. This was addressed in some fashion project by project. The district did not produce a comprehensive operational cost document for the projects in this bond call. Ongoing operational costs include electricity, maintenance, and teacher salaries.
- Katy does need additional classroom space and needs to retain and attract quality teachers.
- If the Bond Election does not pass it could be reworked and brought to the voters again in 2011 during the May Trustee elections.
- If this bond election passes it will bring the total debt of the district to approximately $1.5 Billion. The property taxes to the taxpayer will increase from millage to repay these bonds will increase from the current 40 cents per $100 of property valuation to 44 cents per $100 of property valuation over time. This is well within the state cap of 50 cents per $100 of property valuation and at its peak amounts to a ten percent increase in taxes.
This is a very complex issue and it requires all voters to make informed decisions before casting their vote on the down the ballot Katy School District Bond Referendum. Be informed and vote.