Six-foot-high security fencing to be installed on 42 Katy ISD campuses, trustees set date for public hearing on proposed tax rate and budget

Thee candidates are vying for Position 1 on the Katy ISD board of trustees. The election is May 4.

Thee candidates are vying for Position 1 on the Katy ISD board of trustees. The election is May 4.

The Katy ISD board of trustees approved a $1.6 million contract to install 6-foot-high security fencing at 42 campuses the district said will help increase school security at the July 23 board meeting.

KISD officials said the fencing will be installed to secure playground areas and access to portable buildings at elementary school campuses and to secure access to portable buildings at secondary level campuses.

The fencing is being funded by the district’s 2017 bond, and other campuses not included in the list of 42 already have security fencing in place or it is in the process of being installed as part of the 2017 bond, officials said.

Installation of the fencing is scheduled to be completed by Dec. 31, 2018.  See a list of the 42 schools that will receive the fencing here.

Trustees also approved design plans for renovations at Fielder Elementary School that include measures to increase security and student safety. The security upgrades are part of the district’s 2017 bond package.

“I think the great point that the focus of this was really about safety and security for kids, upgrading the facilities to current Katy standards … and also just giving the new school a new facelift inside and out,” Stantec senior associate Scott Klaus said during a presentation to trustees at the July 16 work study meeting. Stantec is the architecture firm responsible for the renovations.

Security upgrades included in the design plans include centralizing administration offices, upgrading the current school entrance vestibule with an air-lock version and constructing bollards to protect the new entrance, which will feature large-scale glass doors, according to design renderings.

“Currently when you come into the existing school, there is some technology to allow the person at the reception desk to be able to see through cameras who is entering the school but it’s not an ideal scenario,” Klaus said.

Stantec representatives said during a presentation at the July 16 work study they will continue to meet with KISD's police chief to discuss implementing other security upgrades, which Parul Vyas, senior project manager for Stantec, said also includes laminated bullet-proof casing for the entrance vestibule.

“We met with security team this morning, and some of the key aspects we discussed was using laminated bullet-proof casing,” Vyas said at the July 16 work study meeting. “We are going to have several meetings with the chief in getting it [additional security measures] figured out so that everybody is comfortable.”

Other upgrades to the design plan include introducing new activity areas that will require building out classrooms and improvements to special education.

Klaus said construction phasing is still being worked out as to not disrupt students and school activity.

Lisa Kassman, KISD’s executive director of facilities planning and construction, said the other schools with similar floor plans are expected to follow the same model in the case of future renovations.

Construction on the renovation is expected to be completed by fall 2019.

In other business, trustees set the date for a public hearing on the proposed tax rate and budget for the 2018-19 school year. According to meeting documents, the district’s proposed tax rate will not increase or decrease.

The proposed rate includes a maintenance and operations tax rate of $1.1466 per $100 valuation and an interest and sinking tax rate of $0.3700 per $100 valuation for a total tax rate of $1.5166 per $100 valuation. The public hearing is set for 6:30 p.m. Aug. 20, during the board's next work study meeting.