Katy ISD to form 2020 bond advisory committee

Katy isd
The 2017 bond advisory committee proposed a $609.2 million bond program to fund six new campuses; renovate, repair or expand seven existing campuses; and upgrade technology and security. (Courtesy Katy ISD)

The 2017 bond advisory committee proposed a $609.2 million bond program to fund six new campuses; renovate, repair or expand seven existing campuses; and upgrade technology and security. (Courtesy Katy ISD)

Katy ISD took one of the first steps at the Jan. 20 regular board meeting for proposing a bond referendum this November.

The board of trustees approved the creation of a 2020 community bond advisory committee and its charter at the meeting in a 6-0 vote. Board member Susan Gesoff was absent.

The committee will comprise about 150 members who reside within the district’s geographical boundary, KISD Chief of Communications Andrea Grooms said in a presentation to the board at the Jan. 20 meeting. The 2014 and 2017 voter-approved bonds also had 150-member bond committees to craft the packages.

According to the 2020 community bond advisory committee charter, the 150 members will include:

  • 21 people appointed by the board;

  • 16 teachers;

  • four principals;

  • six students;

  • 25 community members who have served on previous bond committees; and

  • 78 other community members.

The committee will meet one to 13 times between April and August to determine whether the district should call for a bond referendum and, if so, which projects should be included, Grooms said.

To apply for a position on the committee, visit the district’s website. Residents have until Feb. 17 to submit an application.

Need for more schools

During the Jan. 20 meeting, Grooms and Assistant Superintendent of Operations Ted Vierling presented enrollment numbers to show how the northwest quadrant of the district—west of the Grand Parkway and north of I-10—will grow faster than existing campuses can handle.

“Over the past 15-20 years, we’ve been talking about extreme growth in the southwest quadrant in the district,” Vierling said. “We still see that, although we’re running out of territory down there. And now what’s coming up, of course, is the growth of the in the northwest quadrant, and that’s where we’re seeing the extreme growth here in the next few years.”

For example, without a 2020 bond to build a 10th high school, Paetow High School, which is located at 23111 Stockdick School Road, Katy, could see an enrollment of 7,258 by 2029, Vierling said.

For comparison, the highest enrollment at the district's largest high school, Seven Lakes High School, is nearly 4,000 students, he said.

Preplanning The 2017 bond fund allocated about $18 million to purchase property for three elementary schools, one junior high school and one high school for a future 2020 bond, according to KISD’s website.

A separate agenda item at the Jan. 20 meeting noted that KISD has purchased 157 acres and 75 acres in March 2018 and August 2019, respectively, for a new high school, junior high school, elementary school and support facility. These properties are located near the intersection of Katy Hockley and Logenbaugh roads.

At the Jan. 20 meeting, the board of trustees approved a design services contract to Adico LLC to design detention, mitigation and an overflow basin that meets the standards of Harris County Flood Control District. This contract is funded by the 2017 bond, but a figure was not cited in meeting documents.

“This work needs to be completed prior to the issuance of permits needed for new construction of any facilities mentioned above, particularly the future high school site,” KISD meeting documents stated.

The northwest portion of the district is known for drainage issues.

“Most of that land up there is contentious with flood plains, and part of that may be reserved for flood retention and detention,” demographer Justin Silhavy said in July.

Board Vice President Bill Lacy asked whether the district will have special designs—and extra costs— to address these drainage issues for the 157- and 75-acre parcels, such as having water to flow under Logenbaugh.

“We know that pretty much we’re going to be doing work with Logenbaugh Road because that’s going to be serving both our sites, and that’s what this project will also address,”said Lisa Kassman, KISD's executive director of facilities, planning and construction.

The district first announced that it might propose a bond referendum in October to accommodate the growth of students.

At the beginning of the school year, KISD had 81,818 students. Enrollment has grown to 83,611, according to the KISD public dashboard as of Jan. 21. A December demographic update projects enrollment could grow to a number between 101,428 and 108,235 by 2029.