Klein ISD's latest recommendations for its 2015 bond would increase the district's property tax rate by no more than 10 cents in the next eight years, raising the average KISD homeowner's property taxes by about $12.99 per month at the peak of the resulting tax increase.
Superintendent Jim Cain presented an updated list of bond recommendations to the KISD board of trustees Dec. 8. Cain said the most recent recommendations include $498.1 million in total costs, a reduction of more than $200 million from the $725.6 million in possible costs reported following the bond's second steering committee meeting.
The largest piece of the bond package costs comes from $279.1 million in new construction, Cain said. New projects proposed in the bond include High School No. 5, Intermediate School No. 11, Elementary School No. 33 and another Early Childhood/Pre-K Center.
"We feel this represents a very good bond package, a very tight package," Cain said. "We believe this focuses on the needs [of the district]."
With the original $725.6 million recommended bond package and the $128 million in unsold bonds left over from the 2008 bond authorization, Cain said the district's property tax rate would have risen by 16 cents in the next eight years. In addition to a higher tax rate increase, Cain said the debt service rate would have risen over 50 cents, which would not have allowed the district to sell bonds by law.
"After the second steering committee meeting we went back to the drawing board with my senior leadership, and we took a long, hard look at that situation," Cain said. " It was our determination that the 16-cent increase was really too much. It was an increase over an 8-year period that we felt, while justified, was simply too high."
The bond package was dropped $227 million by the third steering committee meeting, which would have result in an 11-cent property tax increase. Then KISD opted to use reserve funds to pay for $8.4 million in technology costs within the bond, Cain said.
"What that did was allow us to decrease the tax rate increase from 11 cents to 10 cents, because the less technology you have in the bond issue, the less of a spike you have in your tax rate over an 8-year period," he said.
If these recommendations are approved by the board in January and by voters in May, then the average home in the district of $155,866 would see a tax increase of $5.20 per month in 2015–16. The tax rate increase from the current rate would rise to $11.69 per month the following year and then to $12.99 per month the next four years before dropping to $9.10 in 2021–22 and $7.90 in 2022–23.
Cain said the district will likely need another bond authorization between 2021 and 2023. Voters approved a $646.9 bond package in 2008 and another $224 million bond authorization in 2004.
Although the bond recommendations were presented to the KISD board of trustees, the bond remains a draft plan until it is approved by the board in January, Cain said. If the board approves the recommendations, district residents will vote on the bond in May.
For more information about the bond, visit www.kleinisd.net.