KISD mulls bond

Dr. Mark Foust is the Kerrville Independent School District Superintendent.

Kerrville ISD administration and trustees discussed the school construction bond and progress, a changed tuition rate, and factors in forming the next district budget at their regular meeting Feb. 17.

Bond 2018 update

Foust said they have split Package 2 of the renovations in the bond issue into three successive “Guaranteed Maximum Price” contract amendments.

Building roofs and HVAC replacements and upgrades were approved by the board in January, as one amendment, for GMP 1.

GMP 3 will be what the agenda called “civil improvements” to include ADA access, drainage, and window repair and replacements at the Administration Building.

Foust noted, “the weather has not been our friend so far,” and they have only 30 rain days built into their contract. He said when it does rain, it takes longer than they estimated for the HPMS building site to dry out to work on safely.

Guaranteed Maximum Price, construction items

The board was asked to amend the contract with Satterfield and Pontikes Construction, Inc., through a guaranteed maximum price for the Phase 2 construction projects.

The board was asked Monday night to amend that contract to $1,802,722.

According to Foust, the GMP is an agreed-upon amount, given the combination of qualified bid information, value engineering options selected, and added alternate options selected.

The agenda packet said the following is included in that amount – ADA bathroom renovations at Starkey Elementary; and a covered walkway at Daniels Elementary front entrance.

At the Tivy Education Center, the list includes cafeteria window replacement at the Early Childhood Center, new cover over decking between TDC buildings, removing and replacing decking between TDC buildings, repairing covered walkways through the TEC area; and roof replacements at the old TUES library, C wing, Special Education offices, and the Staff Development Center; and finally repairs to the Central Office roof.

At the Hal Peterson construction site, they have successfully completed a building pad, football field and tennis courts earthwork, and successfully poured a large retaining wall for the tennis court.

The “deceleration lane” and new north drive entrance to the site is under construction. Underground utilities, plumbing and electrical is under way. Pouring the foundation for the school building was expected to begin at the end of this week, starting with the gyms, but Foust said that will probably be pushed out a week because of the most recent rain forecast.

He said “going vertical” can begin after certain concrete pours.

Tuition rate report

Foust recommended changing the tuition rate charged to parents of students transferring into KISD from other districts.

The board sets the tuition each year; and current policy has that rate at $200 per semester or $400 per school year. No fee is charged for added students in the same family.

The packet said each transfer student generates about $6,100 in Kerrville ISD’s state basic allotment funding, with no significant increase in instructional costs.

On Feb. 17, the administration recommended that the rate be lowered to $150 per semester or $300 per year starting in 2020-21.

Foust said people have said there are two barriers with the former tuition amount, that the $400 per year is too high; and bus transportation also would make this easier for families.

He said the district had 251 transfers recently and of those, 51 came to KISD schools with employee parents, and the other 200 could be helped with a bus service.

He said he’s already working with KISD Transportation to find some centralized pick-up points at the edges of neighboring districts, to solve that second problem. And the board approved the new lower tuition amount Monday night.

2020-21 budget update

Assistant Supt. for Finance Jarrett Jachade and Foust discussed the 2019-20 budget, saying KISD is on target this year, with local revenue from property taxes at $26,610,000, raised from the new rate of $0.97/$100 valuation.

They said the state is expected to pay another $11,638,000 to the district.

This revenue is based on about $2.8 billion in property value in the district.

They said new rules and a “compression” in the tax rate will apply for 2020-21 and after, under which the district will be allowed to collect less on local tax collection, and the state will have to make up more of the difference by paying KISD.

There’s a new formula, after the last state legislative session, that begins with “if district values grow 2.5 percent or more;” and Foust and Jachade said it is designed to restrict the Tier 1 tax levy to no more than 2.5 percent more than the prior year.

Foust said unlike previous multiple years when they kept the tax rate at the same amount, “the tax rate is going to change every year; and the state will tell us what it is. And if the state ‘compresses’ us, they will have to come back in and make us whole.”

By his and Jachade’s math, KISD’s maintenance and operations tax rate for the next year will be no more than $0.966 per $100 valuation.

The problem is the timing, they said. KISD has been adopting the budget and tax rate in July while the state certifies value in February, seven months later. And KISD has always used the previous year’s property values to form each budget; and this new timing and state formula will have them using the present year’s values.

Based on the state’s property value study, they say property value is $3 billion. And the state says local revenue should be $29,100,000.

Foust said to operate KISD they need $40,000,000 total; but the state is now only expected to give KISD $10,900,000.

“Hypothetically that leaves about a $2 million gap,” Foust said. “We want to get this right with the Kerr Central Appraisal District and the state. The entities are talking. In April we will get preliminary values, and they will be more final in July.”

Foust added, all this will be subject to change as lawyers work out details; and said “the preliminary April values are likely to have much more significance than usual.” And he said the guru who built this template said often in one big meeting recently, “I don’t know. I don’t know.”

“Ours will be a conservative budget, especially in salaries and benefits,” he said.

Academic Performance Report, and Reading Readiness

After an offered public hearing at which no citizen spoke, Assistant Supt. Heather Engstrom outlined the Texas Academic Performance Report, that included 2017-18 actual financial data, the district accreditation status, campus performance objectives, Special Education status (KISD meets all requirements, she said), a report on violent or criminal incidents, and performance of previous year’s graduates in their first year of college.

Her report said KISD scored in the top quartile of comparable Texas school districts and earned the “Postsecondary Readiness Distinction Designation” for the sixth year in a row. Categories included all grades all subjects; progress of prior year non-proficient students, bilingual education, career or military-ready graduates, approved industry-based certifications and U.S. Armed Forces enlistment.

Graduation rates, advanced placement scores and dual credit completion, SAT/ACT graduates tested, and graduate success in post-secondary institutions also were factors.

She said areas targeted for growth are reading and writing, secondary math, advanced placement and dual credit participation by economically disadvantaged students, and teacher retention.

One big district goal is that all students are reading on grade level by third grade.

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