Keller Independent School District taxpayers will be asked this November to increase their debt burden by over $300 million, thanks to a unanimous vote of the school board’s seven members Monday night.

If voters approve the bond in November, this debt would be added to the over $1 billion in existing debt and interest Keller ISD property taxpayers already owe.

“There is no mention about how we are going to pay for this,” wrote Dr. Kris Kittle, candidate for the Keller ISD board in the May 4, 2019 election.

Most of the bond goes to building new schools to replace current ones and upgrades or renovations.

However, the new schools do not appear to be much larger than the current schools they are replacing, nor do the additions to current schools appear to add any new classroom space.

Are these truly necessary at this time?

This bond is the first part of Keller ISD’s “Long-Range Facility Plan,” a 10-year proposal outlining 66 projects totaling more than $1 billion, for the purpose of “bringing Keller ISD’s facilities in alignment with the District’s core values.”

The district’s Citizens Bond Advisory Committee (CBAC) picked the 11 out of 66 projects for this November’s bond election.

“The [CBAC’s] recommendation sets the district on the path of addressing our long-range facility needs and also allows the board to stay committed to not raising property tax rates,” KISD Board President Cindy Lotton stated.

But as property values rise, keeping property tax rates frozen does not mean individual homeowners will not see their property taxes increase. Data from the Tarrant Appraisal District shows that from 2013 to 2018, the average district homeowner’s school property tax bill grew over 37 percent. If the debt continues to grow instead of shrink, it will affect the possibility of taxpayers getting relief in their school district property tax bills.

Early voting will be from October 21–November 1, with Election Day on Tuesday, November 5.

Robert Montoya

Born in Houston, Robert Montoya is an investigative reporter for Texas Scorecard. He believes transparency is the obligation of government.