During a meeting last Monday, stakeholders in Katy ISD presented for consideration a bond package for the November ballot. At a blinding $750 million, it would be the most expensive bond package in the history of the district. Voters may also notice a disturbing similarity with the proposal they defeated last November.
Half of the proposed debt would fund construction of six new schools, (and designs for three more), and the remainder would go towards renovations on thirteen educational offices and facilities, as well as a massive new stadium similar to the one that sank last year’s controversial bond package.
Last November, voters struck down a $100 million bond proposal with 9,011 voting against and 7,458 voting for it. While bond issues have a tendency to pass uncontested due to voter apathy and stacked decks by planning committees, one aspect of the comparatively modest 2013 bond had local activist groups and voters particularly agitated: a $69.5 million, 14,000 seat stadium.
Voters were rightly irked by the proposal because it not only followed in the footsteps of, but also exceeded the indulgence of an exercise in luxury undergone by Allen ISD. Allen ISD voters approved construction of the most expensive high school stadium in the nation in 2009, at $60 million.
Now voters in KISD are being asked to approve a modestly downsized stadium as part of the new $750 million package, a 12,000 seat stadium at a cost of $58 million. The stadium will likely be designed by PBK engineering, who designed the larger stadium proposed for KISD last November.
If the name PBK doesn’t sound familiar, it should. It is the same firm who designed Allen ISD’s aforementioned $60 million Taj Mahal, which, after less than two years, has been deemed structurally unsound and unfit for use. PBK is often contracted for ISD bond projects, and as we have previously written, is one of the players in driving increases in local debt around Texas.
In defense of what he called a “fiscally responsible” plan, Superintendent Alton Frailey used children as props, saying that supporting the three-quarters of a billion in additional debt would “show that you care about every child in Katy.” Considering how the widespread employment of such emotional blackmail is utilized by the left in lieu of salient arguments, the true purpose of the proposal becomes more apparent; lofty contracts for the well-connected and palatial institutions for administrators, all at the expense of taxpayers in a region already burdened by skyrocketing property values and their attendant taxes.