DALLAS — The Katy Independent School District in Texas is seeking voter approval of a $459.7 million general obligation bond package that would finance construction of five new schools to accommodate its rapidly growing enrollment.
The election is set for Nov. 2.
Katy is located about 30 miles west of downtown Houston and the area’s population has grown along with the recently completed widening of the segment of Interstate 10 between them. The district has seen its student population expand by more than 10,000 in the past four years.
Enrollment has grown by more than 2,500 students since the end of the 2009-2010 term and now totals almost 61,000.
A demographic projection developed by consultants Population and Survey Analysts of College Station expects enrollment to top 70,000 by 2014 and 87,000 by 2019.
District spokesman Steve Stanford said most of the new schools will be in the southwest portion of Katy.
“That’s where most of our growth is,” he said. “Enrollment at one point was going up each year by 6% to 7%, but that slowed down a couple of years ago with the economy. Enrollment is still growing, but it is back in the 3% to 4% range.”
The district’s $949.2 million of outstanding GO debt is rated AA by Standard & Poor’s and Aa3 by Moody’s Investors Service.
The debt is enhanced to triple-A through coverage by the Texas Permanent School Fund.
Voters approved $269.4 million of GO bonds in November 2006.
The list of projects to be financed with bond proceeds was developed by a 29-member facilities task force appointed by trustees in May. The committee presented its findings to the school board in July.
The proposed bond package includes $282 million for the construction of three elementary schools, a junior high school, and the district’s seventh high school.
Other components include $119 million for renovations and upgrades, $35 million for technology, $22 million for new buses, 30 additional portable classrooms to provide temporary space until facilities are completed in 2012, and land acquisition for new schools.
The new high school is expected to cost $137.4 million. That amount includes $115.6 million for construction and $21.8 million to be spent on equipment, furniture, and site development costs.
The renovation effort will include $25.7 million for the demolition of the west campus of Katy High School and construction of a replacement structure closer to the main campus.
The facilities task force that developed the project list said it would not be cost-effective to renovate the 59-year-old satellite facility.
A proposed schedule developed by the district shows completions no later than 2013 for all the bond projects.
Katy ISD serves parts of Harris, Fort Bend, and Waller counties. The 181-square-mile district includes the entire city of Katy, which has a population of 13,891, and a small part of west Houston.
Houston is the largest city in Texas, with a population of 2.26 million.
The district’s facilities include 32 elementary schools, 12 junior high schools, and six high schools.
Katy ISD’s property tax rate of $1.53 per $100 of assessed valuation includes $1.13 for operations and 40 cents for debt service.
If voters approve the bonds in November, the interest and sinking tax rate will stay 40 cents through 2011. The rate would increase by one cent in 2012 and another three cents in 2013 and 2014.
After 2014, the tax rate will begin to decrease.