Voters must decide if Katy schools get more money

October 25, 2010 4:16:02 PM PDT
On the ballot for residents of Katy is a bond referendum with hundreds of millions of dollars at stake. The school district says it needs the money to keep up with a booming population. But if approved, it will come at a cost to taxpayers. With three of her five kids attending Stanley Elementary School, Courtney Doyle is acutely aware of what this Katy public school needs.

"For Stanley, the biggest need is more room to house these children who are moving into Katy," Doyle said.

Even though the school is only two years old, it's already using portable buildings just to house all the students. It's an example, supporters say, of why the proposed $459 million bond referendum is so important.

Bond supporter George Huntoon said, "Katy is one of the fastest growing places in the country right now. I know. I'm in real estate. I see it every day. And if we don't build new facilities, we absolutely cannot handle the massive inflow of people to the area."

But passage would bring higher taxes. The current tax rate of 40 cents would increase a penny next year, and to 44 cents in 2012. For an average $198,000 house in the district, the first year's tax increase alone would be just over $18. Not everyone likes that idea.

"Our property taxes are already going up," said voter Keith Holmes. "I think they're going to go up even more."

Some opponents worry the money will be used only for buildings, not for kids.

"It should be about teaching kids, and a nice place for them," said bond opponent Allen Walker. "It doesn't have to be a Taj Mahal and it doesn't have to be a mansion."

As for Doyle, she's heard the opposition, but knows how she'll vote.

"The small minimal tax increase to better the education and the facilities for my children is not a problem," Doyle said.


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