Sunday, February 18, 2007




Kemp plans for new high school
No tax rate increase expected, tax rate may decrease slightly
By Barbara Gartman
Monitor Staff Writer

KEMP–The first step in considering the need and possibility for a new high school in Kemp was discussed at a special meeting Tuesday.
Kemp Independent School District trustees heard the results of a facilities study and discussed options.
In an unusual turn for most school districts, KISD will be able to build with no tax increase.
“What has brought this about is we (trustees) have been getting a lot of phone calls from community members concerned about (the district’s) facilities and what can be done,” school board president Keith Foisey said.
The study, presented by Randall Fromberg owner of Fromberg Associates, Inc. Austin, began by listing campus problems:
• a shortage of science facilities. Currently, scarcely 700 square feet of lab space exists. A new state ruling requires a minimum of 1,400 square feet.
• an outgrown band hall, and
• campus-wide security problems.
The junior high has a leaky roof and water seepage in some classroom walls, and its science lab and libraries are also too small.
Since several housing additions are planned in Kemp, enrollment growth is unavoidable, he said.
“Fifteen years ago, Kemp was advised to build a new high school,” Fromberg said. “I recommend you build a new high school at the athletic site on State Highway 274.”
The recommendation includes classrooms for 600 students, with core facilities (cafeteria and library) sized for 800, big enough, it is estimated, to serve the campus for 10 years, and classrooms sufficient for five years.
The cost is estimated at about $114 per square foot, or about $19.6 million to cover the building and furnishings, Fromberg said.
At that point, Superintendent Dr. Peter Running informed the audience the cost of the athletic facilities are not included in the proposal.
“The cost of the athletic facilities will come out of maintenance and operation (M&O),” Running said.
If a bond election is held and passes in May, the plan will go through a design phase, then a bid process. Construction could begin February, 2008, with a February, 2009, completion date, Fromberg explained.
Estimated costs, timing and tax information was presented by Jeff Robert, senior vice president of First Southwest Company investment bankers of Dallas.
Robert gave several scenarios listing the possible size of a bond election, ranging from $18.5 million to $20 million.
The scenarios showed the current I&S (Interest & Sinking, or debt) rate as 8 cents per $100 valuation.
An increase of 20 to 23 cents will be necessary to fund the proposed bond package, depending on the bond amount.
However, the M&O portion is currently $1.37 per $100 valuation, with a 33-cent decrease planned.
The current total tax rate is $1.45 per $100 valuation, giving citizens an overall tax decrease varying from 1 to 4 cents per $100 valuation, Robert said.
“Community input is needed for success (of the project). We believe the bond belongs to the community, not to the board,” Running said.
Additional public meetings are being planned, he said.

Proposition 1 goes on Seven Points ballot
By Teresa Cundiff
Monitor Correspondent

SEVEN POINTS–The Seven Points City Council voted unanimously to put Proposition 1 on the May 12 ballot during Tuesday’s meeting.
The proposition asks voters if they want half of the sales tax now earmarked for the Economic Development Corporation to be designated for street maintenance and repair for the next four years, beginning in December, 2007.
Currently, one quarter percent of the sales tax collected in the city goes to the EDC. This proposal would cut that amount in half.
The EDC has about $105,000 in its account now, city secretary Debbie Mosley told The Monitor. It collected $131,357 in calender year 2006. The amount going to street maintenance would equal about half that, or $65,679.
The council also approved the purchase of a new Chevrolet Tahoe for the police department to replace a cruiser wrecked under icy conditions on Prichett Lane Jan. 16.
The council approved $38,094 for the purchase. Mayor Gerald Taylor and Seven Points Police Chief Wayne Nutt will set terms for the best financing.
Taylor reminded council the budget will be off, as the purchase was not planned.
The new squad car will bring the city’s police fleet up to six patrol vehicles.
In other business, the council:
• named The Monitor as its official newspaper.
• set March 17 and Sept. 22 as Clean Up dates.
• ordered the election for Saturday, May 12.

TAKS tests Tuesday, Feb. 20
Monitor Staff Reports
CEDAR CREEK LAKE– The Texas Education Agency has set Tuesday, Feb. 20, as the day for the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) tests in the areas of Reading and Writing.
Students in the fourth, seventh, ninth, 10th and 11th grades are to be tested at area schools.
Parents are reminded research shows students perform better on tests when they’ve had adequate sleep, a nutritious breakfast and leave for school on a happy note.