Growth is coming to Kaufman County whether residents want it or not.
The passage of two proposed bonds for Kaufman Independent School District could determine which employers choose to come to Kaufman County, and what kinds of homes will be built for new residents moving in.
That was the message school and city officials presented to members of the Kaufman Lions Club on Oct. 28.
Proposition A is a $77.4 million bond to construct a new building at Phillips Elementary School. Other additions would be four classrooms at Helen Edwards Early Childhood Center, eight classrooms at Kaufman High School, a gym addition at Kaufman Junior High School, and an agriculture science center. There also are additional school security measures covered in this proposition. If Proposition A is approved in November, the estimated impact would be a $12.07 per month increase for a home valued at $100,000, or $144.84 annually.
Proposition B requests $12.5 million for a covered practice field for athletics, physical education classes and extracurricular activities.
Proposition B also would cover relocating the baseball field, as well as new tennis courts.
KISD needs new buildings to keep up with growing enrollment in the district, said Jeremy Melton, director of communications for KISD.
District student enrollment grew by 255 students between 2016 to 2022,. This year, however, enrollment increased rapidly, with 300 more students in 2022 compared to 2021, or about one classroom for each grade level.
That trend will continue, school officials predict, with 5,400 single family lots and 1,240 multi-family units in various levels of development within the district.
Kaufman High School is currently at capacity, and Helen Edwards Early Education Center and Nash Elementary will exceed their capacity next year.
Without new buildings, the district will have to bring in portable classrooms, which are a safety concern, Melton added.
Voters turned down a bond issue on the ballot this spring, but with rising construction costs, “we’re asking for more money for the same work,” Melton explained.
It has been eight years since the district’s last bond issue, which built Kaufman High School.
A club member asked
what other bonds the district could request in the future.
A new elementary school and new junior high school on land donated by developers are likely to be the next building projects, said Superintendent Lori Blaylock.
While the city of Kaufman tries to guide growth in certain areas, “nothing we do in the city has as big of an impact as the school district,” Kaufman Mayor Jeff Jordan told the group. The quality of the school district means Kaufman can attract high-quality growth or sub-par growth, he explained.
“It won’t change whether or not we grow, but what type of growth we see,” he said. “That’s the way I see it.”