Reporting Jason Allen
KELLER (CBSDFW.COM) - The school buses that are now sitting parked in Keller for the summer will most likely stay that way in the fall. Keller Independent School District board president Kevin Stevenson said Monday that major cuts — which the district warned might be possible — will now be implemented after voters turned down requests to raise taxes by about $260 per year for a $200,000 home.
The district said that it will save more than $2 million by cutting all regular school bus services, a significant portion of their goal of $16 million in cuts.
Class size increases will provide the biggest savings. Classes for kindergarten through fourth grade will go from 22 students to 24 students, which will help to eliminate 33 teaching positions. Fifth and sixth grade classes will increase by one student — from 27 to 28 — to eliminate six teachers. And high school classes will increase from 28 students to 30 students, eliminating 27 teachers. That all represents a total savings of $3.6 million.
Despite the outcome, Stevenson said that he was still glad that the board held the vote in June rather than waiting until the fall. This gives the people who are losing their jobs some time to find new work. “This is going to affect a lot of our staff members,” Stevenson said, “and we didn’t want to leave those folks hanging any longer than they already have been.”
It is possible that the district could attempt another vote, Stevenson added, but he was not certain if or when that might happen.
The group that quickly formed in opposition to the tax increase, KISD Families For Fiscal Responsibility, said that it will not disband now that the voting is over. Treasurer Michelle Wood said that the group will transition to focus on other issues, after internal polling showed that as many as 70 percent of voters were opposed to new taxes. “That means the community is not satisfied with the status quo, and they want change,” Wood said. “They don’t want more taxes. They want the spending controlled. And the board, and Dr. Veitenheimer, don’t seem to understand that.”
KISD Families For Fiscal Responsibility has started an online petition urging Veitenheimer to resign.