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Klein ISD forms leadership coalition ahead of possible tax ratification election

January 22, 2019

In an effort to stay connected with the community and plan the school district’s next steps, Klein ISD has announced the formation of a new coalition.

The Klein Leadership Coalition will consist of influencers in and around Klein ISD, including staff, faculty and community members. According to a presentation given during the January meeting, the Klein Leadership Coalition will exchange information, create awareness of district operations and assist the district with future plans.

Klein ISD Superintendent Bret Champion said the group presents an opportunity to connect with the community while furthering the goals of the district. The group began activity this month, Champion said.

“We have about 250 people who have agreed to serve on this committee,” he said. “This looks to be a very powerful opportunity for us to really expand the communication here in Klein ISD.”

Cy-Fair ISD previously formed a similar committee, the Community Leadership Committee, which is also comprised of parents, community members and business owners. In November, CFISD formed another committee for long-term planning and recommendations to the board of trustees.

The Klein Leadership Coalition is intended to include a variety of voices from both inside and outside of the school district. The formation of the group is related to Klein ISD’s push to identify district-wide improvements.

“The objective is to create a large coalition of internal and external influencers who are able to share information about the district with other shareholders,” Champion said. “It includes parents and community members and taxpayers and businesses, so they’ll share good news as well, have awareness on how Klein operates and what kind of legislation affects the district.”

Champion listed the legislative priorities for Klein ISD, including fixing school finance, fixing the state accountability system, and saying ‘no’ to any kind of vouchers. He said Klein ISD will aim to strengthen relationships with legislators through in-person meetings.

Klein ISD plans to follow legislative happenings closely as the school district considers holding another tax ratification election, during which voters would decide whether to allow the school district to levy a Maintenance and Operations tax rate above $1.04.

In June 2018, voters turned down a tax ratification election that proposed raising the M&O tax rate to $1.13. Failure to pass the TRE resulted in over $20 million in budget cuts, mainly impacting staff.

The district plans to study the need for a possible future TRE. If a TRE is deemed necessary, an election may be recommended for November 2019, Champion said.

“This is not stated lightly by any means,” he said. “To be quite frank, we would love to not have an election … We need to keep monitoring the legislature to see what they do. However, there is no guarantee that the legislature is going to take action that has specific impact, in a positive way, on Klein ISD.”

Champion said the school district needs money to continue providing current, and better, services in the future.

“We will need to think about holding another election because ultimately we need an infusion of money in the system to continue the work that we’re doing in Klein ISD,” he said.

During the presentation, Champion discussed district efforts to hear parent concerns. The initiative included 89 meetings between Klein ISD officials, staff and parents at every district campus and department. A survey showed the top three priorities among Klein ISD parents include safety, academic achievement and preparing students for college and the workforce.

chevall.pryce@chron.com

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