The Nation Weighs in on World’s Most Expensive Stadium in Katy

Reddit Makes Covering Katy Story Go Viral

KATY (Covering Katy) – Katy is building the most expensive high school football stadium in the world, and on Thursday afternoon the news aggregation website Reddit picked up on the story. Reddit linked to Covering Katy’s exclusive story about the construction project breaking the $70 million threshold. The title was Texas School District Spends $12 million of surplus money on stadium- Forgets it needs to build elementary school.

Thursday afternoon Covering Katy was getting comments from readers all over the nation. The pace of readership was more than 70,000 visitors per hour by 4 p.m.

“I would like to congratulate the school board of Katy, which is where I live, for making the front page of Reddit! You have embarrassed our community on a national level now,” said Covering Katy reader David B.

When Covering Katy began covering the expensive stadium project several years ago, many district supporters accused the local news organization of hating children and hating Katy. Even the Katy Rotary Club rejected Covering Katy founder Dennis Spellman’s application for membership. A Covering Katy advertiser with close ties to the school district requested that Covering Katy back-off on the stadium story and pulled his advertising after the request was rejected. In Katy those who dare criticize the school district are frequently taken to the woodshed, but on Thursday the nation weighed in and had a very different take on the controversy.

Rick from Boston said he felt the stadium supporters were the ones guilty of harming children.

“The future of our children across the U.S. is dependent on how they can compete with kids from all over the globe. If your district is not committed to education, then your children are in deep trouble,” Rick wrote.

“This is not just a problem in Texas. We had similar problems with our school board here in Anchorage, Alaska,” said another reader.

George Scott was elected to the Katy school board after vigorously opposing what USA Today calls a “mega-stadium.” Scott agreed that the district needed a second stadium but believes the district should have spent far less money.

“It has become a 72-million-dollar solution to a 40-million-dollar problem,” Scott said.

“This stadium represents what is wrong with the public education bureaucracy in the state of Texas,” Scott said. “Even the federal government would be hard-pressed to be this successful in wasting taxpayers’ money,” he added.

READ THE STORY THAT CAUGHT THE ATTENTION OF REDDIT

 

47 Comments

  1. I love your sarcasm! (I mean, nobody could be THAT dumb to actually believe what they wrote there, could they?)

  2. Anyone justifying this grotesque expenditure needs:
    (A) their head checked
    (B) a reality check

    This entire debacle is appalling.
    Katy should be embarrassed. Building and spending at this level makes ZERO sense…and ANYONE in favor should be ashamed of themselves.
    Katy isd works full-time to deny students with special needs and learning disabilities their (legally entitled) accommodations, in order to cut costs. We still have many parents who struggle to get their kids to/from school because of bus transportation cuts.
    *Reality check.
    Bonnie, I will pray for you.
    You’ve lost touch with what truly matters for our children, who are somehow supposed to become tomorrow’s leaders.

  3. The original plan was for it to be built at Gaston and Greenbusch. As far as bringing in money, that is money (sales tax) that does not go to education. If the stadium can have multiple uses then surely and example is the existing Rhodes Stadium. What outside functions does it bring in? And what area schools are going to pay to use a KISD stadium when they can use their own for free?

    We heard these arguments with the Merrill Center. It sits empty most days, nights and weekends. If it wasn’t for KISD events, it would be empty 95% of the days/nights. This stadium could’ve built 2 elementary schools, which ironically the district says it needs.

  4. Keep in mind every foot of land Katy ISD owns is a foot of land taken off the property tax rolls. KISD owns a lot of prime real estate, much of it right on I-10.

  5. As Westsidebill noted this is what was said about the Merrill Center. Check its schedule – it is vacant over 90% of the time and most of the events are KISD events.

  6. It’s called growth. We have to stay competitive and take advantage of the KHS football team along with the other very competitive high school athletics to bring talent and growth and money to this area.
    We also have to evaluate the dollars that all sports and talents will BRING in to the KISD area. We can support many academic liberal and athletic programs by investing in a world class stadium.
    Old Katy is Old. Experience growth. Embrace change.

  7. It’s called growth. We have to stay competitive and take advantage of the KHS football to bring talent and growth and money to this area.
    We also have to evaluate the dollars that sports will bring in to the KISD area.

  8. This was for S Jarvis! Sorry westside if it looked like I would ever dispute your brilliance! I want to meet you!

    Dick Cheney says we can use his secret bunker!

  9. KALEN:Outstanding comment. Actual cost is always: Construction cost (bond principal) + bond interest (calculate present value) = actual cost.

  10. Ms. Jarvis, you either don’t understand the long-term real costs of this boondoggle or don’t want to know – which is it?

  11. You’re right – it will be closer to 90%. Before you spout off about “all the things it will be used for”, look at the “guaranteed to pay for itself” Merrell Castle.

    Until then, don’t even bother with all that other Pollyanna stuff – it’s untrue and proven untrue each and every time that an ill-informed writer publishes it.

  12. The stadium will also be used for band competitions and to host numerous events that will generate money for the district. I don’t believe it will be a “statue” for 80 % of the time. It can be rented to neighboring districts for football, band, etc. It can be used for play off games. Just throwing that out there.

  13. Are you serious?? What a joke.. 100 million dollars plus of debt when it’s all said and done for 2-3 high school weekend football games 1/5 of the year is not something you should be applauding.. the stadium will be a statue 80% of the time because no one will be using it.. this is what you should call disgraceful, generational debt and high taxes for years and years to come for a professional grade football stadium… unbelievable, this is why Americans don’t own anything they’ve ever purchased, that’s the real lesson you are teaching the kids.. if you can’t afford it, you can buy it on credit pay 2-3 times what’s it’s worth and never pay it off… just curious does KISD offer financial classes in middle school and high school?? Like Dave Ramsey curriculum?? That would be something that I would applaud..

  14. S Jarvis,
    Are you replying to me or Westside Bill. If you are replying to me, what facts have I gotten wrong?

    Mr. Spellman

  15. Get your facts right i am not a Mr. And we moved here 26 years ago BECAUSE of it’s reputation a good place to raise kids. 3 kids later involved in Scouts ,band, Choir,church and school activities. So yes i support this is a good thing for the future. And your self rightous attitude and lousy newspaper bias reporting does not beling here.

  16. Katy ISD always likes to be thought of as a world class leader in all things. I don’t know where we stand on most items but on this one we are at last NUMBER ONE! We have the most expensive stadium. When we questioned the administration they SWORE to us we were not going over board or paying too much. Please note that even though we have the most expensive we do not have the biggest in terms of capacity. 2,000 seats were cut so as to TRIM expenses. WOW is all I can say for now.

    Katy ISD member, Mr. Scott was right we have a $70++++ million solution to a $40 million problem.

    I have HIGH hopes for our new super and trust he will begin to turn this ship around.

  17. George Scott was right all along and the truth is we need more members such as him on our school board. He asks the questions and he expects to get answers and if he thinks he is being fed a line of B. S. he follows through. He also thinks our teachers are doing the best they can with what they have to work with and he understands another important truth.

    Our current board members think they are doing a GREAT job on behalf of the taxpayers and often we hear them talk about ‘holding the line on our tax rate” as if they are doing us any favors. George knows better.

    Two points.

    First, our tax rate if not at the absolute top is within a point of it and they can’t raise it much even if they wanted to!
    Second, our tax bills are going up every year by ten percent or more.

    I want everyone who reads this to pull up their tax statement from Katy ISD and compare it to the previous five years. Even with the rate the same, our tax bills are climbing out of sight due to increasing valuations. These valuations not only increase our school tax but our county and MUD and for some our city taxes. You will be sick when you see the difference in the TOTAL property tax paid each year and the lack of results given these dollars spent on “our behalf.” This is happening at a time when the board members are telling us they are “holding the line” on our taxes!!

    Then ask yourself, and the answer is a bit more complicated than I am suggesting, how come taxpayers are paying ever increasing tax bills many to the tune of 10% or more PER year and teachers and staff are getting a one percent raise? Given the increases in health insurance bills some employees will see a reduction in their take home pay.

    Taxpayers pay more, teachers get nothing, stadiums go up and some schools are falling down around our student’s ears and they say they are watching out for us.

    May of 2017 is an opportunity to send THREE different persons to the seven person school board.

    Maybe it is time to send some people who can do simple math for a change?

  18. Obviously you don’t live in Katy, what use to be a nice quiet small town. It’s disgusting that they put it in the middle of Katy. I’ve lived in old downtown Katy all my life and it is horrible! The traffic is bad the noise is bad all of it is Bad! Who do you think pay those taxes? We do!!!! Plus it has gone over budget by 12 million dollars!!! Who approved that? Not the voters!!!

  19. Your opinion is invalid due to your nonsensical statement that a $72 million stadium is “good” for the students. Considering less than 10% of students play football or run track, it’s obvious that money could have been spent more wisely elsewhere. For maybe, I don’t know, educational things?!

  20. I wonder how many people understand the difference between tax revenue and a bond.. and how/what each is used for?

  21. The saddest part about it was that the community unanimously voted against the stadium proposition 2 years prior, then they rolled the stadium into an “educational package” which included a revised budget for the stadium and some other educational enhancements (not sure exactly what). So in a sense I guess the community felt obligated to vote for the “enhanced educational” portion of the proposition. Not to mention the current stadium right next to the new one is not even close to being paid off yet.. was built in the 60’s or 70’s. no matter how you cut it the children are not the priority.

  22. It’s not that so many voted FOR the stadium, it’s absolutely sad that 5% of the voting public actually votes. Most people are either too “busy”, too uninformed, too arrogant or just too apathetic to be “bothered” to vote. Instead they rationalize their incredible property tax burdens as “cheaper than private school” and then simply slurp up everything the district tells them for about 10-12 years – shortly after which time they put their houses on the market for the next sucker to come in and join the district = and the cycle starts again.

  23. Gary, you sound like you HAVE actually lived here 40 years! I’ve got a few more to go to reach that level but I’m not far behind!

  24. Mr. Jarvis, that whooshing sound you hear is the point of this whole situation going right over your head…

  25. Bonnie, thanks for being a supporter of whatever KISD tells you to support. Did you actually read about WHY this is such a hot topic – and has been going on 3 years now? Or do you just not care?

  26. Like Dennis said it isn’t about the need but the cost. If the stadium had been built outside the city limits of Katy, huge savings could have been accomplished. Yes additional road improvements would have been needed but with developers and the county kicking in their share, the cost to KISD would have been substantially reduced. People have no understanding how much the city of Katy added to the construction costs with their building requirements and government oversight.

  27. Mr. Jarvis,

    You have several of your fact wrong. The most important mistake is that people are not upset about building a second stadium. They are upset that the district built such an expensive stadium and then added an additional 20% to the costs. Many people hold the position that we could have built a less expensive second stadium and accomplished all of the things you mentioned. Your argument is a left over Frailey era propaganda claim that if people were against spending 58 million they were against building a second stadium. That tactic has been used and it’s old and tired. Please stop. It’s foolish and exceptionally selfish given that children in this district are in overcrowded schools so that other kids can play a hand full of games per year in an NFL style stadium.

    Dennis Spellman

  28. The stadium is a good thing for students and a good thing for Katy. I applaud the school board and all the voters who supported the bond that provided this much needed facility. People from other places do not benefit from or get to use our facilities, nor do they have a vote, so I think that reporting on what random people from google think is not news at all but an attempt to cause problems.

  29. First off your ‘ newspaper’ is showing it’s small minded mis conception. We have 7 high schools in the district and at least 1 more in the works. Each High school has kids wanting to play football as well as other sports,bands, cheerleaders etc etc etc. UIL rules in Austin state how many days a game can be played. Unless you want back to back from 10:00 am to 10:00 pm Saturday’s and Friday and Thusrsday night, when else can teams play. The original plan was for stadium to be built off Grand parkway but home owners around Cinco bitched about lights, traffic congestion etc etc so they moved to new place. This stadium can have multiple uses NOT just football. Band competitions,hosting other sports opportunities and leasing for use of surrounding area smaller schools for playoffs. The expansion has also brought more business to area. Gas stations x 3, small businesses, apartments etc etc. That brings in more visitors which brings in more Money which helps keep taxes down. So instead of your petty muck raking why don’t you put on your rose colored glasses and see the positives. I am really tired at all this negativity. It was voted on, and well on time for completion. Get over it!

  30. I have lived in Katy for 40 years. The Katy School Board and the Administration have always had a “spend that taxpayer money” attitude. They have wasted millions (ask any Katy teacher—provided you can guarantee ironclad anonymity as the former superintendents and administrators have always been a vengeful bunch). So glad George Scott finally got on the Board. That guy bows to no one or entity except God. Go get them George!!!

  31. Thank you Covering Katy for this story! I’m a 1992 grad of MCHS and this makes me sick. Education is NOT about football or any other sport. Get your priorities straight KISD!

  32. Thank you again Mr. Spellman, for doing your job with integrety and putting your readership ahead of politics.

  33. I have subbed in Kisd and realize the disparity in the different schools around katy. It is embarrassing to think we have that many ignorant people who would vote for a ridiculously priced stadium instead of renovating and refurbishing many of the schools. If parents could see what some of the schools and the children zoned to those schools have they would be appalled. What percentage of students actually play football? Think about it-this is for the minority-I would rather see ALL the students have the same “playing field” educationally. This is beyond absurd and embarrassing.

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