LACKLAND AIR FORCE BASE, TEXAS —
Lackland Independent School District's co-terminus district jurisdiction could be temporarily lifted for this school year. The co-terminus designation means the district's boundary is exactly the same as Lackland's physical grounds.
"While Lackland ISD is a Texas school district, we are one of seven school districts across the entire country whose boundaries are identical to the military installation that it serves," said Lackland ISD Superintendent Dr. David Splitek. "In Texas, the implication is that we can't tax in order to raise money for our schools like other schools do through property taxes."
While other Texas school districts pass bonds to build new schools, Lackland does not have that ability. Lackland ISD relies mainly on federal impact aid based on the number of military kids living on base in military housing. The school district also receives some state aid dependent on school attendance.
"We are actually in better shape than the neighboring districts in San Antonio," Dr. Splitek said. "It's not that our buildings are any better, but we have much lower teacher-to-student ratios, and we have more counselors on campus than other schools. This helps a lot with our transient kids. We have kids here whose parents are deployed for six months or nine months, and we want to make sure that we are providing a safety net for them."
The number of children attending Lackland ISD could be affected this year due to the demolition of North Wherry, an on-base housing site neighborhood.
In order to compensate those families' needs, Lackland is leasing housing in Billy Mitchell Village, which is a neighborhood located on KellyUSA.
Because KellyUSA is in the city, the children living in Billy Mitchell Village now have the choice between attending Lackland ISD schools or attending local public schools.
According to Dr. Splitek there is a Texas law that will allow students temporarily living in off-base housing to attend schools located on base.
Upon legal review and approval, there are transportation plans in the works to facilitate those children who would still like to attend Lackland schools.
"The base is hoping to provide buses to bring those kids from Billy Mitchell to the schools," Dr. Splitek said. "We are hoping that the buses will help ensure our population doesn't take a huge dip. They will run buses during the morning, after school and late buses for children participating in extra-curricular activities."
The demolition of North Wherry and the construction going on at other housing sites on base is due to the privatization of housing occurring at Lackland.
"(North) Wherry has been scheduled for demolition as we move toward privatization. Since Billy Mitchell was open for leasing, we relocated the families occupying the 145 houses to Billy Mitchell," said Housing Flight Chief James Fisher, who started working for Lackland in May. "We have only two families left back there, but they are (moving to new assignments), so all of the families that needed to find housing have been effectively relocated."
Billy Mitchell will feature 208 housing units when the privatization process is complete.
"We don't have a firm commitment from a private contractor, but we are trying to be privatized by early next year," Mr. Fisher said. "It should take between 36 months and 48 months to complete the new housing once the privatization efforts are complete."