Category Archives: Education

Why the second ballot for the bond issue?

As early voting began this week, we received several questions about why the KISD Bond Issue election was on a separate ballot. Our readers described their experiences at the polls this way…

They waited in line at the Cailloux Theater as they diligently do for every election. Once they arrived at the front of the line at the appropriate precinct table, their ID was checked and they were given a ballot for the midterm general election. Then, they were asked if they would also like to vote in the KISD Bond Election. (Some voters are not asked this question, perhaps if they are outside of the KISD district lines or for some other reason.) Most of our readers requested the second ballot for the KISD election, but they wondered… Why isn’t this just on the regular ballot?

There seem to be a couple of reasons for this:

  1. This is the way it’s done in Kerr County for school elections. After speaking with several background sources, we’ve been told that Kerr County could opt to keep everything on one ballot, but this is the way the elections have been administered in Kerr County for quite some time, so this keeps with the practices that have been established over the past couple of decades — for better or for worse. Keep in mind that in addition to the KISD bond election, Harper ISD and Medina ISD also have elections during this same time period, which leads to the second reason for the split ballot…
  2. Potential ballot confusion. School district lines and precinct lines do not coincide, so within one precinct, you’d have some folks within KISD, some folks within Ingram ISD, or another school district. So within one precinct, the county might have to have three or four different ballots depending on which school district the voter resides in. This could lead to some serious confusion during an unusually busy early voting season.

District Lines versus Precinct Lines

If you live in the City of Kerrville, it’s likely that you reside with the Kerrville Independent School District (KISD). But Kerr County is home to a total of eight school districts: Kerrville, Center Point, Comfort, Medina, Hunt, Ingram, Harper, and Divide. And these school district lines are not drawn on top of voting precinct lines. Here’s an image of all eight districts in Kerr.

District lines for all eight districts within Kerr County, Texas.

And here’s an image of the voting precinct lines on top of those district lines. Precinct lines are shown here in thick black.

School districts and voting precinct lines overlaid.

As you can see, almost every voting precinct outside of the city limits of Kerrville has parts of multiple school districts within it. So, imagine how many different ballots would have to be ordered to correspond to each voting situation within each precinct! This could be a nightmare to administer with paper ballots on early voting days.

Early Voting at KISD Campuses

In addition to the early voting center at the Cailloux Theater in downtown Kerrville (which is available to all residents within Kerr County), KISD has established early voting centers at various campuses around Kerrville. But be aware… The ONLY ballot that is available at these locations is the KISD Bond Election. You CANNOT cast a ballot for other midterm election races such as Senate, House of Representatives, and statewide races.

BUT… The newspaper made a mistake. You CAN find this KISD bond ballot at the Cailloux Theater. You DO NOT have to travel to one of the campuses to cast this ballot. You can do it all in one place at the Cailloux Theater throughout the early voting times below:

October 22, 2018 to October 26, 2018 – Polls open 8:00am to 5:00pm.
October 27, 2018 – Polls open 7:00am to 7:00pm.
October 28, 2018 – Polls open 11:00am to 4:00pm.
October 29, 2018 to November 2, 2018 – Polls open 7:00am to 7:00pm.

The elections are  being administered with separate voter databases. So if you vote at a campus location, you can still cast your other ballot at the Cailloux Theater during early voting, or at your polling place on election day.

Bottom Line

The bottom line is this… If you live within KISD or one of the other school districts holding elections, be sure and ask specifically for that second ballot so that you can fully participate in the 2018 elections!

And if you have any questions, be sure to ask!

What would happen if Kerrville received 50 inches of rain?

The storms and subsequent flooding in southeast Texas have devastated communities from Corpus Christi to Rockport to Houston and beyond. Emergency management officials are classifying the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey as a 500-year flood event.

Hurricane Harvey near peak intensity on August 25 shortly before landfall in Texas.

The short answer to the question, “What would happen to Kerrville if we received 50 inches of rain?” is that we don’t really know for sure. During some of the largest floods in modern memory, we didn’t receive that much rain. And due to our topography, where the rain falls in surrounding areas is potentially more important, as our steep terrain causes water to rush downhill toward our rivers and streams.

In the flood of 1987, the Guadalupe’s headwaters area received only 5-10 inches of rain, causing a rise of 29 feet in Comfort. And in the flood of 1978, Tropical Storm Amelia caused up to 48 inches of rain to fall in some parts of the hill country, causing the Guadalupe River to flow at around 1500x its normal rate. The 1978 flood is probably the closest we’ve come to experiencing the amount of rain that is falling now in Houston, but because the topography of the areas is so much different, we experience the aftermath much differently, too.

One of the only sources of information we have to help us predict what a catastrophic flood might look like is FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program. The Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, is tasked with overseeing the National Flood Insurance Program, or NFIP. Within this program, participating communities are mapped for the likelihood of particular flooding events. These maps portray, at least in Kerr County, flood prone areas within a 100-year flood plain and a 500-year flood plain. Using these maps, insurance providers and the NFIP determine what folks pay for their flood insurance, and mortgage lenders determine whether or not they’ll require flood insurance. So these maps are not a guarantee of what will happen during a major flood, but they’re about the closest thing we have to a predictive model.

Contrary to popular notions, a 500-year flood doesn’t really mean that it will only happen once every 500 years. Actually, the 500-year expression is just a way to discuss the percentage chance of this type of event to build actuarial tables for flood insurance programs. So, in layman’s terms, a 500-year flood map really means, “there is a 0.2% chance of this event happening in a given year.”

So what do these maps look like for Kerrville? Our maps were redrawn in 2011 based on some new LiDAR topographic data. That is, basically a very detailed remote sensing operation was undertaken in that year, and the old maps (which were drawn back in 2001) were updated to reflect realities on the ground with higher accuracy and precision. So our current flood plain maps are dated 2011, and are available to download for free at the NFIP website.

Please note… These maps are not “guarantees” of anything! You can’t look at them and say, “oh, I’ll be fine, I’m outside the shaded area.” And on the flip side, you can’t look at them and know for sure that something will be flooded. These are based on the best data we have and the best models we have, but they’re for insurance purposes — not for emergency preparedness purposes. If you’re anywhere near a waterway, you should have plans for flooding. And as we’ve seen in Houston this week, even if you’re nowhere near a waterway, you may still be affected by flooding due to the increase in “impervious cover” in our urban areas. You may have never flooded before, but that’s no guarantee you won’t flood in the future. So, long story short… this is for informational purposes only and should not be used as a survival planning guide!

Here is an excerpt of the downtown Kerrville flood plain map.

I’ve highlighted a couple of items to take a closer look at. First, we see the light gray areas known as “ZONE X” on this map. Those are the 0.2% chance areas, aka 500-year flood. The darker gray areas are the “base flood” that has a 1% chance of happening in a year, aka the 100-year flood. The little numbers there are elevations… See 1616, 1618, etc.? That is the elevation of the base flood at that spot on the map. So if you’re building a structure, code requires that your floor be at least a foot above that elevation. And if you’re buying flood insurance for an existing structure, you get a better rate if you’re at least a foot above that elevation.

The bad thing about the FIRM maps, as pictured above, is that they’re hard to see in relation to streets, buildings, open spaces, topographic features, etc. So what they started doing in 2011 is offering this map data in a digital geographic format that can be viewed in GIS programs and Google Earth. This makes it easier to see where those flood zones are located, and this will help answer our question about the 500-year flood in Kerrville.

Downtown Kerrville

If we use this Zone X (500-year) line as our guide to what might happen in Kerrville in that type of event, here is what we see… The pink area is the “base flood” with a 1% chance. The pale blue area is the 0.2% chance (500-year event). As you can see in the image below, all of Louise Hayes park is within the base flood zone, and the entire mall and HEB south shopping center is inundated in the 500-year zone. And according to this map, most of the downtown areas north of the river would be outside both zones.

Flatrock Dam

Here’s another interesting map. Any time we place obstructions in the floodway (the river), you will see a “balloon” effect on the flood plain areas around it. Here’s the area around the Flatrock Dam in southeast Kerrville. Notice how the 500-year flood plain line balloons out to take in much of the low-lying areas in Comanche Trace.

Clearwater Paseo

Another area of the 0.2% zone that could be problematic for large residential populations is the area between Clearwater Paseo (the jail) and Loop 534. As you can see in this image, large numbers of homes are located in this area. By our count, a catastrophic flood could affect as many as 300 homes in this one area.

Quinlan Creek

In 2002, Kerrville experienced a major flood that affected the creeks and tributaries in town more than the river itself. Town Creek, Third Creek, and Quinlan Creek experienced major flooding that year, and the flooding followed a major drought. Those of us living in Kerrville during that time remember seeing cars in trees along Lytle Street, and in the aftermath, the city condemned multiple properties along those three creeks and initiated a large cleanup effort to remove impediments to flood waters.

Schreiner University is situated near the confluence of Quinlan Creek and the Guadalupe River. According to the FIRM map, the 500-year flood could inundate hundreds of homes in this area, and could also rise up into the Schreiner campus pretty significantly.

According to our maps, in Kerr County, at least 8,800 parcels of land are within or touched by the 1% or 0.2% flood zones. Again, this doesn’t mean they’d necessarily flood completely in a 500-year event, but it is something to consider and prepare for as we face a changing global climate.

Here’s the rest of Kerrville’s flood zones…

All of Kerrville’s Flood Hazard Zones

Download your area’s firm map at this address:

View Kerrville’s flood plain maps using the FEMA National Flood Hazard Layers:,30.0025546049908,-98.97914178710955,30.100621195131826

Questions about the flood plain in Kerrville should be directed to the local Flood Plain Administrators:

And, as always, don’t take unnecessary risks during a flood! Here’s a flood safety video produced by your local government agencies:

KISD 2015 Academic Performance Report

As mentioned in today’s Kerrville Daily Times article, the 2014-2015 Texas Academic Performance Report for Kerrville ISD is available to view and download. We’ve added the document to our page at the link below to make it easier to find. The full report is very interesting, and I encourage all parents to download it and check it out.School

Graduation Rates and Drop-Outs

Most surprising to me is that KISD has maintained a ZERO percent dropout rate for all grades 7-12, compared to the state average of 2-3% dropout rate. However, our district does show that 5.5% of the class of 2014 received a GED instead of regular diplomas, and only 89.5% actually graduated, compared to the state average of about 0.5% receiving GEDs, but higher than the state average for graduates (88.3%). So it appears on its face that instead of letting kids drop out, we’re moving them into GED programs, which is certainly better than dropping out!

Apparently, according to my interpretation of these stats, the last time we had ANYONE drop out of high school was back in 2011.

Advanced Courses and Dual Enrollment

One of the only areas where the district doesn’t meet with state averages is when it comes to the percentage of kids participating in advanced courses or dual enrollment courses. While the state average in 2013-2014 showed that 53.2% of students in grades 11-12 completed an advanced course in at least one subject, in KISD that number is only 47.5%. When broken down by subject, we have low completion in Language Arts and Science.

Average SAT/ACT Scores

The average SAT score for the Tivy Class of 2014 was 1501, while the state average was 1417. The average ACT score at Tivy was 22.3 while the state average was 20.6.

Going on to College

For 2012-2013, the state average for high school graduates that enroll in an institute of higher education was 56.9%, while Tivy’s average is just 41.8%. For years 2011-2012, the state average is 57.3% while Tivy’s average is just 37.8%. So we do have some work to do in this area to meet the state average.