Tomorrow from 7:00am to 7:00pm, 23 schools in CFISD will be polling places for voters to decide if CFISD administration will get a blank check for $1.2 BILLION of taxpayer money.
CFISD administration argues that they need the funds for district necessities such as school buildings, technology, athletic facilities, food service facilities, buses, etc. - all needed for updates or student growth. They have placed this bond on the ballot as “all or nothing.”
Local conservative groups are arguing there is too much “pork” in this bond. They are asking the voters to vote “No” tomorrow so CFISD can come back to the voters in November with the bond broken up into parts. That way the voters can approve the items they consider necessities such as schools and buses, and leave out items they do not want to fund at this time.
I haven’t met anyone who has a problem with building needed schools, updating air conditioning systems or buying buses to transport our kids. But the complaints I have heard about “pork” do make sense to me, as a retired teacher and as a taxpayer.
Some issues which made me vote “NO" on this bond.
· Blank Check – The voters are approving the bond amount of $1.2 BILLION – not the items to be purchased. CFISD can change their minds and decide to build a new administration building instead of swimming pools, and all the voters can do for recourse is vote out the school board in the next election. I prefer smaller bond amounts every few years so the district is more likely to use the funds as promised.
· All or Nothing – I do not see a need for GPS systems on CFISD busses. In 30 years, I never once had a student tardy to school because the bus driver got lost. I also do not see the need to remake the front entrance to CFISD schools with bullet resistant glass. In my experience, the most dangerous location on any campus is the cafeteria, not the front door. And, after being involved in school lockdowns over the years, I know that anything that can keep predators “out” and also be used to keep innocent people “in.” I am much more concerned about my grandchildren being targeted by sick individuals while they are in the fenced school playgrounds than inside their classrooms. I would like to see more security personnel patrolling our schools to protect our students than items that make people just “feel” they are safe.
· More indoor swimming complexes that seat 1,500 - I would rather see CFISD invest our money in vocational education, especially the “trades.” Not every CFISD student is college bound. The average salary for an electrician is $ 52,910, a plumber $46,660, and median starting annual salary for HVAC technicians is about $40,000. CFISD needs to invest in more career training before we build more athletic facilities.
But even more concerning for me than the bond itself - is the money behind this bond.
The facts all voters need to know before they vote:
“Say Yes For CFISDKids,” the PAC supporting this bond that claims to be “grassroots,” is the one that has sent all those expensive multi-color mailers to our homes. Guess how much of their “grassroots” donations have come from OUTSIDE CFISD? (PAC reports from 4/10/14 and 5/2/14)
Locations of these “grassroots” donors:
· League City
· Missouri City
· Spring Branch
· Fort Worth
· San Antonio
· GEORGIA !
They must be using some “Common Core” definition of “grassroots” because their PAC is certainly NOT local, spontaneous support.
Some other facts I found in the “Say Yes For CFISD Kids” PAC financials:(PAC reports from 4/10/14 and 5/2/14)
- $4,000 came from two current CFISD Trustees, whose campaigns were supported by these donors
- $3,400 came from the CFISD handpicked “Long Range Planning Committee” members, 9 of which are officers/ trustees of CFISD’sEducation Foundation
- $16,500 came from law firms; $10,000 from one of which makes its money from collections of delinquent taxes
- $26,935 came from architects
- $7,495 came from engineers
- $6,750 came from technology companies
What a coincidence that these donors represent the industries which will profit from the bond.
Now, compare those statistics to the “Citizens For fair BondElections” PAC – the one asking CFISD to come back in November with the bond broken up into parts:
- The largest donation was $250 and
- the entire $1,000 collected came from donors who live inside CFISD
Now that is “grassroots!”
So, before you vote tomorrow, think about the choice you are making:
A “YES” vote gives the CFISD Trustees a blank check for $1.2 BILLION of your money, hoping they spend it wisely, outside the influence of their campaign donors - or
A “NO” vote asks CFISD to come back in November with the bond broken up into parts for voters to choose which sections to support.
CFISD Election Day Polling Locations: here
Find your Precinct #: here