2009 FBISD Tax Hearing (On YouTube)

CLICK HERE FOR THE 2009 FBISD CONTROVERSIAL TAX HEARING (YES THEY ARE RAISING THEM AGAIN--see petition of over 500 district taxpayers asking for board accountability) --In case anyone missed it they raised the property tax rate again (4th time) in 2010 and more than likely will do so again in 2011 facing another projected 15-20 million dollar budget deficit, according to some media reports. ***NEW*** ..Petition TO STOP THE GSTC (Global Science Museum being planned at the district central office--near $30 million dollar project that superintendent Jenney is pushing): http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/stopthegcst/ (see update below on this apparently ending this project after 2 years)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Upcoming Dates!

Important Dates Coming Up!

Dec. 22 - Jan. 2 - Winter Holidays

January - School Board Recognition Month

Jan. 5 - Students and Staff Return for classes

Jan. 12 - Regular School Board Meeting - 7:00 PM

Jan. 13-16 - Semester Exams

Jan. 15 & 16 - Early dismissal High School (11:45 am); Middle School (12:45 pm)

Jan. 19 - Holiday/Martin L. King Day

January 26 - Regular School Board Meeting - 7:00 PM

January 29 - Upcoming Board Meetings

Monday, December 15, 2008

Chron: Teacher lunch time being reduced?

Teachers bombarded with meetings, their lunchtime stolen

During a Fort Bend school board meeting Monday night, Karrie Washenfelder, president of Fort Bend Employee Federation, which is a teacher union, urged school officials to stop bugging teachers with "excessive" meetings. . .

...said the half-hour duty-free lunch also is protected by the state law. She added:

"How sad that our teachers teaching bell-to-bell, overburdened with meetings before and after school, stuck with bus duty, hall duty, and lunch duty, can't have a 30-minute duty-free lunch?"

Get the full piece at: http://blogs.chron.com/fortbend/archives/2008/12/union_teachers.html

Monday, December 8, 2008

FBN: Reported Truancy Up In FBISD!

"In 2006-'07, 665 students were charged with truancy for having 10 or more unexcused absences. Another 162 were charged with the same thing but also were fined.

But those numbers soared the next year. In 2007-'08, 1,362 FBISD students were charged with truancy for 10 or more unexcused absences. Another 1,379 were not only charged for 10 or more unexcused absences, but also were fined." FBN

Get the full story at: http://fortbendnow.com/pages/full_story?page_label=home&id=748328&widget=push&article-Serious-On-campus-Crime-Down-At-FBISD-But-Truancy-Is-Up-Sharply%20=&instance=home_news_bullets&open=&

Monday, December 1, 2008

Important Dates-Take NOTE!

Important Dates Coming Up!

Dec. 8 - Regular School Board Meeting - 7:00 PM

Dec. 22 - Jan. 2 - Winter Holidays

Have a safe, warm and wonderful holiday season from all the volunteers here at FBISDwatch!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

FBN Reports: FBISD Police Office Having Major Management Problems

Criticism Of FBISD Police Chief Continues, District Remains Mum
by John Pape

More Fort Bend ISD police officers have come forward accusing their police chief of poor management and FBISD administrators of looking the other way while the chief used his office to run two failed campaigns for Galveston County Sheriff.

Complaints from school district police officers first surfaced in the wake of Chief J.L. Campbell’s second unsuccessful sheriff’s race. In the general election earlier this month, Campbell, who had been the Republican candidate for sheriff, lost to current Chief Deputy Freddie Poor by just over 1,500 votes.

Campbell previously ran against incumbent Gean Leonard during the 2004 election. Leonard decided not to seek re-election this year.

Following the election, several Fort Bend ISD police officers contacted FortBendNow and accused Campbell of using his school district office to run his campaign and district administrators of turning a blind eye to the use of district resources and time for a political race.

After a number of people claiming to work closely with Campbell posted comments on FortBendNow denying the claims, additional officers came forward to verify the initial allegations.

They also said members of the chief’s “inner circle” were trying to find out who was talking to the news media and that the atmosphere in the chief’s office had “become paranoid” following the initial reports, with a number of officers being accused of being the source of the reports. . .

Get the full story at: http://fortbendnow.com/pages/full_story?page_label=home&id=719195-Criticism-Of-FBISD-Police-Chief-Continues-District-Remains-Mum&article-Criticism-Of-FBISD-Police-Chief-Continues-District-Remains-Mum%20=&widget=push&instance=home_news_lead_story&open=&

Monday, November 17, 2008

Important Dates Coming Up!

Important Dates Coming Up!

Nov. 24-28 - Thanksgiving Holidays

Dec. 8 - Regular School Board Meeting - 7:00 PM

Dec. 22 - Jan. 2 - Winter Holidays

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

FBN Coverage of PeopleSoft Software Problems At FBISD


Chron: Continued Problems With FBISD Personnel Software System! (Total costs now nearing $10 million)

FBISD pumps more money into controversial software program
Consultant hired to install tax-regulation updates

After a multimillion-dollar investment into a problem-ridden business software system, Fort Bend Independent School District officials Monday OK’d another commitment of up to $60,000 to update the program.
The payment will be made to a consultant with Red River, a Lebanon, NH-based information technology service company, for a nine-week project to integrate government tax updates into the system, said Robert Calvert, the school district’s chief informational officer.

The financial and human resources management software system, known as PeopleSoft, is provided by the namesake company, which issues about six updates during a year to incorporate tax-regulation changes by local, state and federal taxing jurisdictions, Calvert said.

The software system, which the district introduced in early 2007 to replace an old system, has been plagued with technical problems from the beginning, causing issues such as payroll snags — delayed payrolls and lack of timely pay increases — and prompting officials to repeatedly allocate large amounts of funds for fixes ¾ the last batch totaling $300,000 six months ago.
Calvert said about 95 percent of the system replacement has been completed. Total project cost could be anywhere between $5 million and $10 million, he said. That replacement work has prevented timely installation of tax updates released this year and eventually an outside consultant has to be hired for the job as the updates must be integrated into the system by the year-end, Calvert said.

Before joining the rest of the school board in approving the $60,000 request, board president Sonal Bhuchar and trustee David Reitz expressed concerns about the cost.
“That $60,000 can hire a person for a whole year,” Reitz said after learning that the price is for a nine-week project by one person.

Get the full article: http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/nb/fortbend/news/6105838

Monday, November 10, 2008

Thursday, November 6, 2008

FBN Reports Trouble In FBISD Police Dept.

“It was a tough budget year and there was just nobody there to see to the needs of the department,” another officer said. “He made it pretty clear that this isn’t where he wants to be; all the officers know it. It’s had to have much respect for that.”

One district staffer said the blame for the situation should be shared with Superintendent Dr. Timothy Jenney and other top administrators for allowing it to happen.

“For all intents and purposes, Chief Campbell has been running a campaign out of his (district) officer for the better part of the year and nobody said anything,” the staffer said. “It was the worst-kept secret in the district and if the superintendent claims he didn’t know about it, he’s either not being truthful or he’s totally out of touch.” FBN

Get the full story at: http://fortbendnow.com/pages/full_story?article-Fort-Bend-ISD-Police-Chief-Loses-In-Race-For-Galveston-Sheriff-%20=&hash=comments_347983&page_label=home&id=347983&widget=push&open=&#comments_347983

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Upcoming Events:

Important Dates Coming Up!

Oct. 30 - Town Hall Meeting - 7:00 PM - Administrative Annex

Nov. 2 - Standard Time Begins (move clocks back one hour)

Nov. 10 - Regular School Board Meeting - 7:00 PM

Nov. 11 - Veterans Day

Nov. 24-28 - Thanksgiving Holidays

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

FBN: Several FBISD Schools Fail To Meet AYP!

Fewer Schools Fail AYP, But Some Fail For 3rd Or Even 4th Year In A Row
by Bob Dunn

...according to preliminary so-called Adequate Yearly Progress standards, just released by the Texas Education Agency, four schools that missed AYP standards in the past are in worse shape now than a year ago. . .

• At Fort Bend Independent School District, Christa McAuliffe Middle School students failed to pass AYP standards for math for the second year in a row, triggering what's known as a Stage 1 designation.

...McAuliff must be granted a request - within certain guidelines - to transfer their children to other middle schools in the district that have better academic ratings.

• Willowridge High School and Missouri City Middle School, both in Fort Bend ISD, have received the dubious distinction of a Stage 3 rating.

Students at both schools failed to achieve minimum AYP standards in math, for the fourth consecutive year. And at Willowridge, the graduation rate also was too low to qualify for AYP, according to state figures.

Under state and federal mandate, Fort Bend ISD officials - unless they successfully appeal the Stage 3 designations - are required to perform "a significant intervention" at the two schools.

As part of this intervention, the district is required to take at least one of six steps, according to the TEA:

- Replace the school staff "who are relevant to the failure to make AYP;

- Institute a new curriculum;

- Significantly decreate "management authority at the campus level";

- Appoint an outside expert to advise the caumpus on its progress toward making AYP;

- Extend the school year or length of school days;

- Restructure the "internal organizational structure" of the school.

Students at Willowridge and Missouri City Middle School also have the option to transfer out to better-performing schools.

Other area schools missing AYP standards for the first time in the 2007-'08 year were:

Dulles Elementary in FBISD (reading);

Bush High School in FBISD (math);

FBISD Legislative Agenda Good Start But More Is Needed

Recently the FBISD school board initiated a legislative agenda including several much needed goals, but some were left out. Namely impact fees on the over-development of high density apartments, that according to the GFBCEDC is now approaching 20% of all housing. The lack of taxes from these projects being interjected into our community by the Houston development interests can have a severe impact on over-crowding in our schools and a deterioration of the tax base not to mention other quality of life issues. The original goal, according to the GFBCEDC president Jeff Wiley was to keep this growth at about 10%. Further, developers building these large master-planned communities should be required to kick in land for the schools they want placed in their communities at cost. Currently the district is charged full market value on the land which is then passed to us, the taxpayers, through more bonds and higher debt. The developers need these schools in their neighborhoods to sell their properties, the least they could do is kick-in!

Other included FBISD agenda items are (from FB Star):

To make sure all area legislators, including Harris County and the city of Houston, hear their plea, Bhuchar said trustees are planning a breakfast gathering so they can personally impress their plight and make legislators understand it and provide relief.

“We want to invite everybody because they all need to know it and hear it. I think school funding has to be their No. 1 issue. Otherwise the public education system is going to be in a lot of trouble. So many (Texas school) districts either had to go to deficit budgets for this year while many others had roll-back elections,” Bhuchar said.

“We want to take this approach so at least our local legislators can see what our problems are and they can also see how hard we are trying to provide the best education,” the board president said.

The second item on the board’s legislative agenda is unfunded mandates, which Bhuchar says are passed at every legislative session and cost FBISD $25 million a year. “They continue to grow each year because every year new ones come out. Seat belts on school buses will be next and who is going to pay for them. Of course, everyone agrees that it’s a good idea but it costs money.”

The board also wants employees’ birth dates and cell phone numbers included in the prohibitions of what an employer may divulge, and they want school districts to be able to set their own start date for each school year.

Student discipline regarding cyber crimes are also part of the FBISD legislative agenda. They are requesting being able to expel a student who commits a serious cyber crime rather than the current punishment of removing a student to a disciplinary alternative education program.

The board in its agenda included FBISD’s own recent problem with cyber crime when more than “25 students were found to have tampered with the district computers” and “changed the grades of at least 60 students.”

The legislative agenda also “opposes any legislation which would endorse, create or permit the use of private school vouchers for any purpose” because they would “worsen the current financial crisis the public schools face.

“While the voucher debate is often framed in terms of choice and competition, in the final analysis, it’s really about money, and there can be no question but that private school vouchers have a deleterious effect on our public school while at the same time bolstering sectarian and non-sectarian private schools, including many for-profit enterprises,” the voucher agenda item states.

It goes on to say that any dollars used for a voucher program should instead be used to reduce public school class sizes, pay for tutoring and summer school for low achieving students, address the teacher shortage and reduce dependence on property taxes.

The agenda also says the district should not have to make retirement contributions for teachers, librarians, counselors and nurses that are in excess of the state minimum salary for such employees, while the state makes such contributions on amounts paid up to the minimum.

And last, the agenda supports legislation that exempts school districts from having to pay for water tap and utility connection fees.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Important Dates Coming Up!

Important Dates Coming Up!

Oct. 13 - Regular School Board Meeting - 7:00 PM

Oct. 14 - College Night - Marshall HS, 6:00 - 8:00 PM

Oct. 16 - College Night - Wheeler Field House, 6:00 - 8:00 PM

Oct. 24 - FBISD Community Conference

Oct. 27 - Regular School Board Meeting - 7:00 PM

Sunday, October 5, 2008

“Deficit spending creates a de facto tax hike, because deficits can be repaid only by future tax increases.”
- Ron Paul/US Representative (CD-14)

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

FBN: More Problems With Payroll Software: Incompetent Software Design or Continued District Leadership Problems?

This segment was taken from an ongoing apparent problem with the payroll software the district is using:

"This is the second year in a row the district has struggled to implement board-approved pay changes at the beginning of a new school year. Last year, the district experienced what Superintendent Timothy Jenney called “monumental problems” with paychecks that did not reflect new pay schedules because of problems with the district’s PeopleSoft human resources/payroll software. Not only did employees not receive the pay raises, some found their pay docked when the system failed to properly credit them when leave was used. " FBN

Question: How much of our tax dollars is the district willing to throw at this issue before they seek another software provider with adequate support?

This is from the article in FBN titled "Some FBISD Employees May Not See Salary Changes For Several Months" by John Pape located at http://fortbendnow.com/pages/full_story?page_label=home&article-Some-FBISD-Employees-May-Not-See-Salary-Changes-For-Several-Months%20=&id=277113-Some-FBISD-Employees-May-Not-See-Salary-Changes-For-Several-Months&widget=push&instance=home_news_lead_story&open=&

Monday, September 29, 2008

Important Dates Coming Up!

Important Dates Coming Up!

Oct. 2 - Parent Conferences - Elementary Early Dismissal

Oct. 6 - Band Night

Oct. 13 - Regular School Board Meeting - 7:00 PM

Oct. 14 - College Night - Marshall HS, 6:00 - 8:00 PM

Oct. 16 - College Night - Wheeler Field House, 6:00 - 8:00 PM

Oct. 24 - FBISD Community Conference

Oct. 27 - Regular School Board Meeting - 7:00 PM

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

FBN: McAuliffe Middle School May Be Closed Rest Of Semester

McAuliffe Middle School May Be Closed Rest Of Semester
by John Pape, FBN

Fort Bend ISD’s Christa McAuliffe Middle School in Missouri City may be closed through the remainder of the semester after sustaining severe roof damage from Hurricane Ike.

The district has confirmed that students from McAuliffe will be temporarily assigned to Willowridge High School.

“McAuliffe Middle School was heavily damaged during the hurricane, losing a large portion of its roof. The students from McAuliffe will be temporarily, maybe for the remainder of the semester, housed at Willowridge High School,” Fort Bend ISD Communications Director Mary Ann Simpson said in a statement yesterday. “This information was shared with many parents and community members over the weekend via a minister’s network and through key parent communicators. We are finalizing the logistical details today for a smooth transition, and a parent letter and phone call out will notify parents and students of the specifics.”

Simpson added the district is working to get students back to their regular campus as soon as repairs can be completed. Get the full story below:


Monday, September 22, 2008

FBN: FBISD Update On School Closures-

Fort Bend ISD Students At 4 Schools Without Power Won't Have Classes Today
by Bob Dunn, FBN

All but four Fort Bend Independent School District campuses - Willowridge High, Quail Valley and McAuliffe middle schools and Ridgegate Elementary - now have power and will resume classes this morning.

In a statement Sunday evening, Fort Bend ISD officials said all campuses except the four listed above will open for classes at their normal time. Several of the district's school buildings lost power after Hurricane Ike hit the area Sept. 13. . .

Get the full story at http://www.fortbendnow.com/pages/full_story?page_label=home&id=237296-Fort-Bend-ISD-Students-At-Schools-Without-Power-Won-t-Have-Classes-Today&widget=push&article-Fort-Bend-ISD-Students-At-Schools-Without-Power-Won-t-Have-Classes-Today%20=&instance=home_news_lead_story&open=&

Sunday, September 21, 2008

ALL FBISD Schools Open Monday Except The Following (Until Power Is Restored)

Campuses with NO POWER are: Arizona Fleming, Briargate, Dulles, E.A. Jones, Lantern Lane, Lexington Creek, and Ridgegate Elementary; also Sugar Land Middle, Quail Valley Middle, Missouri City Middle, Christa McAuliffe Middle, First Colony Middle, and Dulles Middle; also Dulles High, Hightower High, Progressive High, and Willowridge High Schools.

Important Dates Coming Up!

Sept. 22 - Regular School Board Meeting - 7:00 PM
Sept. 26 - Holiday - County Fair Day
Oct. 2 - Parent Conferences - Elementary Early Dismissal
Oct. 6 - Band Night
Oct. 13 - Regular School Board Meeting - 7:00 PM
Oct. 24 - FBISD Community Conference
Oct. 27 - Regular School Board Meeting - 7:00 PM

Comment: Most of the schools are in the east end of the county and Missouri City.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

School District Update On Ike-

FBISD Announcements about School Closings and District Operations- Updated on Tues., Sept. 16, 2:15 p.m.

Please be advised of the following important announcements concerning our Fort Bend ISD schools and district operations:

All FBISD schools are closed until Monday, Sept. 22, due to Hurricane Recovery. All district activities are canceled until Monday, Sept. 22.

All administrative offices are closed on Tuesday, Sept. 16; Wednesday, Sept. 17; and Thursday, Sept. 18.

All Fort Bend ISD staff members should report to work on Friday, Sept. 19.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Follow updates on school closures and Hurricane Ike-

Follow updates on school closures and Hurricane Ike-


***FBISD schools will be closed Tuesday & Weds due to the Hurricane damage.

Important Dates Coming Up!

Sept. 22 - Regular School Board Meeting - 7:00 PM
Sept. 26 - Holiday - County Fair Day
Oct. 2 - Parent Conferences - Elementary Early Dismissal
Oct. 6 - Band Night
Oct. 13 - Regular School Board Meeting - 7:00 PM
Oct. 24 - FBISD Community Conference
Oct. 27 - Regular School Board Meeting - 7:00 PM

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

FB Sun/FB Independent: No CAD CAPs,…Why Mr. Howard?

Guest column as it appeared in the Fort Bend Sun & Fort Bend Independent following the FBISD budget hearings and vote:

No CAD CAPs,…Why Mr. Howard?


I’d like to start off with a quote from a local media source using the Tax Foundation & US Census bureaus government finance division data:

"According to the latest study by the Tax Foundation (2006-07), Fort Bend County property taxes are higher than any other Texas county, and sixth-highest in the nation in terms of taxes as a percent of the median home value. Only 5 upstate counties in New York have a higher amount." FBN

-This is in reference to the “fund balance” (school surplus) we often hear so much about and the recent tax increase just voted in…

Consider this, the district, according to several media sources, through open records requests, is keeping nearly a 100 million dollar fund balance (surplus). Almost 20 million over state suggested guidelines in their accounts. Additionally, the district included, in November of last year, a record bond/debt to target growth related areas. Why, with all this money, can they not balance the budget without a tax increase this year? The district should be able to give the teachers & employees a raise while balancing the budget and drawing down the size of the fund balance (district surplus) within state guides. We should also be seeing a concerted effort by other local entities and our legislature to support appraisal caps, as is a recent proposal by Dan Patrick (R). Ask Bob Hebert (R), our chief county judge, some local mayors, like Allen Owen (R) and our state rep., Charlie Howard (R), why our county and some of its city officials are behind the hiring of lobbyist we pay our taxes to in order to defeat bills like representative Patricks? Just this year alone our county had another record number of CAD valuation protests filed.

Is Planning & Urbanization Good?

Further, who is conspicuously not at the table during all this? Over the past few years we have seen the school district charged full market value on land for the big master-planned communities who need district schools in their communities to sell homes/land. Why are these large companies not at the table kicking in the school land at cost, saving taxpayers/voters tens of millions of dollars? Why are some of these same development companies allowed to proliferate high density multi-family housing (apartments) in our school districts knowing full well it creates over-crowded conditions with less produced taxes per student head. This is the same crowd that pushed through the record bond debt for the district last year spending large amounts advertising for it with the slogan, “we like higher property valuations” (which is code for higher tax appraisals). Shouldn't they be at the tax table giving back to the community, rather than just taking? Sugar Land city council is engaged in an apartment dispute with a company right now that could further harm the district as we urbanize at the direction of these special interests.

All parties need to be at the table kicking in before taxes are increased! I would also like to strongly encourage all taxing entities to hold these PUBLIC tax hearings at times convenient for the commuting workers and families of our community.



Monday, September 8, 2008

Monday, September 1, 2008

FBN: Bhuchar Issues Statement On FBISD Budget, Howard Criticism

In a statement issued late Friday afternoon, Fort Bend ISD Board President Sonal Bhuchar said “the record must be set straight” over the district’s recent decision to raise the district’s debt service tax rate for the upcoming fiscal year.

During a public hearing on the proposed budget and tax rate, State Rep. Charlie Howard (R-Sugar Land) criticized trustees for raising the tax rate when other public entities were either lowering or maintaining existing rates.

Howard’s remarks brought strong rebukes from trustees Steve Smelley and Bob Broxson. Smelley said he was “humiliated” by Howard’s statement, while Broxson suggested Howard did not support public education.

In a later statement to FortBendNow, Howard said he had not intended to insult trustees, but his goal in representing constituents was to see their property tax burden lowered. Howard also said he was addressing the board as a resident and taxpayer, and not in his role as a state representative.

In her statement, Bhuchar cited Howard’s remarks. She defended the board’s decision to raise the debt service tax rate, saying that voters approved the increase as a part of last year’s bond referendum. ...(get the full story at FBN)

FBW comment:
This is the same RECORD bond election that Howard and his edc PAC helped push. He then comes back to the district and complains when they have to increase taxes to begin to pay off this debt...

Thursday, August 28, 2008

FB Sun Covers First Ever FBISD Budget Deficit!

Fort Bend ISD approves proposed budget

Published: 08.27.08

Fort Bend ISD board members made no modifications to the district’s proposed $477.5 budget despite opposition from several residents and a state official to various aspects of the 2008-09 budget.

Board members gave their “OK” to the budget despite a $9.9 million deficit, and also gave the green light to several major expenditure increases, including employee pay raises.

The approved budget includes a 3 percent pay increase on base salary for all district employees, bringing starting salaries for teachers to $44,000.

The newly approved budget also includes $5.1 million for additional staffing, $1.2 million in TASB proposed equity adjustments and $2.26 million in increases for vehicle fuel inflation, among other expenditures.

Prior to the budget’s approval, several speakers voiced opposition to aspects of the budget, including Texas State Rep. Charlie Howard. . .

. . . Board members listened to several other comments from the public on the proposed budget, including

former school board candidate and Fresno resident Rodrigo Carreon.

“Some of our staff here have been working 23 years and never got a raise,” said Carreon.

Carreon questioned why funds from the district were going to the state.

The Fresno resident recommended the district look at alternative fuels such as natural gas versus diesel to save on fuel expenses.

A member of the Fort Bend Employee Federation encouraged the board to improve pay increases for classified employees and teachers above TASB recommendations.

“Equity adjustments and pay increases won’t lift our employees above the poverty level,” said the federation member, echoing a sentiment shared by an earlier speaker.

Richmond resident, Chris Calvin, said he would like to see the board take a closer look at the fund balance.

“Why with all of this money can’t we balance the budget without a tax increase this year,” said Calvin, citing open record information showing the district with a $93.8 million fund balance.

Fort Bend resident Carlos Kane told board members that he did not want to see his property taxes go up.

He expressed strong opposition to board members for proposing the .02 cent tax increase and encouraged board members to remedy the budget deficit through monies in the fund balance rather than by increasing taxes on homeowners.

“I have no objection to teacher’s getting their raises, they should have gotten them a long time ago,” said Kane.

“What I have an objection to is the $100 million dollars that you all had stashed in a trust fund,” said Kane

(follow this link for the full FB Sun story)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

It's Official, District Approves First Deficit Budget!

Lawmaker upset with FBISD tax-rate hike
Union not satisfied with workers' raises
By ZEN T.C. ZHENG Copyright 2008 Houston Chronicle

Lawmaker irked

During the budget public hearing and the regular meeting that followed when trustees adopted the budget, several trustees praised the budget and the 3-percent pay raise for employees. However, not all meeting attendees agreed.
Trustee Steve Smelley described Fort Bend ISD's property tax rate as low among districts in the Houston area, with Katy Independent School District topping the list.

Katy ISD's proposed 2008-09 budget of $524.9 million is based on the same tax rate as last year or $1.52 per $100 of valuation.

Smelley said, "We've been good stewards of our taxpayers' money and invest it wisely. That allowed us to the things we do and still save our taxpayers money when we can."

Texas Rep. Charlie Howard, R-Sugar Land, said he was "disappointed" with Smelley.
Howard pointed out that the district was raising its property tax rate unnecessarily while other taxing jurisdictions, such as Fort Bend County and the city of Sugar Land, have lowered their rates.

"As I walk around the district on an annual basis, the biggest complaint I have heard has been property taxes," Howard said. "Mr. Smelley, I appreciate your comparison of Fort Bend ISD's tax rate with school districts in the area. But I remind you that our tax burden is a function of the tax rate and the appraisals. Our appraisals have been going much higher than most school districts in the state."

Resident Chris Calvin lashed out at school officials for not "maximizing public input."
Both Calvin and Howard took issue with the district's public hearing scheduled at 5 p.m., an inconvenient time for those who were just getting off work in Houston to fight through peak-hour traffic.

"You are setting your tax rate at 7 and you are having a hearing at 5, how much time do you have in taking into consideration any comments you'll get?" Howard asked Smelley before being interrupted by trustee Bob Broxson who announced that Howard's three-minute speech time was up.

Resident Carlos Cain told trustees that he was "mad" at the 2-cent tax rate hike and that district officials had in the past denied to him that there was surplus money.

"I don't have an objection to teachers getting raises that they should've gotten a long time ago. What I have objection to is $100 million that y'all have stashed in a trust fund and y'all denied, denied and denied," Cain said. "If you have a fuel deficit in your budget, don't focus on the homeowners who are already struggling."

FBISDWatch comment:

Board members, who fully pushed the record bond debt last year, criticized the lawmaker (Howard) for opposing this increase to help service the bond debt he too supported at the end of '07. All of this while the district is sitting on a near 100 million in surplus dollars.

Get the full story here....

and this related piece here...

Click here for latest updates...

More updates...

Thursday, August 21, 2008

FBS: FBISD Adopts Deficit Budget For The First Time In District History (this includes a near $100 million dollar fund balance surplus)-

FBW comment:
In 2007 the school district asked for and received a record bond debt for the fast growing school district. Now in this Fort Bend Star piece, for the first time in district history, the system will be operating a deficit budget. This while sitting on a near $100 million dollar surplus in their fund balance. What does this mean for the future of the district? Are we selling out our childrens future to further taxes and bond debt? Why won't the BOT and central office use the surplus, which is close to $20 million dollars over the states guides for these accounts?-Click here for the full story from Fort Bend Star--

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Chron: Nearly $100 Million In District Fund Balance (Special Acct.)!

Board considers increase in tax rate, salaries

Full story available at the chronicle-click here-

A 2-cent tax rate hike and a 3-percent pay raise for all employees are included in a budget proposal that Fort Bend Independent School District officials are fine-tuning for 2008-09.
Residents will have a chance to tell school officials what they think about the proposed budget of $474 million at a public meeting on Aug. 25 at 5 p.m. at the district administration building, 16431 Lexington Blvd. in Sugar Land. . .

. . .The proposed $474 million budget would include expenditures totaling about $11.3 million more than the 2007-08 budget.
As the proposed 2008-09 expenditures would fall short of the projected revenues by $9.3 million, district officials are considering dipping into a pool of funds known as the fund-balance account. The account, with a current balance of $93.8 million, is surplus money leftover from previous year budgets.

That balance exceeds the maximum amount of what the state recommends to keep in savings for rainy days by $18 million, according to officials of the Fort Bend Employee Federation, a district employee union that has been pushing for higher pay increases for classified employees such as bus drivers and workers at cafeterias and warehouses.
FBW comment:

Do the voters realize that the district is keeping nearly 100 million dollars in a fund balance account from past budgets? How much more of our monies are being tucked away without our approval for a "rainy day".

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

FBN: Dr. Jenney Attempts To Put Rumors To Rest About Possible Raise-

Jenney Raise Rumors Not True, School District Says
by John Pape, FBN

Despite rumors to the contrary, Fort Bend ISD Superintendent Dr. Timothy Jenney has not received a substantial raise or bonus from school trustees.

The rumors began to circulate after the recent district TAKS results and state accreditation rankings were announced. Amounts of the alleged raise ranged as high as $100,000.

Several of the rumors also appeared on Fort Bend-related blogs. Some linked the raise or bonus to the accreditation ranking results.

According to the district, however, Jenney has received neither a raise nor a bonus...

Click here for the full story.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

FBN: FBISD Sets Budget & Tax Hearing-

"To comply with provisions of the Texas Education Code, the board is required to set and conduct a public meeting to give taxpayers an opportunity to offer input on the proposed budget and tax rates. At the recommendation of district administrators, trustees set the public hearing for Aug. 25 at 5 p.m. in the board room of the district administration building.

The board also set the proposed tax rates at .23 per $100 valuation for debt service, and $1.04 for district maintenance and operations.

In introducing the tax rates for trustees’ consideration, Board President Sonal Bhuchar stressed that the establishment of the rates did not mean trustees were voting to adopt them."

Get the full story:

Monday, August 11, 2008

From FortBendWeb.com: Is The BOT Considering A Substantial Raise For Dr. Jenney?

It has been reported to FBW, that an unconfirmed rumor is circulating on a number of fort bend blog-sites, that apparently the FBISD school board may be considering a large raise for the superintendant of schools during this reported budget crisis and with no rating increase for the district (academically acceptable) in 2007-08. This too followed a record bond debt voted at the end of 2007. For more on the budget crisis, see this FB Star piece:

FBISD dilemma: raises and deficit
budget or balanced budget and no raises

By Barbara Fulenwider, Fort Bend Star
The Fort Bend ISD board is between a rock and a hard place. They can adopt a balanced budget that includes no raises or much staffing beyond campuses or give employee raises and adopt a deficit budget.

The superintendent of another school district, faced with a similar scenario, said it’s a problem 50 percent of Texas districts are facing this year thanks to legislators having changed the school funding formula two years ago. While the state’s public school districts are pinched, the state has a big bankroll this year. . . (get the full story below)

FBW comment: It concerns this FBW contributor, that in a district experiencing excessive growth and bond debt, along with mediocre academic performance, especially in the middle and high schools of the east end of the district (no recognized or exemplary campuses), that the board may be considering such an action as rewarding the chief school executive. We will update this story as it develops.

Story sources:




Friday, August 8, 2008

FBS: Deficit Spending May Become Reality For The First Time In FBISD

FBISD dilemma: raises and deficit
budget or balanced budget and no raises

By Barbara Fulenwider
The Fort Bend ISD board is between a rock and a hard place. They can adopt a balanced budget that includes no raises or much staffing beyond campuses or give employee raises and adopt a deficit budget.

The superintendent of another school district, faced with a similar scenario, said it’s a problem 50 percent of Texas districts are facing this year thanks to legislators having changed the school funding formula two years ago. While the state’s public school districts are pinched, the state has a big bankroll this year.

So with having to operate with $465 million, the same amount of dollars as last year, while needing more staff for two new schools and paying increased fuel prices, the district’s Chief Financial Officer Mike Seale presented the board with three options on raises.

The first is a one percent raise for all employees and a projected budgeted deficit of $1,057,700; the second is a two percent raise with a deficit of $5,605,900; the third is a three percent raise and a projected budgeted deficit of $9,251,100. Seale said staff has “not made a recommendation to the board” regarding the three options.

He pointed to the fact that Cypress-Fairbanks school district “is cutting staff and freezing salaries” and the “Alief is giving a big raise but preparing to go into their fund balance between $20 to $25 million.”

What the board is wrestling with, Seale said, “is making sure they give teachers and the rest of staff the largest possible raise and still be fiscally responsible.”. . . (get the full story at http://www.fortbendstar.com/080608/n_FBISD%20dilemma%20raises%20and%20deficit%20budget%20or%20balanced%20budget%20and%20no%20raises.htm)

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Upcoming Important Dates-

Important Dates:

August 11 - Board Budget Workshop - 5:00 PM

August 11 - Regular School Board Meeting - 7:00 PM

August 12 - New Teacher Orientation - Dulles High School - 8:00 AM

August 16 - FBISD Parent Organizations/Booster Clubs Meeting - 9:00 AM - 1:00 PM - Admin. Annex

August 19 - Summer Graduation, Wheeler Field House - 6:30 PM

August 25 - Classes begin for the 2008-09 school year

August 25 - Budget Public Hearing - Board Room - 5:00 PM

August 25 - Regular School Board Meeting/Adopt Budget and Tax Rate - 7:00 PM

Sept. 1 - Labor Day Holiday

Friday, August 1, 2008

FBN: FBISD Rated Academically Acceptable, below KISD

Katy and Needville school districts jumped to "Recognized" status in the state's just-released academic ratings data for 2008, while Fort Bend County's other district maintained the same ratings as last year.

According to academic rating data released Friday afternoon by the Texas Education Agency, Fort Bend ISD, Lamar Consolidated ISD and Stafford Municipal School District all were rated as "Academically Acceptable," one notch below Katy and Needville. . .

-Get the full story at: http://fortbendnow.com/pages/full_story?page_label=home&article-Katy--Needville-ISDs-Boost-Their-Academic-Ratings--Kendleton-ISD-Gets-Warning%20=&id=169878-Katy--Needville-ISDs-Boost-Their-Academic-Ratings--Kendleton-ISD-Gets-Warning&widget=push&instance=home_news_lead_story&open=&

Ratings found at:


Full Campus Ratings & Lists For FBISD:

ACCOUNTABILITY RATING: Academically Acceptable

CAMPUS LIST (in campus number order)


001 DULLES H S Academically Acceptable
002 WILLOWRIDGE H S Academically Acceptable
004 CLEMENTS H S Recognized
005 KEMPNER H S Academically Acceptable
006 LAWRENCE E ELKINS H S Academically Acceptable
007 STEPHEN F AUSTIN H S Recognized
008 HIGHTOWER H S Academically Acceptable
010 FORT BEND CO ALTER Not Rated: Other
011 GEORGE BUSH HIGH SCHOOL Academically Acceptable
012 THURGOOD MARSHALL HIGH SCHOOL Academically Acceptable
013 WILLIAM B TRAVIS HIGH SCHOOL Academically Acceptable
041 DULLES MIDDLE Academically Acceptable
042 MISSOURI CITY MIDDLE Academically Acceptable
043 SUGAR LAND MIDDLE Academically Acceptable
044 QUAIL VALLEY MIDDLE Academically Acceptable
045 FIRST COLONY MIDDLE Academically Acceptable
046 CHRISTA MCAULIFFE MIDDLE Academically Acceptable
047 HODGES BEND MIDDLE Academically Acceptable
048 LAKE OLYMPIA MIDDLE Academically Acceptable
049 MACARIO GARCIA MIDDLE Academically Acceptable
052 BILLY BAINES MIDDLE SCHOOL Academically Acceptable
053 DAVID CROCKETT MIDDLE SCHOOL Academically Acceptable
101 E A JONES EL Academically Acceptable
102 LAKEVIEW EL Recognized
108 BLUE RIDGE EL Academically Acceptable
109 RIDGEMONT EL Academically Acceptable
110 MEADOWS EL Recognized
111 QUAIL VALLEY EL Academically Acceptable
112 DULLES EL Recognized
113 BRIARGATE EL Recognized
114 TOWNEWEST EL Recognized
115 LANTERN LANE EL Academically Acceptable
116 RIDGEGATE EL Academically Acceptable
117 COLONY BEND EL Recognized
118 MISSION BEND EL Recognized
119 SUGAR MILL EL Exemplary
120 SETTLERS WAY EL Recognized
121 PALMER EL Recognized
122 HUNTERS GLEN EL Academically Acceptable
123 HIGHLANDS EL Recognized
124 MISSION GLEN EL Exemplary
125 PECAN GROVE EL Exemplary
126 AUSTIN PARKWAY EL Recognized
129 MISSION WEST EL Recognized
131 EDGAR GLOVER JR EL Academically Acceptable
134 BURTON EL Academically Acceptable
136 BRAZOS BEND EL Exemplary
143 MARY AUSTIN HOLLEY ELEM Academically Acceptable
145 OAKLAND ELEMENTARY Academically Acceptable

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Discipline Disparity In FBISD? See this FBN Graduation Report

. . . the district didn't fare as well in the discipline category. The Schott study criticized a national tendency toward giving black males a disproportionate share of out-of-school suspensions and expulsions.

At Fort Bend ISD, the study indicates that more than 29% of out-of-school suspensions in 2005-06 went to black males, while only 6.18% went to white males.

Also, the study said, black male students were classified as gifted and talented fewer than one-third as often as white male students, and were classified as mentally retarded nearly four times as often as their white classmates.

"If Black male students had been admitted to Gifted/Talented programs at a rate comparable to that of White male students, at least an additional 1,000 students would have been able to take advantage of those program resources."

From: http://fortbendnow.com/pages/full_story?article-Report-Slams-Schools-For-Low-Black-Male-Graduation-Rates---Except-At-Fort-Bend%20=&hash=comments_167776&page_label=home&id=167776&widget=push&open=&#comments_167776

Friday, July 25, 2008

FBS: K-6 program to start at 10 FBISD elementary schools in August

K-6 program to start at 10 FBISD elementary schools in August

By Barbara Fulenwider

When Fort Bend ISD announced it was going to make some elementary schools K-6, they caught flak from parents, students and some teachers but that was a year ago and today it’s ready to be rolled out.

Marc Smith, the district’s assistant superintendent for elementary schools, brought trustees up to date on it at their July 14 board meeting. Ten elementary schools will have a pilot program of kindergarten through sixth grade students under one roof starting Aug. 25. The K-6 model is being used because in January last year trustees added a fifth criteria to the district’s rezoning efforts -- develop a plan for academic enhancements.

The K-6 pilot program will be at Ridgegate, Ridgemont, Blue Ridge, Briargate, Lantern lane, Quail Valley Hunters Glen, Glover, Jones and the new Armstrong. Missouri City, Christa McAuliffe and Quail Valley are the three middle schools that will become 7-8 grade campuses.

Parents protested the K-6 plan because they felt having sixth graders go to school with primary students might negatively impact the younger students, would cause overcrowded schools and their children didn’t like the idea, so the district postponed starting the program for a year. Smith said from January 2007 throughout the spring a series of community meetings were held and “feedback from some were not positive. The concern was we were moving too quickly.”


FBISDWatch Comment:

Apparently most of the impacted schools in this "pilot project" are in east FBISD at older schools.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Upcoming Important Dates-

Important Dates:

August 11 - Regular School Board Meeting - 7:00 PM

August 19 - Summer Graduation, Wheeler Field House - 6:30 PM

August 25 - Regular School Board Meeting - 7:00 PM

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

FBN: FBISD Extends Audit Firm Contract At BOT Meeting

FBISD Extends Audit Firm Contract
by John Pape

Fort Bend ISD trustees voted unanimously to grant a one-year extension to the contact with the auditing firm of Hereford, Lynch, Sellars and Kirkham to conduct the district’s annual audit.

The vote came at the recommendation of the district’s audit committee. Board President Sonal Bhuchar read the recommendation.

“In May 2006, the board of trustees awarded a two-year contract for audit services to Hereford, Lynch, Sellars and Kirkham, PC, with an option for three one-year extensions subject to annual review and approval. Hereford Lynch has done good work for the district and helped business and finance produce quality comprehensive annual financial reports that have met TEA’s financial reporting requirements for the 2005-`06 and 2006-`07 fiscal years,” Bhuchar reported. “The Government Finance Officers Association and the Association of School Business Officials have also recognized the district’s CAFR with certificates of excellence in financial reporting.” . . . (get the full story at http://fortbendnow.com/pages/full_story?article-FBISD-Extends-Audit-Firm-Contract-%20=&page_label=home&id=113114-FBISD-Extends-Audit-Firm-Contract-&widget=push&instance=home_news_lead_story&open=&)

FBW comment:
In other actions taken Monday night, former school board president Cindy Knox's daughter is hired as a new principal in the district.

Update on BOT mtg from FBN: http://fortbendnow.com/pages/full_story?article-Fort-Bend-ISD-Announces-New-School-Administrators%20=&page_label=home&id=113181-Fort-Bend-ISD-Announces-New-School-Administrators&widget=push&instance=home_news_lead_story&open=&

Monday, July 14, 2008

BOT Meets Tonight--

See: http://fortbendnow.com/pages/full_story?article-Fort-Bend-ISD-Trustees-To-Meet-Tonight%20=&page_label=home&id=112445-Fort-Bend-ISD-Trustees-To-Meet-Tonight&widget=push&instance=home_news_lead_story&open=&

Work Begins On New Sienna High School

"In May, the school board canceled an initial contract with Hillwood, citing “unacceptable” conditions placed on the district. Trustees never publicized what their concerns exactly were. They then decided to place the new high school on a 65-acre site southeast of FM 521 and Texas 6, a plan that pleased residents in the Arcola area in the district’s far east but angered Sienna Plantation residents." Houston Chronicle

Comment: The district still owns the alternate property which they paid full market value for. They haven't decided what to do with it.

Question: Was our tax dollars used wisely in this exchange?

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Important Dates-

Important Dates Coming Up!

July 14 - Regular School Board Meeting - 7:00 PM

August 11 - Regular School Board Meeting - 7:00 PM

August 19 - Summer Graduation, Wheeler Field House - 6:30 PM

August 25 - Regular School Board Meeting - 7:00 PM

Thursday, July 3, 2008

In honor of the spirit of '76. Happy 4th!

Monday, June 30, 2008

FB Star Publisher Critical Of FBISD Administration On Information Access!

This snip-it was taken from the publishers personal column in the FB Star. It is becoming a view point shared by many given the hectic '07-'08 school year:

...Have you noticed......The clamp down in news coming from Fort Bend ISD. Before this new superintendent, (I believe his name is Jenny, although I have never spoken over three words to him--”Hello, how are you?” Nor he to me.) the school district was pretty open with its news. If there were problems, they told you and they told you they were working on them.

Now, there are no problems. Problems? What problems? Oh, you mean that concussion one of our police officers has? Oh, you mean the ambulances hauling students out? Oh, you mean the county-wide “officer assist” call that went out at Marshall high school with news copters hovering overhead? Oh, the three policemen attacked three days in a row? Oh, the computers stolen and the grades hacked were not connected?

Here’s the way it is. FBISD’s paid liar is Mary Ann Simpson. She’s the head of community relations and any news the district issues. She works for the superintendent. If the superintendent tells her to lock down, she locks down.

When Betty Baitland was superintendent, I think she believed that honesty was the best policy and that by being forthcoming, she could depend on the community to help. You see where that got her.

So this Dr. Jenny gets hired and he wants a good face put on FBISD, even if it involves shading the truth.

Since the school police force, and the school news team depend on Dr. Jenny for their jobs, you can see how we can be manipulated.

Oh, there are so many problems in running a large school district. Maybe we don’t need to watch them make sausage.

Get the full story at:


Saturday, June 28, 2008

Updated Calendar-

Important Dates Coming Up!

July 4 - Independence Day Holiday

July 14 - Regular School Board Meeting - 7:00 PM

August 11 - Regular School Board Meeting - 7:00 PM

August 19 - Summer Graduation, Wheeler Field House - 6:30 PM

August 25 - Regular School Board Meeting - 7:00 PM

Monday, June 23, 2008

FB Star: Teacher Federation Supports Pay Increases In FBISD

FBISD urged to give bigger raises this year
By Barbara Fulenwider

Fort Bend ISD board meetings on the proposed 2008-09 budget are well underway so at their June 9 regularly scheduled meeting, Karrie Washenfelder, president of the Fort Bend Employee Federation, asked trustees to provide their employees with more than the 3.25 percent raise they got last year.

She pointed out the huge increases in gasoline and groceries, and said that “while everyone is paying higher prices, it’s obvious that our classified employees (bus drivers, skilled laborers, groundskeepers, cafeteria workers, custodians, etc.) will be hardest hit by this explosive rise in the cost of living. Unlike the school district they do not have millions in their fund balance account to make ends meet.”

She went on to urge trustees to use some of their fund balance to pay employees more. . .

FBI Reports On Hannover & Hillwood Property Purchases For New High School

Visit: http://fbindependent.com/default.asp?sourceid=&smenu=1&twindow=&mad=&sdetail=545&wpage=1&skeyword=&sidate=&ccat=&ccatm=&restate=&restatus=&reoption=&retype=&repmin=&repmax=&rebed=&rebath=&subname=&pform=&sc=2531&hn=fbindependent&he=.com

and FB Star coverage at:


FBISDWatch question: With the purchase of two properties for one high school in the Sienna area, when did FBISD get into the land speculation business and what do they plan to do with the extra property purchased with our tax dollars?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


Important Dates Coming Up!

July 4 - Independence Day Holiday

July 14 - Regular School Board Meeting - 7:00 PM

August 11 - Regular School Board Meeting - 7:00 PM

August 19 - Summer Graduation, Wheeler Field House - 6:30 PM

August 25 - Regular School Board Meeting - 7:00 PM

Friday, June 13, 2008

FBN: What will the BOT do with the excess property purchased in the recent Sienna HS land deals?

With Sienna School Site A ‘Go,’ What Happens With Hannover Property?
by John Pape, FBN
With the Fort Bend ISD school board’s decision earlier this week to again proceed with the purchase of a school site in Sienna Plantation, the district will now have to decide what use it will make of the Hannover property in the Arcola area.

Although the Hannover location is still under consideration as the site for a future campus site, some Fresno/Arcola area residents are unhappy with the board’s latest decision, saying trustees “bent over backward” to respond to complaints from the more affluent Sienna community without considering the needs of the less-affluent part of the district.

The Hannover site, located off FM 521 in extreme eastern Fort Bend County, was purchased earlier this year when negotiations to purchase the Sienna site fell through for the first time. Trustees voted to buy the 110 acres from Hannover Estates at a cost of $5.3 million.

In limited public discussions, it was disclosed that the Hannover site was the board’s second choice, but the initial asking price for the preferred Sienna location was too high. Only after the board voted to buy the Hannover property did Sienna developers come back to the table with a lower asking price.

After extensive deliberation, trustees voted to buy the Sienna property for $3.35 million while keeping the Hannover property as well. Several weeks ago, when the Sienna deal appeared to fall through for the second and final time, it appeared the Hannover location would become the home for the school district’s eleventh high school.

When last-minute negotiations between the school district and Hillwood Development revived the Sienna deal, the district was, once again, left with two parcels of property in eastern Fort Bend County. Now, residents in Fresno and Arcola are asking if the district will put the Hannover location to use or simply sell it as surplus property. . .(get the full piece at http://www.fortbendnow.com/pages/full_story?page_label=home&id=88131-With-Sienna-School-Site-A-‘Go-’-What-Happens-With-Hannover-Property-&article-With-Sienna-School-Site-A-‘Go-’-What-Happens-With-Hannover-Property-%20=&widget=push&instance=home_news_lead_story&open=&)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Trustees Reverse Course Yet Again In Purchase Of HW Sienna Property

FBISD Trustees Approve Purchase Of Sienna School Site – Again
by John Pape, FortBendNow

Fort Bend ISD’s on-again, off-again deal to purchase property in Sienna Plantation for the district’s eleventh high school is on again.

Only two weeks after voting to terminate the contract with Hillwood Development for 77 acres during a specially-called meeting, school trustees reversed course again and voted unanimously to approve an amended contract. During the previous meeting, trustees alluded to “conditions” and “constraints” placed on the deal by the seller that caused board members to vote 5-2 to cancel the deal and request return of earnest money paid to secure the property.

The latest vote came early during Monday’s board meeting following a closed-door executive session. Trustee David Reitz, who made the motion two weeks ago to cancel the purchase, moved that the board approve the amended agreement hammered out by representatives of the district and the developer. . . get the full piece:




Monday, June 9, 2008

Bush Associate Principal Claims Innocence, Says His Arrest Sends Wrong Signal

Update: Bush Associate Principal Claims Innocence, Says His Arrest Sends Wrong Signal
by John Pape, Fortbendnow

The Bush High School associate principal charged with aggravated assault during a campus disturbance last week has proclaimed his innocence and said his arrest for attempting to control students will have a chilling effect among educators trying to do their job.



Or more from the FB Sun:


Thursday, June 5, 2008

FBISD Employee Union, Teachers Question Arrest Of Bush Associate Principal

FBISD Employee Union, Teachers Question Arrest Of Bush Associate Principal
by John Pape

At a Thursday afternoon press conference, representatives from the Fort Bend Employee Federation and several Bush High School teachers questioned whether the arrest of Bush High School Associate Principal Andre L. Credit on aggravated assault charges was warranted, and challenged the thoroughness of the investigation.

Credit was arrested by Fort Bend ISD police following a disturbance Tuesday afternoon in the Bush High School cafeteria. According to witnesses, students started a “food fight,” and during the incident Credit got into a struggle with student Edgar Arrellano.

Representatives of the teachers’ union were joined at the press conference by about a dozen Bush faculty members. Several said the investigation conducted by Fort Bend ISD police was flawed and that officers may have acted too hastily in arresting Credit.

Get the full story at:




Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Chron: FBISD and developer in talks again on land deal for new high school

Follow this link for the update:


FBN: FBISD Principal Arrested At Bush HS After Student Discipline Issue (A food fight in the cafeteria)-

Bush High School Associate Principal Arrested For Assaulting Student
by John Pape, FBN

Fort Bend ISD Police arrested Bush High School Associate Principal Andre L. Credit on aggravated assault charges Tuesday afternoon following an altercation with a student.
An associate principal at George Bush High School has been arrested on aggravated assault charges following a fight with a student on campus yesterday afternoon.

Andre L. Credit, 32, was arrested by Fort Bend ISD police following a disturbance that occurred around 1:30 p.m. in the cafeteria of the school. According to witnesses, students got into a “food fight” in the cafeteria, and during the incident Credit got into a struggle with a male student. The name of the student has not been released. . .(get the full story at: http://www.fortbendnow.com/pages/full_story?article-Bush-High-School-Associate-Principal-Arrested-For-Assaulting-Student%20=&page_label=home&id=80082-Bush-High-School-Associate-Principal-Arrested-For-Assaulting-Student&widget=push&instance=home_news_lead_story&open=&)


http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/nb/fortbend/news/5819601.html (Updated June 5th)

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Important Dates Coming Up!

Important Dates:

June 5 - Last Student Day - Early Release All Students

June 6,7 - Graduation at the Toyota Center - Details ...

June 9 - Regular School Board Meeting - 7:00 PM

July 4 - Independence Day Holiday

July 14 - Regular School Board Meeting - 7:00 PM

Monday, May 26, 2008

Teacher Of The Year Contract Terminated At Marshall HS In Missouri City--see this FBN report--

Follow this link for more:


and (updated 5/30):


Friday, May 23, 2008

FBISD Ends Sienna Land Contract

FBISD Terminates Contract To Purchase Sienna Property For School
by John Pape, FBN

Fort Bend ISD’s on-again, off-again deal to purchase property in Sienna Plantation for a new high school is off again, this time apparently for good.

In a specially-called meeting that lasted until after 11 p.m. Thursday evening, school trustees voted to terminate the contract with HW Sienna, L.P., and request the return of earnest money paid to secure the property. The vote came at the end of an almost two hour executive session during which the board debated the decision behind closed doors.

Trustees voted to terminate the contract by a 5-2 vote, with newly-elected board members Daniel Menendez and Susan Hohnbaum casting the dissenting votes.

In March, the board had voted to buy 77 acres of property from HW Sienna for $3.35 million. Although specific details on what caused the deal to fall through were not publicly revealed, trustees alluded to “conditions” and “constraints” placed on finalizing the deal by the seller.

The district has been under the gun to finalize the purchase in order meet deadlines to build a new high school in the eastern part of the district.

Trustee David Reitz, who made the motion to terminate the contract, voiced his frustration over dealing with the seller, asking Superintendent Dr. Timothy Jenney if the purchase of the Sienna property had been typical.

“How long have we been negotiating to do a routine transaction?” Reitz asked. “Dr. Jenney, you’ve been at this for a long time; is this normally a six-month process?”

Jenney said it was not.

“Generally, it’s fairly straight forward,” he explained.

Trustee Bob Broxson, who seconded Reitz’ motion to pull out of the deal, echoed the frustration.

“We’ve worked really hard to get a high school in Sienna,” Broxson said. “I’ve been (doing) contract negotiations for 25 years and I’ve never been in a process like this. I think it’s time to bring this sad chapter to an end and get on with building a high school.”

Get the full story at:


See other related special session FBN piece:


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Bhuchar Becomes Board Pres.

Knox Says Good-bye, Bhuchar Elected FBISD Board President
by John Pape, FBN

Sonal Bhuchar was unanimously elected president of the Fort Bend ISD Board of Trustees during Monday night’s meeting, replacing Cynthia Knox who did not seek re-election to the school board.

Bhuchar’s election came as trustees emerged from a 40-minute executive session during which the board deliberated in closed session. Trustee David Reitz made the motion to nominate Bhuchar.

Steve Smelley was re-elected as board vice president and Bob Broxson was tapped as secretary. Both votes were unanimous. . .get the full story at:


Monday, May 19, 2008

Important Dates Coming Up!

Important Dates Coming Up!

May 19 - Canvass votes for May 10 Election

May 19 - Regular School Board Meeting - 7:00 PM

May 26 - Memorial Day Holiday

June 5 - Last Student Day - Early Release All Students

June 6,7 - Graduation at the Toyota Center - Details ...

June 9 - Regular School Board Meeting - 7:00 PM

July 4 - Independence Day Holiday

July 14 - Regular School Board Meeting - 7:00 PM

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Voter Fraud In Missouri City Or Just Another Mistake? ? ?

Leftover Election Sign Causes Some Confusion Saturday At Glover Elementary
by Jamie Mock, FBN

At least one Missouri City voter was misdirected on election day due to a sign mistakenly left up by the Fort Bend County Election Administration.

The sign, placed at Glover Elementary during the primary run-off, told voters from precincts 2077 and 2141 that their polling location had moved from Glover Elementary to the Missouri City Community Center.

Missouri City resident Beth Blankenship saw the sign, and went to the community center on Saturday to vote. She was told she could not vote, because she was not on the voting roster. She told election officials about the sign, and the election judge at Glover was contacted. By the time Blankenship returned to Glover to vote, the sign was taken down. Blankenship was able to cast her vote.

“My concern was how many people may have just turned away after they went to vote and saw the sign was up,” said Blankenship. “A lot of people might have thought it was official and didn’t vote.” . . . follow the full link below:


--It has been reported that the US Justice Dept. has received formal complaints over this and related issues...

Upcoming Dates-

Important Dates Coming Up!

May 19 - Canvass votes for May 10 Election

May 19 - Regular School Board Meeting - 7:00 PM

May 26 - Memorial Day Holiday

June 5 - Last Student Day - Early Release All Students

June 6,7 - Graduation at the Toyota Center - Details ...

June 9 - Regular School Board Meeting - 7:00 PM

July 4 - Independence Day Holiday

July 14 - Regular School Board Meeting - 7:00 PM

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Get Full Results For All Elections Below:


FBN: Bus Safety An Issue

FBISD Bus Drivers Say They Are Told To Ignore ‘Minor’ Repair Needs
by John Pape, Fortbendnow

Minor repairs to Fort Bend ISD school buses are not being done, according to some district bus drivers who say they have been told not to “write up” such problems.

Several Fort Bend ISD bus drivers have confirmed that they have been told not to report minor repair needs because there are not enough mechanics to handle the work. The shortage of maintenance personnel is due to the fact that there are not enough bus drivers to drive daily routes and maintenance personnel are routinely being used to as replacement drivers. The remaining available mechanics are needed to concentrate on more critical bus repairs, the drivers say.

“We have been told not to write up minor repairs because of the manpower shortage,” one driver said.

He added that drivers were given the directive as far back as January and he fears that the backlog of needed repairs, although they may be minor, may eventually build up to a point where bus safety is compromised.

“Where will it stop? When will all these issues be addressed?” another driver asked. “When we break down on the side of the road with a bus load of kids?”

See: http://www.fortbendnow.com/pages/full_story?page_label=home&article-FBISD-Bus-Drivers-Say-They-Are-Told-To-Ignore-‘Minor’-Repair-Needs%20=&id=64346&widget=push&instance=home_news_bullets&open=&

Friday, May 9, 2008

See FBISDWatch candidate endorsements http://fbisdwatch.blogspot.com/2008/04/fbisdwatch-school-board-candidate.html

Note: FBISDWatch has endorsed Pinnock, Poats and Tunstall in the Missouri City council races for their ethical stance on city and school involvements!

See this related safety piece running on FBN: http://fortbendnow.com/pages/full_story?_session_id=7ef2b96d652f58e93c516f19995230fe&hash=cb_post_comment_64346&page_label=full_story&id=64346&content_instance=64346&need_to_add=true&secure_comments=true&widget=push&open=&#cb_post_comment_64346

Monday, May 5, 2008

From FBN: Baines Middle School Teacher Caught With Minor In Sienna Plantation

Teacher Caught With Minor Arrested For Sexual Assault
by John Pape, FortBendNow

Former Baines Middle School teacher Rebecca Ann Bramlett has been arrested by the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office and charged with sexual assault. Bramlett was found with a 16-year-old boy in her car during a traffic stop in eastern Fort Bend County this past weekend. She told deputies that the minor was her “boyfriend” and admitted to having an ongoing relationship with him.
The former Baines Middle School teacher who was caught last weekend with a 16-year-old boy in her car has been arrested and charged with sexual assault of a child.

The woman, identified as Rebecca Ann Bramlett, was been taken into custody by the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Department Friday morning. She was booked into the county jail under a $500,000 bond. . .

Get the full story at:


Friday, May 2, 2008

FBN: FBISD Proposed Academies

Fort Bend ISD Academy Proposal – What Will It Cost?
by John Pape, Fortbendnow
Final in a four-part series

One of the Fort Bend Independent School District’s major initiatives over the next few years will be the development of an academy system, effectively creating a specialized school within each of the district’s high school campuses.

In an effort to provide more information to district residents, over the past several days Fort Bend Now has provided an overview of the proposed academy system. This is the final installment in the series, today focusing on the budgeting implications of the academy structure.

According to information recently provided by FBISD administration to trustees in a presentation on the academy system, the budget for year-one implementation is expected to cost $275,000 per academy.

Get the full story at:


Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Chron: "Fair and equitable" -- FBISD officials and students differ in views

"Fair and equitable" -- FBISD officials and students differ in views

In a time of rapid shift in values and priorities of the younger generation, it tickles me each time to see boys and girls tell you how much they enjoy school, labs, athletic practices, band rehearsals and time with their teachers and coaches.

One of the things that has made my experience of covering the Fort Bend school district rewarding and exciting is my frequent encounters with such a collective desire in the students of the district - in addition to the intriguing politics in which the district's adults often get themselves entangled.

To say I was tickled is an understatement. I was actually moved and inspired.

I was moved and inspired to see so many ice-hockey playing kids showing up before the school board time and again for two years begging the trustees and the administration for a club status for their team.

I was moved and inspired to see Hightower kids repeatedly pleading with school officials for not doing away with their block schedule so they won't lose their treasured field learning opportunities at, say, the Texas Medical Center.

And Monday night, I was moved and inspired by youngsters who jam-packed the board room to urge the district not to phase out an electronic engineering academy at Marshall High and not to get rid of a coach's position for the marching band at Austin High. . . . (get the full piece at: http://blogs.chron.com/fortbend/archives/2008/04/post_8.html)

Monday, April 28, 2008

MC Mayoral Candidates Spar Over Development, Hospitals & Schools...(Poats vs. Owen)

FBN: Q&A For MC Mayoral Election Candidates

Early voting for the May 10 election began today, and in Missouri City current mayor Allen Owen is running for a second time against challenger Greyling Poats. FortBendNow.com submitted questions to each candidate, and their answers are as follows.

What do you think are the top three priorities for Missouri City in the next five years?


My top 3 prior (sic) ties over the next 3 years is to make sure our citizens have a safe place to call home, protect our environment and natural resources, and continue to attract new sales tax revenue so we can begin to replace property taxes with the only other source we have left-sales taxes. We are doing that with all of the new projects mentioned above that are already on the drawing boards and are working as we go to press.


1. Business on Texas Parkway, Cartwright Road and FM 1092 should be the primary concern. The improvement of those areas and the subdivisions attaching these thoroughfares should be a major focal point of the City Manager, Economic Development Coordinator and Council. Federal, State and Local monies along with private developers should come into play not only for curb appeal but for the enhancement of the quality of life for all of Missouri City. The challenge of government is not only to maintain the quality of life for all of its citizens but to improve that quality of life.

2. A well planned economic development plan is also a major concern for the City of Missouri City. While the current administration marvels over Ben E. Keith, Trammel Crowe and Global technical, they haven’t detailed the entire story. Based off a survey completed by a development company, one can deduce that Missouri City has a highly educated, employed and diverse population. The residents are not looking for jobs, but rather an enhancement of current career opportunities. The social economics of the city in general are poor. The lack of interaction and opportunities generally provided by business is virtually non-existent for young people in most areas of the city. Children, not adults in Missouri City, need jobs to learn employment skills and establish discipline which can lead them to careers which will allow them to become productive members of society. The current administration fails in working with citizens and current businesses; and, they have not given any projection on tax revenues for new businesses after the tax exemptions which have been given to new corporate citizens. A focused economic development plan would assist in attracting the types of businesses which would benefit the citizens of Missouri City.

3. Serving all neighborhoods within the corporate city limits is a key issue that council currently does not respond to. Council is oblivious to crime in the certain areas of the City. Council has failed to address the need to provide sidewalks for children walking to school and stoplights for critical intersections where residents have concerns. Council fails the children who walk along bridges which provide no protection. The council neglects the safety of our children on areas where there is a high concentration of pedophiles. Council fails in addressing the vacant commercial property and dilapidated structures on Texas Parkway, Cartwright Road and Fm 1092. Missouri City also does not have a hospital or doctor’s clinic. I firmly believe that the current mayor and council’s lack of leadership and direction is the reason for the decline of Missouri City. Many of these concerns could be addressed by being attentive to the residents of the city. A primary focus on those areas within the City limits would allow the city to address many of these issues. Additionally, there is a need to focus on attracting certain kinds of businesses to Missouri City while at the same time working with those businesses currently located within the city limits to assure that they remain. We continue to loose critical businesses while building structures which are not inhabited. This is not a reflection of a well planned city. It is imperative that we make this a practice so that we can maintain an excellent quality of life for our citizens.

What steps would you like to see the city take regarding those three priorities?


I think we have proven in the past 3-4 years that we are working diligently to do all of the above incentives.


1. After determining where our City funds are, an action plan can be put into place. The current administration is looking at a tax increase of more than thirty dollars per household for the acquisition and improvement of the Quail Valley Country Club. If there is to be a tax increase, those funds would better serve Texas Parkway, Cartwright road and FM 1091. The City in readjusting its budget could do the same thing without a tax increase. This is often necessary when cities have to maintain an aging infrastructure.

2. I would direct the City Planning Department to develop a plan for the enhancement of our entire city in general but being very specific for the timely improvements along Texas Parkway, Cartwright Road and FM 1092. This plan could give tax abatements to those businesses needed in critical areas. It would provide fast track privileges for development needed in critical areas. For those businesses coming to Missouri City, we would provide assistance similar to or greater than our very large neighbor to assure that those businesses find Missouri City an attractive place.

3. Our collaboration with County, State and Federal government entities would push mobility issues regarding Texas Parkway, Cartwright Road and FM 1092. We would change the rural character of certain roads by seeking to add sewers and removing ditches. We would propose that we work with subdivisions regarding the Lexington corridor while making that venture a reality. Having our police department reach out to provide greater service as well as protection to all citizens while eliminating the intimidation that is apparent to law abiding-tax paying citizens would greatly enhance the safety in our community. I would advocate for providing true diversity to City government through our deeds and actions. And finally, focusing on and attaining what the city needs: Hospitals, doctor’s clinics, book stores, arts venues, movie theatres, etc. while providing for the enhancement of a superior quality of life for all Missouri City residents. . .


Thursday, April 24, 2008

Independent Covers FBISD Key Resignation--

FBISD internal auditor quits
Fort Bend ISD’s Internal Auditor Tina Worrel, whose critical internal audit reports highlighted the shortcomings in various departments of the school district in the past, causing a political upheaval, has abruptly quit, for unspecified reasons.

FBISD’s Chief Communications Officer Mary Ann Simpson confirmed on Monday that Worrel resigned on March 24 voluntarily.

Worrel did not elaborate as to why she resigned.

The internal auditor reports to the school board and no successor has been appointed yet.

Asked if board’s audit subcommittee met to terminate or discuss the future of Worrel, Simpson said neither happened.

She denied the suggestion that Worrel and Superintendent Timothy Jenney had disagreement over the time frame for compliance with the internal audit reports. . .(get the full piece at: http://fbindependent.com/default.asp?sourceid=&smenu=1&twindow=&mad=&sdetail=388&wpage=1&skeyword=&sidate=&ccat=&ccatm=&restate=&restatus=&reoption=&retype=&repmin=&repmax=&rebed=&rebath=&subname=&pform=&sc=2531&hn=fbindependent&he=.com)

FBW comment:

An opportunity to speak with Ms. Worrel should prove interesting in regards to this story.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Repost: FISDWatch School Board Candidate Endorsements 2008

FISDWatch School Board Candidate Endorsements 2008

With the school board elections coming up on May 10th FBW has decided to take a position in the forthcoming races. Based on voting records, issues and campaign disclosure statements.

Candidate Summary:

Laurie Caldwell (Missouri City) is currently serving and is seeking re-election to the FBISD school board. She is a small business owner and has worked throughout her last term to reform the board operations.

Stan Magee (Sugar Land) is a former educator and is currently a seated board member. He has maintained his independence on the board in several votes including the all important one involving taxpayer/voter inclusion on key administrative committees, voting against the rest of the boards efforts to reduce access by the public. Mr. Magee has worked to bring about reform and over-sight during his tenure.

Rodrigo Carreon (Fresno/Arcola) is a community activist that has worked tirelessly to monitor and upgrade school accountability in the bonds and strongly supports the concept of single member school districts. He has served on the 2007 bond committee and is a frequent contributor at BOT meetings.

Other related issues during this campaign season include the strong possibility of more special interest candidates being elected to the board. In one potential scenario, if two of the candidates are successful, one subdivision could end up with 3 seated board members over-seeing the taxes, bond distribution and administrative over-sight. This possible outcome places greater emphasis on the need for SMD.

Early voting begins April 28th and runs through May 6th, with election day May 10th. Please get out and vote in your municipal and school board races. . .