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.”
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See other related special session FBN piece:
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)