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)

Monday, December 28, 2009

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Some Fort Bend Schools Make "Worst List"--Why?

Two Fort Bend schools make "worst" list
December 16, 2009 1:51 pm Zen T.C. Zheng, Chronicle

Hunters Glen Elementary (Missouri City, TX), a campus on the Fort Bend school district's east side, and Stafford Middle School in the Stafford Municipal School District, have made the "worst school list" compiled by the Texas Education Agency.

The list, released today by TEA, has nearly 50 schools across the Greater Houston area deemed the worst-performing in the state.

These are the campuses where 50 percent or more of the students failed TAKS in any two of the last three years or were rated "academically unacceptable" in 2007, 2008 or 2009, according to Chronicle reporter Ericka Mellon in her blog today.



Wednesday, December 16, 2009

FB Star Reports On Taxpayers Meeting With The DA--Click here for the full story--


FB Star: Preliminary investigation begins
Taxpayers have meeting with District
Attorney over Fort Bend ISD records

By Cheryl Skinner

A group of determined taxpayers met last Friday with Fort Bend County District Attorney John Healey in the hopes of getting “injunctive relief” and forcing the Fort Bend Independent School District to release internal documents. The immediate response did not happen, but the group was somewhat encouraged because a “preliminary investigation” was ordered by Healey. . .(get the full story by following the title link above)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

FBN: DA Looks Into Possible Open Records/Open Meetings Violations of FBISD!

Inquiry Launched Into Possible Open Records Violations By FBISD
December 15th, 2009 | by Jamie Mock, Fortbendnow

Fort Bend County District Attorney John Healey has asked the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office to launch an “inquiry” into possible violations of the Texas Public Information Act and the Texas Open Meetings Act by the Fort Bend Independent School District.

The request was made after Healey met with a group of Fort Bend County residents, led by New Territory resident Nancy Hentschel who says the school district has “stalled” in providing information about the proposed Global Science and Technology Center.

An opponent of the district’s proposed $26.4 million science center, Hentschel said the information she is seeking could have been essential to the public before the FBISD Board of Trustees gave its approval for the project to proceed in a limited fashion...

Source (full story): http://www.fortbendnow.com/2009/12/15/42769

Chron: Complaint Filed With District Attorneys Office!

Science center opponents file complaint
December 14, 2009 4:26 pm Zen T.C. Zheng wrote:

Unsatisfied with the responses from the Fort Bend school district after a 10-month effort to seek information related to the district’s Global Center for Science and Technology project, opponent Nancy Hentschel and other critics have filed a complaint with the district attorney’s office.

The group claims the district is in violation of the Texas Public Information Act.

The group met with District Attorney John Healey last Friday and received assurances that the matter will be looked into...

Get the full piece below-

Source: http://www.ultimatefortbend.com/2009/12/science-center-opponents-file-complaint-ag#comment-392

Monday, December 14, 2009

FB Star: Disinformation continues surrounding GSTC...

From Bev's Burner.....(before the meeting with the D.A.)

Now tell me again......Why do we need another science museum? It seems that every superintendent we’ve hired wants a monument to himself. Dr. Chopa wanted a language center. Dr. Hooper proposed a technology center and now it’s Dr. Jenney’s turn. He wants a global science center. And he wants it in the face of declining revenues and an economic crunch.

Heretofore, the FBISD board of trustees has been disinclined to provide these monuments. Now, not so much.
We’ve heard from dozens of folks, from FBISD employees to taxpayers who are absolutely astounded that the board would support this undertaking, especially in this economy, and especially since the opening of the Houston Museum of Natural Science right here in Sugar Land [Not to mention the 10 million dollar budget deficit from last year and projected 20 million dollar deficit from this year].

I’ve had various people visit with me about the global center, trying to convince me that it’s a viable project. The most compelling argument and one that I bought for a while is that the cost of building it is about the cost of any new building and that it will be borne by private contributions. Then FBISD will have a valuable piece of real estate come what may.

But there are so many other expenses besides the building that would have to be provided by the district for years to come[yearly operational expenses estimated at between $800k and 1 million per annum).

I guess the thing that sends a red flag to me is the district’s unwillingness to come completely clean about the whole project. After a group of citizens wanted to see all the information about the global center, the district went to the attorney general to delay releasing that information; then, according to the group, the district did not release all of the information and the protestors say they can prove it. They have a Friday meeting with DA John Healey (who is up for re-election).

The district has claimed all along that the communication they have received from the public is very supportive. There seems to be some question about that.

Of course the district forestalled some release of information by letting a private citizen, former Sugar Land mayor David Wallace, seek private funding. So far, Wallace’s actions are closed to the public since it doesn’t involve tax money.

What I can’t understand is that if the district is telling the truth, why didn’t they immediately make a full disclosure. None of this going to the state’s attorney general nonsense. I’ve been on the other end of that situation before, and it is simply a delaying tactic. The Fort Bend sheriff’s office uses it quite frequently; just one of the reasons I find the current sheriff dishonest.

I’ve had dealings with the school district in the distant past and I can tell you that information can be manipulated six ways to Sunday.

Proponents of the project will tell you that science scores will rise--even with just 4-6 visits each year. But they can’t tell you how. Logistically, it seems like a nightmare to get 50 campuses on the schedule.

What they also don’t tell you is what it will do to teachers. Teachers will first have to spend hours planning the lessons. Then they’ll have to check the labs to be sure that all of the essentials are available for use during the lessons. They’ll have to spend at least 10-15 minutes making certain that the students pack up anything they will be required to take with them, then load them on the bus.

Dr. Jenny has stated that teachers can instruct on the way to the center--which for some students can be a ten minute trip and for others a 20-40 minute trip. Ask any teacher what they think of that one.

Taking all these into consideration means students and teachers are off campus, with no instruction, for a minimum of 30-60 minutes each time they visit the center. They get to do the same thing on the return trip.

District administrators and board members will tell you that professional development is key to raising scores. I’d like to point out that the $26 million slated for the global center would go a long way to training every employee in his or her field for the next 15 years.

Again, I am astounded that the board would support this undertaking. They are looking at cutting the academies, one educational tool that will certainly raise grades, but continue on with this hobby horse.

Now why did the district delay releasing all the information? I think it was in order to proceed full speed ahead with their current plans. It’s beginning to look like a done deal, whether funds can be raised privately or not.

David Wallace, get over it. . .

FBISDWatch Comment: We don't always agree with Ms. Carter, but on this issue we do!!!

Source: http://www.fortbendstar.com/Columns/burner.htm

Friday, December 11, 2009

FBW:Fort Bend County District Attorneys Office Initiates Preliminary Investigation Into Potential Violations Of TPIA & TOMA Acts By FBISD Leadership!


Staff Report

A citizens-watch group, lead by Sugar Land resident Nancy Henschel, attended a meeting with Fort Bend County DIstrict Attorney John Healey today to present documents related to the apparent failure of Fort Bend ISD to comply with the Texas Public Information Act and possibly the Texas Open Meetings Act (TX gov't code chapter 552) when requests were made by several different FBISD taxpayers over the course of the last 10 to 11 months.

Last spring the FBISD superintendent, Tim Jenney and former SL mayor (and commercial developer) Dave Wallace, announced plans to push forward on a near $30 million dollar duplicate spending/building project called the Global Science & Technology Center in the midst of a then near $10 million dollar budget deficit and record bond debt (now approaching $20 million). At the time they made representations that there was wide-spread support for the project as evidenced through a survey the district had completed. Several citizens groups, including FBISDWatch, became involved and attempted, without much success, to gain access to all related communications and documents involved in this ongoing project.

At first the superintendent publically agreed to turn over all the requested documents at a board meeting, but later referred the case to the district legal vendor David Feldman. After repeated attempts by the district to block access and after the school trustees had already voted to support the duplicate museum project, the Texas Attorney General ordered the release of almost all requested files. A month passed, according to sources, and most of the documents had not been released with the exception of the FBISD "feasibility" study survey. This is the same report that leaders earlier claimed demonstrated "overwhelming" support from the public for the project. Once this information was finally released, most local media in the area reviewed the survey findings and found just the opposite to be true (about 60% opposed this funding use during a budget crisis).

Several news agencies became involved and also initiated TPIA requests of their own, only to be stalled by the districts legal vendor and communications office once again. Just a few weeks ago the central office announced that the district will be moving forward with the GSTC ground breaking soon, but still would not release requested information surrounding possible donations or amounts for the project. A precondition for approval.

This afternoon, after meeting with the district attorney, Ms. Henschel and the citizens group were assured that the case would be assigned to an investigator and reviewed for possible further action.

We will update this information as it comes in....

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Upcoming Dates-


Dec. 14 Board Budget Workshop

Dec. 14 Regular School Board Meeting

Dec. 15-18 Semester Exams

Dec. 17,18 Early Release - MS/HS only

Dec. 21- Jan. 1 Winter Break

Jan. 4 Campus Staff Dev./Student Holiday

Saturday, December 5, 2009

FB Independent Chimes In On Open Meetings/TPIA Challenges By Local Officials--

Click here for the full story and the impact on the public: http://fbindependent.com/default.asp?sourceid=&smenu=89&twindow=Default&mad=No&sdetail=2101&wpage=1&skeyword=&sidate=&ccat=&ccatm=&restate=&restatus=&reoption=&retype=&repmin=&repmax=&rebed=&rebath=&subname=&pform=&sc=2531&hn=fbindependent&he=.com

"...A case in point is Fort Bend ISD.

Right now, a battle is brewing between a citizen [taxpayers] and the district over the proposed Global Science and Technology Center.

Even this newspaper could not get any meaningful information from the administration, not to speak of the “tight-lipped” board of trustees.

The school district has perfected the art of Open Meetings Act so much so the district controls the flow of information with impunity." Fort Bend Independent

FBW Comment: Is this the best we can do for elected officials?

Thursday, December 3, 2009

FB Star: District Attorney Will Meet With Opponents Of FBISD's GSTC (Global Taj Mahal)

All open records about proposed science center not released, they say
Opponents of Fort Bend ISD’s center to meet with district attorney

By Cheryl Skinner

As Fort Bend Independent School District moves closer to approving the proposed Global Science Center, a state of the art interactive facility, opponents are gearing up for a battle to squelch the plan. Saying all of the public records on the planning and financing of the center have not been released, opponents are scheduled to meet with the Fort Bend County District Attorney next week to explore their legal options.

Nancy Hentschel, a Sugar Land resident and staunch opponent of the science center project, says she and other opponents will be meeting with Fort Bend County District Attorney John Healey on Dec. 11.
Hentschel requested a multitude of information from FBISD earlier this year. FBISD, in turn, requested an Attorney General’s opinion on the release of the information sought and the AG determined the district must release most of the information requested.

After the opinion, FBISD claimed they released all the information to Hentschel and what was not released simply did not exist.
Hentschel says she has evidence to the contrary and will be taking the information to Healey in the hopes of forcing the district to comply. “We also want to explore filing criminal charges and see what legal remedies we may have,” Hentschel said Monday...

...The move by opponents comes after FBISD held a workshop last week and debated the status of the various academies proposed for various campuses in light of the serious budget deficit that they are currently facing. The district also has said they will move forward with the planned implementation of the Global Science Center project. Hentschel says this decision has sparked a new-found determination to fight the plan and demand accountability from the administration...




Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Chron: Jenney Pushing "Global Taj Mahal" Start Before Spring Elections!

...In May, David Wallace, former Sugar Land mayor who heads a committee that has studied the project's financial feasibility, said it is estimated to cost $26 million to be constructed and equipped, and $800,000 a year for operation, including insurance, utility, maintenance and transportation of teachers and students.

The district has been trying to secure donations from numerous corporations and organizations. Wallace told district officials then that possible private funding could amount to at least $400,000, which is half of the building's expected annual operating cost.

However, it’s unclear how much the district has raised so far. District spokeswoman Mary Ann Simpson said the administration plans to present an update on the project to the school board, possibly on Dec. 14 or later.

"There will not be any new information available before the time the update is presented to the board," she said....

...The project has spurred mixed feelings among teachers, parents and other residents of the district from passionate backing to harsh criticism and legal threats. (search FBW for more on this controversy and $30 million dollar vendor feeding project by the district during a recession and near $20 million dollar budget deficit and record bond debt ranking the district in the top 10 in the state for debt.).

Get the full piece at: http://www.ultimatefortbend.com/2009/11/global-center-construction-could-start-spring

Friday, November 13, 2009

Chron: FBISD Joins Very Expensive Lawsuit To Not Report Actual Scores--follow the link below--


"The school board gave the green light to the district to join a lawsuit against the new state law that requires a school district to be honest in reporting a student’s grade and progress." Chron

Thursday, November 12, 2009

FBN: Is Moran Gone From CHS?

UPDATE: http://www.fortbendnow.com/2009/11/13/42166

Get the full piece below:

FBW Comment: It would be nice if we could get a straight answer from the district communications office. After-all it is what our taxes are supposed to be paying for.


November 12, 2009

Dear Clements High School Parents and/or Guardians,

This letter is to inform you of the change in leadership at Clements High School. Mr. Moran, principal, has resigned from the Fort Bend Independent School District.

Barbara James will continue to act as interim principal until the position is filled. We will post the vacancy this week and hope to fill the position as soon as possible.

We are confident that the current administrative staff and teachers will continue to provide positive leadership and oversight for our students. In addition, Mr. Mark Foust, Dulles High School principal, and I will continue to provide support at the campus during this interim period.

On behalf of the faculty and staff of Clements High School, thank you for your support and understanding during this transitional period.


Michael McKie
Assistant Superintendent for High Schools

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Chron: Zoning Controversy Continues-

Do you like FBISD's zoning plans?

November 11, 2009 9:33 am Zen T.C. Zheng

Opposition surfaced two days before two scheduled public hearings on the Fort Bend school district’s two school attendance zone plans.

The first hearing is slated for today at Hightower High School, 3333 Hurricane Lane, followed by the second on Thursday at Schiff Elementary, 7400 Discovery Lane. The campuses are in the Missouri City area. Both hearings will start at 7 p.m...

Get the full story at: http://www.ultimatefortbend.com/2009/11/not-all-ok-school-zoning-hearings-set-tonight#comment-268

Monday, November 9, 2009

Important Info>


Nov. 9 Regular School Board Meeting
Nov. 11 Public Hearing - Zoning
Nov. 12 Public Hearing - Zoning
Nov. 25-27 Thanksgiving Holidays
Dec. 14 Regular School Board Meeting

Saturday, October 31, 2009

FB Sun: Clements Left 600+ Seats Over Capacity In Board Supported Zoning Plan While Other Schools Get Relief!

Get the actual and functional capacity numbers in this FB Sun release on the zoning proposal the board and administration are pushing prior to public hearings.....http://www.hcnonline.com/articles/2009/10/31/fort_bend_sun/news/sws_-_fbisd_zoning_1027.txt

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

FBN: Rumors Still Flying About Clements HS Principal & Over-crowding--

Despite Rumors, District Says ----- Still Clements Principal
October 28th, 2009 | by Jamie Mock

According to Fort Bend Independent School District representatives, xxxxx xxxxx is still the principal at Clements High School, despite rumors to the contrary. xxxxx was at a recent board meeting dispelling other rumors that have circulated about the school, most dealing with overcrowding.

There are “no kids sitting on floors” the principal told board members during a September zoning workshop. With Clements over capacity by 607 students, there have been rumors of students sitting on the floor in classrooms and the cafeteria, and students not having books...(get the full piece below)


Related: http://www.ultimatefortbend.com/2009/10/fort-bend-isd-settles-zoning-sets-hearings#comment-205

Monday, October 26, 2009

FBISD Upcoming--

Date / Event

Oct. 26 Academy Expo
Oct. 26 School Board Workshop - Zoning
Oct. 26 Regular School Board Meeting
Nov. 7 Fort Bend Education Foundation’s Fort Bend Fabulous!
Nov. 9 Regular School Board Meeting
Nov. 25-27 Thanksgiving Holidays

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Chron: Damaged campus fire alarm system replaced

10-21 UPDATE: http://www.fortbendnow.com/2009/10/21/41595

Damaged campus fire alarm system replaced
October 19, 2009 1:04 pm Zen T.C. Zheng wrote:

Criticism from the community was quick when Lake Olympia Middle School’s fire alarm was out on Oct. 2.

I got a couple of e-mails alerting me to the problem, counting the days that the campus had gone without a functioning alarm and accusing the Fort Bend school district of neglect.

I was told that the Missouri City fire marshal had to place the campus on fire watch. One sender charged school officials of having “not done due diligence and cannot guarantee our children's safety...."

...Here is the good news: the new alarm system was installed last week, Porter said.


Monday, October 19, 2009

Olivo Seeks Re-election To District 27 Seat

This was sent to the FBW site and we are posting it here for your viewing. Ms Olivo has opposed the expansion of the Blue Ridge Landfill here in Fort Bend County, pushed to improve quality education in our schools and opposed the tolling of our public roads for private foreign companies. Get more below:

St. Representative Dora Olivo
Endorsed by Houston Area Legislators

State Representative Dora Olivo of Rosenberg has received the endorsement of many Houston area legislators as she seeks re-election in 2010.

Olivo, a Democrat representing part of Fort Bend County, will be running for her eighth term in the Texas House of Representatives next year.

“I am humbled by the support of so many of my colleagues in the Houston area,” said Olivo. “I look forward to returning to the House and working with them on many issues that protect the interests of our families and communities, including education and mental health.”

Endorsing Olivo for re-election are State Senator Mario Gallegos and State Representatives
Alma A. Allen, Carol Alvarado, Ellen Cohen, Garnet F. Coleman, Harold V. Dutton, Jr., Jessica Farrar, Ana E. Hernandez, Scott Hochberg, Kristi Thibaut, Senfronia Thompson, Sylvester Turner,
Hubert Vo and Armando Walle.

Olivo serves on the Public Education and Border and Intergovernmental Affairs Committees in the House.

Campaign site: http://www.doraolivo.com/

Friday, October 16, 2009

Problem With Lake Olympia Fire Protection System Continues--according to our sources--

Several e-mails a week come into the watch site regarding ongoing issues in the school district. We are sharing this one publically while protecting the source for obvious reasons:

"It has come to my attention that Lake Olympia Middle School has not had a functional fire alarm system since Friday, October 2, 2009. The children at Lake Olympia Middle School have not had a functional alarm system for five full days. Instead, FBISD has been forced, by the fire marshal, to have a fire watch placed on the school to ensure the safety of the children. The safety of FBISD children has to be ensured by the wonderful men and women of the fire departments, since our school district support manager..., has not done her due diligence and cannot guarantee our children's safety. "

This issue was first covered by local media, but the system apparently has remained down. We received this update last night via e-mail:

"As we speak, the alarm system is still down at Lake Olympia MS. Now, I do not think it reasonable that 2 weeks is the required time to repair the fire alarm system."

Obviously something needs to be done. A fire watch has been ordered by the fire marshalls office and this can be a very expensive endeavor as well as unnecessary if the system were immediately fixed or replaced. This is not a safe situation for the children, families or employees of LOMS.

When will senior administration and the school board act on this crisis?

We will update this story as needed...

Also see: http://www.ultimatefortbend.com/2009/10/fbisdwatch-lake-olympia-middle-school-fire-alarm-still-out

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

FBN: BOT Meeting Updates-

Chron report: http://www.ultimatefortbend.com/2009/10/fort-bend-isd-may-expand-gift-policy

http://www.fortbendnow.com/2009/10/13/41344 (Supt seeking more power over special donations could present more potential conflicts in the future)


http://www.fortbendnow.com/2009/10/13/41357 (New middle school construction contract awarded)

http://www.ultimatefortbend.com/2009/10/exceptions-okd-nepotism-cases (District making exceptions to nepotism policy - not a good path to follow)

Monday, October 12, 2009

FBN UPDATE: Former FBISD Police Chief Seeking New Position--

Update: http://www.fortbendnow.com/2009/10/12/41261

Upcoming Events-

Oct. 12 Board Budget Workshop

Oct. 12 Regular School Board Meeting

Oct. 13 & 15 Fort Bend ISD College Nights

Oct. 15 Elem. Parent Conf. & Elem. Early Release

Oct. 26 Regular School Board Meeting

Nov. 7 Fort Bend Education Foundation’s Fort Bend Fabulous!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Chronicle: Why is Fort Bend ISD police chief leaving?

Why is Fort Bend ISD police chief leaving?
October 5, 2009
By: Zen T.C. Zheng, Houston Chronicle

I wasn’t exactly surprised when Fort Bend ISD Police Chief J.L. Campbell said he will leave the district by the end of the year.

Pressure has been mounting on him since last year when news reports alleged that he used district resources for his unsuccessful bid to run for sheriff of Galveston County.

Those reports also called into question Campbell’s management of the police department after some officers reportedly complained about their lack of equipment and training. Campbell has denied the allegations, according to the reports.

Following those reports, FBISDWatch, a Web-based district watchdog [group], e-mailed Superintendent Tim Jenney and the school board in January pushing for an investigation of Campbell based on the allegations that include his absence from his district job during much of 2008 while he was seeking the sheriff’s post....(get the full piece below)


FB Star Reports:

FBISD police chief plans to retire
Watchdog group called for investigation

By Cheryl Skinner

Fort Bend Independent School District Police Chief J. L. Campbell announced last week he will retire from that position at the end of this year. In the meantime, a watchdog group is still calling for an investigation into allegations made by some of the members of the school police force on alleged mismanagement on the part of Campbell....

Full article: http://www.fortbendstar.com/093009/n_FBISD%20police%20chief%20plans%20to%20retire.htm



Thursday, October 1, 2009


Tax rate goes up in Fort Bend ISD
Trustees approve increase Sept. 28
Sept. 29, 2009, 8:57PM

Fort Bend school officials said the district's 3½-cent property tax hike for next year will not fund anything other than what voters endorsed nearly two years ago.

The school board approved on Sept. 28 a new tax rate of $1.305 per $100 assessed value. Last year, the district's tax rate rose by 2 cents from $1.25 in 2007. . .

During recent school board workshops and the Sept. 28 meeting in which trustees approved the tax-rate increase, officials tried to dispel speculation from critics that the district sought the higher tax rate to fund projects they described as wasteful, including a controversial “Global Center for Science and Technology.”

Get the full story at: http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/nb/fortbend/news/6643858.html


Thursday, September 24, 2009

FBN Breaking News: FBISD Police Chief Will Leave Force By End Of The Year!

Controversial Fort Bend ISD Police Chief To Retire At End Of Year
September 24th, 2009 | by John Pape, Fortbendnow

Fort Bend ISD Police Chief J.L. Campbell has announced he will retire and the end of the year.

Campbell made his plans known to police personnel in a memo dated Tuesday. FBISD Chief Communications Officer Mary Ann Simpson also confirmed the chief had notified district administrators he plans to retire.

In the memo, Campbell told police personnel that “it is time for me to begin a new journey on my career path.” He said he would retire effective Dec. 31 after 15 years with the department....(search earlier articles on this item)

Full story: http://www.fortbendnow.com/2009/09/24/40729







Monday, September 21, 2009

FB Sun: Budget Crisis Impacts Programming All Over The District--click link below for full story--


Report From FBStar On FBISD "State of the Schools" Luncheon

From Bev's Burner:

"...But since I think lying about lying is a double sin, I’ll just say FBISD Superintendent Tim Jenney simply didn’t give the complete picture.

The occasion was the annual “State of the School” luncheon hosted by the Fort Bend Chamber of Commerce. Dr. Jenney was discussing FBISD’s progress of the past year.

He told the luncheon audience that FBISD met 25 of the state’s requirements of a “recognized” school district. The impression was left with the attendees that FBISD was “recognized.”

That very day I had looked up the ranking of FBISD and Katy, mainly because I thought Katy handled the President’s recent speech so much better than FBISD. I was pretty sure the TEA web site said Katy was “recognized,” while FBISD was only “academically acceptable.”

Stafford Superintendent H.D. Chambers, during his part of the program, said Stafford met 25 criteria and was “almost recognized.” Dr. Thomas Randle from Lamar CISD didn’t even bother to offer numbers. He simply talked about the technology and his district’s commitment to prepare students to earn a living.

The FBISD board was sitting right behind me, and I turned around and asked board member Susan Hohnbaum if FBISD was really “recognized.”

“No,” she replied, ”We were penalized because of too many drop-outs.”

Get the full article at: http://www.fortbendstar.com/Columns/burner.htm

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Chron: Reports on Zoning Plans For FBISD Schools

FBISD trustees want harder look at zoning proposals
Zen Zheng

FBN update 8/16: http://www.fortbendnow.com/2009/09/16/40395

http://blogs.chron.com/fortbend/archives/2009/09/fbisd_trustees_1.html#comments (full article)

http://www.fortbend.k12.tx.us/about/zoning.cfm (zoning plans)

Starting an early planning process, the Fort Bend school district has unveiled its proposed attendance zones for two new schools under construction in the district's fareast side. Both schools are set to open in fall next year.

The district's 45th elementary is being built at 636 Glendale Lakes Drive off FM 521 south of Texas 6 near Rosharon. It is expected to enroll 448 pupils from both sides of FM 512, including 111 Sienna Crossing elementary pupils to be transferred.

With the proposal, a small southern portion of the Schiff Elementary attendance zone where there are 12 pupils would be absorbed into that of Sienna Crossing Elementary. An eastern part of the Sienna Crossing zone, where the 111 pupils are, would be annexed into the new elementary's boundaries. The plan would reduce Schiff's enrollment from 799 to 503 pupils and that of Sienna Crossing from 974 to 881.

The new high school, the district's 11th, is being built at 500 Waters Lake Boulevard in Sienna Plantation area near the Hillwood residential development. Its attendance zone would comprise Hightower High's attendance zone portion south of Texas 6 and a southeastern part of the Elkins High attendance zone.

With the new high school proposal, an expected 265 students in the Vicksburg subdivision area attending Elkins High would be transferred to Hightower while 502 Sienna students attending Elkins would be relocated to the new high school. That plan would reduce Elkins' enrollment from 2,351 to 1,626 students and that of Hightower from 2,649 to 1,796. The new high school is anticipated to open with 1,171 students.

A projected 2 percent growth for the 2009-2010 school year is factored in the above student enrollment figures.

During the workshop Monday, school board members didn't have a consensus on if the administration's proposals should be presented as is to two public meetings, originally scheduled for Sept. 29 and 30 but postponed due to the lack of board agreement. . .

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Meetings Approaching:

Upcoming Important Dates:

Sept. 14 Board Workshop - Zoning

Sept. 14 Regular School Board Meeting

Sept. 28 Regular School Board Meeting

Sept. 29 Public Hearing: Zoning

Sept. 30 Public Hearing: Zoning

All meetings are held in the FBISD Administration Building, 16431 Lexington Blvd, Sugar Land, at 7 p.m. (unless otherwise noted)

Friday, September 4, 2009

FB Independent Publisher Opines On TPIA & District Compliance With Texas AG!

Open records request is a farce
By SESHADRI KUMAR, Fort Bend Independent

The public information request or the open records request with Fort Bend ISD has become a farce as far as my experience goes. What could be provided routinely to a requestor are first kept confidential and then released by the district for a nominal charge.

One would think that the feasibility committee report on the Global Science and Technology Center is a public document and the district would like it to be read by as many people as possible to win their support.

On the contrary, the report was given to the media only when asked and it was released after the statutory 10-day waiting period. It cost me $14.

Then when I wanted a copy of the comments posted on the FBISD website, I thought I could have them e-mailed to me. No, a print out was provided and the cost was $6.

Then, I posed to a query to the communications department asking what documents did the district provide to Ms. Nancy Hentschel who had filed an open records request. I had asked if the district had provided response to one of the specific queries made by her, namely “any communication via mail, phone, e-mail, text, or other routes between members of the committee, the PBK company representatives, [Dr.] Jenney, and the developer...”

I asked for the clarification because of conflicting claims made by Hentschel that she got nothing from the district and the district saying they gave all that could be given.

Instead of receiving a brief response from the communications department, my request was treated as an open records request.

Again, I had to shell out $28.50. I don’t mind it, but unfortunately, barring about five or six pages, all the other pages were a reproduction of the same feasibility committee report and comments on the website.

Making an ORR, especially with any public entity, is tricky. The requestor should be clever or the request letter may require the assistance of an attorney...

Get the full story at: http://fbindependent.com/default.asp?sourceid=&smenu=89&twindow=Default&mad=No&sdetail=1808&wpage=1&skeyword=&sidate=&ccat=&ccatm=&restate=&restatus=&reoption=&retype=&repmin=&repmax=&rebed=&rebath=&subname=&pform=&sc=2531&hn=fbindependent&he=.com

ALSO--SMSD adopts balanced budget, with no tax increase

COULD FBISD BOT TAKE A LESSON FROM SMSD BOT? SEE: http://fbindependent.com/default.asp?sourceid=&smenu=1&twindow=Default&mad=&sdetail=1810&wpage=1&skeyword=&sidate=&ccat=&ccatm=&restate=&restatus=&reoption=&retype=&repmin=&repmax=&rebed=&rebath=&subname=&pform=&sc=2531&hn=fbindependent&he=.com

FB Star Covers FBISD Tax Increase Vote & Near 20 Million Dollar Budget Deficit--

Full version at: http://www.fortbendstar.com/090209/n_FBISD%20approves%20498%20million.htm

"Despite the debates and failed attempts, all seven board members voted in favor of the finalized budget which cast aside the insurance increase and kept the pay raise for regular district employees.

Due to the Fort Bend Central Appraisal District’s delay in certifying the property evaluations, the district’s taxable property value cannot be certified. Officials are hoping to be able to set a new tax rate in a month. The new rate may see a 3.5 cent increase, going up to $1.305 per $100 assessed value. Last year, the rate was raised by 2 cents from $1.25 in 2007.
" FB Star

FB Independent release on deficit/tax increase: http://fbindependent.com/default.asp?sourceid=&smenu=1&twindow=Default&mad=&sdetail=1816&wpage=1&skeyword=&sidate=&ccat=&ccatm=&restate=&restatus=&reoption=&retype=&repmin=&repmax=&rebed=&rebath=&subname=&pform=&sc=2531&hn=fbindependent&he=.com

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Upcoming Important Dates:

Date Event

Sept. 7 Labor Day - School Closed

Sept. 14 Board Workshop - Zoning

Sept. 14 Regular School Board Meeting

Sept. 28 Regular School Board Meeting

Sept. 29 Public Hearing: Zoning

Sept. 30 Public Hearing: Zoning

FBN updates recent property tax rate increase vote & record budget deficit: http://www.fortbendnow.com/2009/09/01/40045

Related problems continue at FBISD police dept: http://www.fortbendnow.com/2009/09/01/40049#comment-2937

The same gang that killed those two in Fresno has members at several of our high schools. Believe me, it’s serious and you have to have the training and equipment to handle them,” the officer said. “The chief, the superintendent and the school board wants everybody to believe everything is rosy in the schools. They don’t see what we see; they either don’t get it or they don’t want to admit it.FBN

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Watch Exclusive: Conflicted Trustees Vote To Move Forward With Approving More Spending & Record Budget Deficit!

Last week, former FBISD school board member Stan Magee issued a public comment asking where the $122 million dollar surplus "fund balance" had gone (now listed as nearly 93 million) on the FortBendNow.com website, while opposing further tax increases and supporting a balanced budget. He further issued a statement to the effect condemning the boards vote in June to move forward in building the $30 million dollar "Global Taj Mahal" duplicate spending project (see Global Science & Technology Center and HMNS project opening in October in Telfair).

Of special note, the same two board members whom had adamantly supported the GSTC project, David Reitz and former BOT president Sonal Buchar, seemed to lead the charge in the budget hearing for making drastic cuts in the operating budget over the next few years and then voted lock-step on an amended budget that actually increases spending over the administrations proposed budget. During the agenda session on the amendments to the budget, the trustees seemed to have quite a deal of difficulty implementing "Robert's Rules of Order", which govern most governmental meetings.

During the public comments portion, the district's teacher association made a very strong and successful case, to protect raises and healthcare benefits by using funds from the "fund balance" to attempt to reign in this years budget deficit projected at nearly 19 million dollars (the largest in the districts history).

Special note: The "fund balance", so often mentioned in the above piece, comes from prior district bond funds voted on by the public for school projects that were NOT used and then "slipped" (moved) to this account. The district regularly uses this account to fund other projects in the system.

Final comment: FBISDWatch will continue to post updates to this story as local media weigh in...

Background: http://blogs.chron.com/fortbend/archives/2009/08/fbisd_ags_rulin.html#c1452860

Monday, August 24, 2009

Thursday, August 20, 2009

FBSun: FBISD to hold next board meeting on Tuesday, August 25

From staff reports

The Fort Bend ISD Board of Trustees announced it will hold its next regular board meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 25, in the boardroom of the FBISD Administration Building, located at 16431 Lexington Blvd. in Sugar Land.

Meetings are typically held on Mondays, but board trustees agreed to reschedule the Aug. 24 Monday meeting to Tuesday, in response to other district commitments.

The meeting is slated to begin at 6 p.m. in the board room with a closed session, followed by the public session at approximately 7 p.m.

Comment: This is the meeting that the "rubber stamp" BOT will vote to increase our tax rate once again.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Dunn Leaves FortBendNow....

...Sad news reached the watch-group staff this morning involving a local reporter and resident who 4 years ago founded what would revolutionize, in our community, web-based news reporting. The articles were often cutting edge, for this county and will be missed. Not only did Bob Dunn allow the public to comment on the stories, which at the time was novel, he developed a strong network in the area that would provide the "other side" of the issues.

Almost a year ago Mr. Dunn sold FBN and with it the opinion editorial pages vanished. He took on the editorial supervisory role with the purchasing firm (Instant News Network). Comments on stories were still allowed, but as often is the case, in this type of media, advertising pressure seemed to drive the ever increasing releases from public relations interests.

Good luck with your future endeavors Bob! We know your pen won't remain silent for long.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Upcoming Dates:

Important Dates

Aug. 18 Summer Graduation

Aug. 24 School Starts!

Aug. 24 Back To School Golf Scramble

Aug. 25 Regular School Board Meeting (Moved to Tuesday: This BOT will vote to increase our taxes once again to address second record budget deficit)

Sept. 7 Labor Day - School Closed

Sept. 14 Regular School Board Meeting

All board meetings are held in the FBISD Administration Building, 16431 Lexington Blvd, Sugar Land, at 7 p.m. unless otherwise noted.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Fort Bend Independent Reports On FBISD Tax Hearing

School board struggles with $18 million budget deficit

Even as the Fort Bend ISD board of trustees Monday night wrestled with an $18 million deficit in a $498 million budget, some taxpayers took the board to task for raising the debt service tax rate by 3.5 cents per $100 valuation.

The administration and the board, on the other hand, took credit for a much smaller increase in the debt service tax rate than was anticipated.

During the public hearing on the budget, Michael Lee submitted a “writ of remonstrance” against the trustees for “failing” the people and asked each trustee to resign immediately.

The writ was signed by 525 people and Lee gave a sworn affidavit stating that he witnessed each person signing the writ.

The speakers opposing the tax hike were mainly faulting the school district for proceeding with the multi-million dollar Global Science and Technology Center at a time when the country is in an economic crisis.

Kevin Tunstall said public confidence in elected officials was at an all time low. A couple of trustees during their campaign said they would not support a tax hike and now they should keep their promise, Tunstall said. . .

Get the full story at: http://fbindependent.com/default.asp?sourceid=&smenu=1&twindow=&mad=&sdetail=1759&wpage=1&skeyword=&sidate=&ccat=&ccatm=&restate=&restatus=&reoption=&retype=&repmin=&repmax=&rebed=&rebath=&subname=&pform=&sc=2531&hn=fbindependent&he=.com

Chronicle UPDATE 8-14
: http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/nb/fortbend/news/6570179.html

Youtube video of presentations: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fW2Jq2HWaAk

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Youtube on FBISD Tax Hearing....

The video says it all: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fW2Jq2HWaAk

FB Star Covers FBISD TPIA (Open Records) Controversy-

Get the latest updates from the FB Star on this continuing problem with FBISD:



From FB Star Skinner Weekly Column:

FBISD and those public records

I am very disappointed in Fort Bend Independent School District for not releasing public records requested by Nancy Hentschel of New Territory months ago.

About three weeks ago, after an attorney general’s opinion was handed down, the district said they had complied and the documents had been released.

Hertschel says that simply is not the case.

Now Nancy is not a tax protester. In fact she says she has no problem paying taxes for services that are for the benefit of the community. She’d gladly pay taxes to reduce the size of the classrooms and give teachers incentives to be the best they can be, she says.

But she is legitimately concerned about a plan to spend $24 million for a Global Science Center when some schools are reporting continual air conditioning and plumbing problems, some classrooms have 30 students and teachers are stressed beyond their limitations, she says.

Not only that, but Nancy wonders aloud how the district would be able to bus 800 students a day to the envisioned Global Science Center when they are having a hard time bussing the regular students to their allotted campuses.

She has some very legitimate concerns.

At first she asked for the records to see if the planned construction was really needed or could be justified.

Now, do to the hanky-panky way this has been handled, she feels there must be something they are hiding or the information would have immediately been released when requested.

I’ve seen this over and over again through the years. A citizen asks a governmental body to provide public records. The governmental body balks or refuses. A simple request becomes a demand. The demand becomes an official complaint. More people join the foray. The governmental body in question eventually complies but by then no one trusts them or believes that they have truly provided unaltered or complete information.

Things would be so simple if our public officials recognized that they are such and that transparency is required by those paying the bills .. the taxpayers.

Stay informed and keep in touch!

FB Sun Reports On FBISD Budget Crisis!

Get the full piece at: http://www.hcnonline.com/articles/2009/08/12/fort_bend_sun/news/slsws_-_fbisd_budget_811.txt

. . .Several people expressed concerns with plans by the district to move forward with the Global Science Center in the midst of its present budget crisis.

“We have a Global Science Center that we are looking at between $20 to $60 million dollars and we have a contracting economy at best, and taxpayers, myself included, have had to contract my spending and that is not what we are seeing here with Fort Bend [ISD],” Sugar Land resident Nancy Hentschel said.

Hentschel, a vocal opponent of the science facility, called Fort Bend ISD spending on the proposed Center an example of “very poor planning.”

Hentschel also challenged the board to release documents related to the proposed Global Science and Technology Center based on a recent directive approved by the Attorney General of the State of Texas.

Another resident, Michael Lee, called for the board to resign, alleging board members failed to deliver lawful requests for information to the people, failed to disclose potential conflicts of interest in connection with the center, and told taxpayers many times that the district had enough resources to pay for the science center.

“My goal is to get the school board to obey the law in every way, and not skirt and trick and deceive the people into believing this tax increase is really necessary and to get them to disclose their communications with the vendors who will be building the Global Science and Technology Center, because it is my belief that their campaign contributors are also in the construction business,” Lee said.

A retired computer professional, Lee also expressed concerns after the board meeting regarding 10 percent cuts in the teachers budgets proposed in the budget.

“Teachers now have to buy their own paper for copy machines and own fabric to do science class,” Lee said.

“They don’t have enough money to properly equip a science lab in every school, but they have enough money to build a three-story science boondoggle,” Lee said.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

FBN Covers FBISD Tax Hearing & Budget Crisis--

See these separate pieces:



http://www.fortbendnow.com/2009/08/11/39478 (Jenney & board point the finger)


"...All of the speakers spoke against having their property taxes raised.

One of the them, Michael Lee, spelled out his objections to the proposed tax increase in the form of a “write of remonstrance” that carried signatures Lee said totaled 525, and called for the resignation of all FBISD Board trustees.

As did others, Lee tied his objections to a tax hike to the science center.

The board of trustees made explicit and repeated representations to the taxpayers and the citizens of Fort Bend that spending on the Global Science and Technology Center was in the best interests of the taxpayers of Fort Bend,” Lee said, reading from his “writ.”

“The board of trustees made explicit and repeated representations to the taxpayers of Fort Bend that the resources of the Fort Bend Independent School District were sufficient to pay for the Global Science and Technology Center,” Lee said.

“In direct contradiction to those explicit repeated representations and assurances, and with a recession facing the taxpayers, the board of trustees is now asking for a 3.5-cent increase in the property tax rate,” Lee said, reading from his document.

After reading from his statement, Lee passed out copies of the document to each board member, including individual pre-formatted “resignation” letters, which board members ignored...." FBN

FBW comment: Actually two of the trustees thanked Mr. Lee when he handed them the "writ" which really constitutes a vote of no confidence.

...we will update these at intervals...

Monday, August 10, 2009


staff report

In past years the FBISD tax hearings, required by law, have drawn few if any participants to the sometimes dry sessions, but in stark contrast to the previous events, large crowds and several speakers were present to protest a variety of issues that many felt were impacting this years proposed 3.5 cent increase to service the ever growing district debt.

All of the citizens that addressed the board made it very clear that they opposed any tax increase. One speaker, Nancy Hentschel of Sugar Land, was very concerned about the board voting for the controversial $30 million dollar Global "Taj Mahal" only a month ago while failing to provide all communications ordered released by the Texas Attorney Generals office two weeks ago. Kevin Tunstall, of Missouri City, spoke to the importance of governmental entities being responsive to the needs of the electorate and how this wasn't the time for such a jump in the rate. Bruce Hutton, of Sugar Land, spoke of why his family moved here and how the reputation of the district seemed in decline and whether or not, with declining academics, they could justify such a hike in the rate. Then Joe Garland another Sugar Land native approached the board and asked them how much more they needed and then emptied his pockets, he also asked them what happened to the "fund balance" of $94 million dollars and why they weren't using that to retire the current budget short-fall.

Several other speakers would also attempt to sway the trustees and as usual the board president, Bob Broxson, issued the obligatory warning to the audience (of taxpayers) not to applaud several times to little avail. Finally Michael Lee, of Missouri City, was called to speak and presented the school board with a 'Writ of Remonstrance' with over 500 petitioner-homeowners signatures from the district requesting the board step down for violating their oaths of office. The writ was notarized and is in the process of being recorded with the county......all in all a very interesting evening and one that will need monitoring as the budget season continues.

This report will be updated soon....

Friday, August 7, 2009

Chron: Reports On Controversy Surrounding Texas Attorney Generals Order For FBISD To Comply With TPIA Requests (See story below on this issue too)--

Chronicle Update 8-10-09: http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/nb/fortbend/news/6566972.html



AG: FBISD must disclose info to critic

Nancy Hentschel, a critic of the Fort Bend school district's controversial $26 million "global center for science and technology" proposal, said district officials continued to withhold the information she requested even after the Texas Attorney General's office ruled that the district must do so.

Hentschel voiced her frustration:

It is a real tragedy that getting basic open records for a taxpayer project of the magnitude of the Global Science Center should be this profoundly difficult.
I contacted district spokeswoman Mary Ann Simpson seeking the school district's side of the story Friday morning and am waiting for a response. . .

More at: http://blogs.chron.com/fortbend/archives/2009/08/ag_fbisd_must_d.html

Background (with AG order):


Important Dates:

Important Dates:

August 7 Special Education Summer Conference
August 8 Annual Parent Organization Meeting
August 10 Public Meeting to Discuss Huge Budget Deficit and Proposed Tax Rate (INCREASE) - 5pm
August 10 Regular School Board Meeting
August 18 Summer Graduation

FBN: IS The District With-holding Information Ordered Released By The Texas Attorney Generals Office Still???

Woman Wins Open-records Ruling, Says School District Still Won’t Release Science Center Info
August 7th, 2009 | by Bob Dunn, Fortbendnow

Even after a Texas Attorney General’s ruling in her favor, A New Territory woman says, Fort Bend Independent School District officials are purposely withholding public records about the proposed Global Science & Technology Center.

The school district said it has provided New Territory resident Nancy Hentschel with the documents ordered released by the AG’s office.

However, Hentschel said Friday, “I have been given nothing.”

An opponent of the district’s proposed $26.4 million science center, Hentschel said the information she is seeking could have been essential to the public before the FBISD Board of Trustees gave its approval for the project to proceed in a limited fashion.

Since the board vote on the science center came and went without the district releasing the information she requested, Hentschel said she hoped the release would come before next Monday’s board meeting, during which board members are expected to discuss the administration’s proposed 3.5-cent property tax increase.

It appears that won’t happen.

Events leading up to the current showdown between Hentschel and the district began this spring, when she made a formal request under the Texas Public Information Act for a variety of information related to the science center. Among records she requested were:

→ All documents under review by a committee the district set up to study the proposal’s feasibility;

→ All comments made about the project publicly on an FBISD web site;

→ A list of “current committed companies and the amounts they have already donated to this project;”

→ All communication between members of the feasibility committee, PBK architects, FBISD Superintendent Dr. Timothy Jenney, and former Sugar Land mayor and developer David Wallace, who headed the feasibility committee;

→ Any available financial disclosure statements since 2007 for Dr. Jenney.

After a records-release deadline expired under TPIA regulations, Hentschel said in a May 19 complaint to the attorney general’s office, FBISD outside counsel David Feldman provided her with a “PowerPoint sales pitch from Mr. Wallace” that “had nothing to do with any request that I had made…”

Get the full piece at:


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

FB Star: District Claims It Will Comply With Texas AG Order To Release Documents Lawfully Requested (So far none have been turned over)

"Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott’s assistant, Bob Davis, issued an opinion to the district via FBISD’s attorney David Feldman.

The letter to Feldman from Davis says the district must release all information requested, with the exception of e-mails from the public who object to this information being released. However, the opinion goes on to say, that withholding e-mail addresses from vendors who seek a contract with the governmental body or a person who has a contractual relationship with the governmental body must be released."

"...Fort Bend Independent School District officials say they will comply with the Texas Attorney General’s opinion that said the district could not withhold information on private citizens serving on the Feasibility Committee for the proposed Global Science and Technology Center..." FB Star report


Saturday, August 1, 2009

Chron: Updates FBISD Push For Higher Taxes Again This Year (After 10.8% Increase In Appraisals in '09)

UPDATED August 5th (see this related piece): http://www.fortbendnow.com/2009/08/04/39353#comment-2630

and http://www.myfortbend.net/news/local/community/1189-fbn-county-appraisal-district-having-problems-with-appeals-again-this-year

Link to story:http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/nb/fortbend/news/6556324.html

Very generic budget plan released by FBISD for public consumption (missing quite a bit of detail):


Important Dates:

August 4 FBISD Special Community Program
August 7 Special Education Summer Conference
August 8 Annual Parent Organization Meeting
August 10 Public Meeting to Discuss Budget and Proposed Tax Rate (INCREASE) - 5pm
August 10 Regular School Board Meeting
August 18 Summer Graduation

Friday, July 31, 2009

FBN: New Rating System Elevates Schools Accountability Rankings Across The State, FBISD Included!

"This year’s TEA rankings improved overall across Texas, in part because of a new “growth measure” the agency calls the “Texas Projection Measure,” which gives schools credit for students’ academic growth, or their projected ability to pass TAKS tests in future years."

"...Despite the individual campus achievements, the state gave FBISD an overall district ranking of “Academically Acceptable.” FBN

This year the Texas Accountability System allowed districts to use a new measure which allows projections of future performance, which was quite controversial when first introduced by many educational experts. It has had the desired political effect of raising scores across the state. FBISD is no exception, however FBISD remains ranked only "academically acceptable" once again this year. Get the full story below:


Quote for the day!

A small group of thoughtful people can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.

Margaret Mead

Thursday, July 30, 2009

More Problems With Employee Payroll At FBISD.....

"The error irritated officials at the Fort Bend Employee Federation, an American Federation of Teachers affiliate that says it represents about 2,000 FBISD employees.

“We’re not here to point fingers; we’re happy the disttrict is getting it right,” said federation organizer Anthony Lacsamana. “But why can’t they get it right from the beginning?”

He said the paraprofessionals “were told from the beginning it was a $14-an-hour position,” in June. . . . Just because they’re in the driver’s seat doesn’t mean they have to run all over everyone,” he said of the school district. “And that’s what they do.”

Get the full story at: http://www.fortbendnow.com/2009/07/30/39274

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

FB Star Reports On AG's Ruling--click link below for more--

"The letter to Feldman from Davis says the district must release all information requested, with the exception of e-mails from the public who object to this information being released. However, the opinion goes on to say, that withholding e-mail addresses from vendors who seek a contract with the governmental body or a person who has a contractual relationship with the governmental body must be released." FB Star

See: http://www.fortbendstar.com/072909/o_Texas%20Attorney%20General%20says%20FBISD%20must%20release%20requested%20information%20about%20Global.htm

Tuesday, July 28, 2009



After numerous requests over several months and before public hearings by taxpayers of FBISD and many formal requests for all documents and communications surrounding the $27 million dollar taxpayer funded controversial "Global Taj Mahal" and continued district attempts to block these requests (by the superintendent) until after the 7-0 school board vote in June, the Texas Attorney General has ordered the school district to comply.

The following order from the AG's office is reprinted below in it's entirety (Feldman, Rogers, Morris & Glover, LLP are one of the legal vendors for the school district, which we pay our taxes to regarding issues like the one below. How much did they bill the district to help with-hold this information from the public until after the school board voted on this project?):


July 20, 2009

Mr. David M. Feldman
Feldman, Rogers, Morris & Grover, L.L.P.
5718 Westtheimer Road, Suite 1200
Houston, Texas 77057

Dear Mr. Feldman:

You ask whether certain information is subject to required public disclosure under the Public Information Act (the "Act"), chapter 552 of the Government Code. Your request was assigned ID# 349446.

The Fort Bend Independent School District (the "district"), which you represent, received a request for nine categories of information pertaining to a specified district-created committee. You state the district has released most of the responsive information. You claim that the marked e-mail addresses within the submitted information are excepted from disclosure under section 552.137 of the Government Code. l. We have considered the exception you claim and reviewed the submitted representative sample of information. 2. We have also considered comments received from the requestor. See Gov't Code § 552.304 (providing that interested party may submit comments stating why information should or should not be

The district initially raised sections 552.1 0 1, 552.111, and 552.117 of the Government Code but has since withdrawn its claims under those exceptions. 2. We assume that the "representative sample" of records submitted to this office is truly representative of the requested records as a whole. See Open Records Decision Nos. 499 (1988),497 (1988). This open records letter does not reach, and therefore does not authorize the withholding of, any other requested records to the extent that those records contain substantially different types of information than that submitted to this

Mr. David M. Feldman - Page 2

Section 552.137 excepts from disclosure "an e-mail address of a member of the public that is provided for the purpose of communicating electronically with a governmental body" unless the member of the public consents to its release or the e-mail address is of a type specifically excluded by subsection (c). See Gov't Code § 552. 137(a)-(c). Subsection (c)(l) states that subsection (a) does not apply to an e-mail address "provided to a governmental body by a person who has a contractual relationship with the govemmental body or by the contractor's agent" and subsection (c)(2) states that subsection (a) does not apply to an e-mail address "provided to a govemmental body by a vendor who seeks to contract with the govemmental body or by the vendor's agent[.]" Id. § 552.137(c)(1), (2). You inform us that the owners of the e-mail addresses at issue have not consented to their release. Accordingly, the district must withhold the e-mail addresses you marked under section 552.137, except to the extent that any such address is the address of a person or agent of a person who has or is seeking a contractual relationship with the district. The remaining information must be

This letter ruling is limited to the particular information at issue in this request and limited to the facts as presented to us; therefore, this ruling must not be relied upon as a previous determination regarding any other information or any other circumstances.

This ruling triggers important deadlines regarding the rights and responsibilities of the govemmental body and of the requestor. For more information conceming those rights and responsibilities, please visit our website at http://www.oag.state.tx.us/open/index orl.php, or call the Office of the Attomey General's Open Govemment Hotline, toll free, at (877) 673-6839. Questions conceming the allowable charges for providing public information under the Act must be directed to the Cost Rules Administrator of the Office of the Attomey General at (512) 475-2497.


Bob Davis
Assistant Attomey General
Open Records Division
Ref: ID# 349446
Ene. Submitted documents
cc: Requestor
(w/o enclosures)

FBW comment: The only question now is will the district continue to with-hold this lawfully requested information and potentially invoke further sanctions from the state?

Sunday, July 26, 2009

FB Star OP/ED: Reader’s take on Global Science Center

Reader’s take on Global Science Center

Source: http://www.fortbendstar.com/Columns/letters.htm

I would like to interject some opinion regarding the “Global” Science Center:

The concept of this project is misguided and appears to be on the verge of a terrible misuse of public funds, something that every taxpayer in Fort Bend County should take note of.

1. 70% of the teachers said that they do not feel they have enough knowledge to teach science. It would seem that the best solution would be to train the teachers better, or hire Science teachers.

2. Teachers say that they do not have enough time in a day to teach the subject sufficiently. But if students would have to be bussed from their campus to the “Global” Science Center (GSC), that would result in wasted time.

3. Students will attend this GSC only 3 or 4 times per year. How much impact can such few visits really have?

4. The GSC will only service grade 2 - 8. It would seem appropriate to spend significant funds on high-intellectual Masters and Doctorate Degree level work, not grade school level.

5. “State-of-the-Art,” “World Class” - sounds great, but what does it really mean? And, as we all can summise, “State-of-the-Art,” “World Class” is not, can not, and will not be low cost. How much will it cost? We will find out after this is so hyped up it will sound like “the greatest investment” no matter what the cost is.

6. Transportation personnel have indicated that the cost of operating the fleet of bus vehicles is very expensive. In fact, they want to spend a large sum of money to monitor the use of each vehicle. Well, that cost is going to get even higher if they are busing children to and from the GSC.

7. Student population is declining. A large investment would be made to service a shrinking number of students, increasing the cost per student.

8. “We have had talks with private businesses and institutions that have expressed interest in the possibilities of forming collaborative partnerships to help fund the Center. If we could move in that direction, we believe the Center could be funded without any need to raise taxes, or take away resources already allocated for other district purposes,” said Wallace. With the economy the way it is now, that does not sound like a reality. “If we could...” and “...we believe” holds no water. Does anybody remember “No new taxes”? Nor does this account for the ongoing cost of this facility. And, how soon will it get outdated and need to be “re-modernized?”

9. According to information provided regarding funding of the center, there is no need to raise taxes for this project because sufficient funds exist in other FBISD accounts. If that is really the case, pay back the excessive funds to the taxpayers! We surely would approve of a lower tax rate!

10. The rest of the story... That is the BIG question. Why spend so much time and effort to “sell” a GSC idea when that time and effort would be much better allocated to training teachers more about science? Is there another purpose behind this big project?

In finishing up, I find it rather curious that the main purpose of this “Global Center” is to improve the TAKS test, but nobody has indicated what verifiable improvement this Center would have regarding TAKS scores or how many students would actually be enlightened to become a Scientist.

Seems to me the FBISD board should set up a Learning Center for their own use: Financing, Budgeting, and Living Within Your Means. Now, ALL of America could benefit from that!

REALTOR, Realty Associates

WATCH UPDATE: New information is coming out as this post was being added. We will update it soon!


Monday, July 20, 2009

Fort Bend Independent Reports On Proposed FBISD Tax Increase!

"The administration’s proposed 2009 budget anticipates a deficit of $12 million to $18 million." FBI

FBI link: http://fbindependent.com/default.asp?sourceid=&smenu=1&twindow=Default&mad=&sdetail=1676&wpage=1&skeyword=&sidate=&ccat=&ccatm=&restate=&restatus=&reoption=&retype=&repmin=&repmax=&rebed=&rebath=&subname=&pform=&sc=2531&hn=fbindependent&he=.com

FBW Comment: This projected deficit comes only a month after the current school board voted to approve spending another $27 million on a duplicate museum (HMNS & GSTC).

OP/ED (From fortbendemployees blogspot): Lowering Standards In FBISD

The following was reprinted with permission from the author:

"I plead with each of you to ask the tough questions and seek an explanation as to why Mr. Johnson is lowering FBISD standards, and why Mr. Johnson is not seeking the maximum qualifications for our tax dollar."


While on the surface, one would think that FBISD is an institution of learning, in which we teach and preach to our students that education is the key to success in their future, although the reality is much different. It seems that there is a very disturbing trend that is being perpetuated by the director of facilities, Michael Johnson, to lower the minimum educational requirements for many of the high paying jobs within the department.

The first position which Michael Johnson lowered the minimum standard of education from a Bachelors Degree to a high school degree was that of the newly created support manager position. This position, which pays in excess of $60,000 a year, was given to a very attractive white female who did not have a degree, even though the original job posting required a college degree as a minimum qualification. In fact, there were two highly qualified black candidates which had Bachelor degrees, and one with an MBA, who were bypassed for the position in order to give it to the attractive white female with no previous experience and a high school diploma. This action on the part of Michael Johnson led to the allegations of discrimination being made and a complaint being filed to the EEOC, which is still currently under investigation. You can read the details of this event at http://www.fortbendemployees.blogspot.com

The second position in which Michael Johnson lowered the minimum educational qualifications was for the newly created position of second operations manager. This position, which pays in excess of $60,000 a year, was given to an individual which did not have a college degree, even though a job with a pay category of 16 required a college degree as a minimum qualification. Keep in mind that the two other manager positions within the facilities department are also category 16 positions which currently require degrees as part of the job requirement.

Mr. Johnson has created another new position of an additional contracts coordinator, which is another high paying position in excess of $50,000 a year and one which is being advertised very low key and quickly, as to not attract too much attention. The contracts coordinator position will be responsible for administrating the multi-million dollar record bond/debt program that FBISD is currently involved in. This individual will be responsible for all aspects of contract administration, payments, and so forth.

There is currently an individual who is employed as a contracts coordinator with FBISD. This individual is an engineer, with many years of experience in bond programs, and one which was hired under the contracts coordinator job description which required, as a minimum, a Bachelors degree, with several years of experience in project management.

It is alleged that there are several inside candidates that Mr. Johnson wants to promote to the newly created contracts coordinator position. Of these candidates, none of them have any project management experience, nor any construction experience. In fact, one of the candidates is currently the janitorial supervisor. Is this not amazing that FBISD taxpayers are on the verge of gaining a janitorial supervisor as the administrator to our multi-million dollar record bond program?

One has to ask several key questions regarding these actions on the part of Michael Johnson. Why is it, that in these economic times, and with a great multitude of qualified individuals seeking employment, FBISD, on the behest of Michael Johnson, has not increased the requirements for a job, but have in fact decreased the minimum standards. Keep in mind that the pay category has not been lowered for this position, only the educational requirement.

Does it not strike anyone as odd that a job of this magnitude and of this high pay be one which requires nothing more than a GED? I invite any of the board members to scour through the job postings for any other school district, even the smaller ones, and you will not find any jobs of this magnitude, that do not require a college degree. In fact, this newly created job only requires a GED.

Why isn't Michael Johnson seeking to maximize the FBISD tax dollar by employing the better qualified candidates by keeping the minimum educational requirements as they previously were? Why is this newly created position of contracts coordinator being advertised so quickly and quietly? Is it, as many people have alleged, so that Michael Johnson can place his janitorial supervisor or one of the other non qualified candidates in this position with minimal attention?

How many of you board members don't make $60,000 a year working only 226 days a year? I am sure that even though some of you may earn significantly more, I am sure you don't have to look far to find many people, who would love to have these high paying jobs. In fact, I am sure that the more and more you look, you will find many people within our community, who have the educational requirements, with the required experience, who will not get a fair shake at this position.

You may ask yourself why Michael Johnson would go to such great lengths to lower educational standards for these positions, when there are so many educated people with the required experience looking for work? The answer is very simple. The pending EEOC investigation has brought forth many discrepancies, possibly actions which can be construed to be discriminatory on the part of Michael Johnson.

After the initial support manager position, in which Michael Johnson hired an unqualified, but very attractive white female, Mr. Johnson has gone to great lengths to cover his actions. Mr. Johnson created another operations manager position, which pays in excess of $60,000 a year and placed a black individual, who did not have a degree, in this position.

Mr Johnson is now advertising another newly created position for contracts coordinator position which requires nothing more than a GED, even though it is a high paying job. Keep in mind that this newly created position pays more than any of our teaching positions. It is highly rumored that this position has been promised to Melvin Williams, who is a non degreed individual, with no experience in project management, but who is a black candidate. What reason does Michael Johnson have to lower the standards set forth for this position? Could it be to cover and placate the EEOC investigators, as well as the many unhappy minority employees within the facilities department of FBISD? I think so.

Why does the human resource department allow Michael Johnson to lower the minimum qualifications for these positions? Is it not the responsibility of the human resource department to seek the most highly qualified candidates for our school district? Could it be Michael Johnson's extremely close relationship to Dr. Jenney, which Michael Johnson is quite fond to describe to anyone who will listen, which gives him carte blanche? It is this close relationship between Michael Johnson and Dr. Jenney which keeps many of the employees within the facilities department in fear. Could this be why the human resource department is rumored to be a rubber stamp for all of Michael Johnson's actions? I would love to hear what argument they give in favor of reducing standards rather than increasing them. It's not like there aren't people looking for work.

Described above you have three newly created positions, which in pay, total more than $150,000 a year, that require nothing more than a GED. My question to each of you is why is FBISD hypocritical in telling our children to educate themselves and get ready for the future, while lowering the minimum educational standards for high paying positions within the facilities department? Is this not sending the wrong message to our children? Even though I am a proud black man, I find it appalling that Mr. Johnson would resort to such cheap actions to cover his initial act of discrimination. I cannot justify Mr Johnson's actions of lowering the minimum educational qualifications, and hiring unqualified minority candidates, at the expense of the FBISD taxpayer, to cover his actions. I don't agree with discrimination of any kind, and it seems to me that the actions described above, in which Mr. Johnson creates new positions, with lower standards to give to unqualified minority applicants is no more correct than his original alleged discriminatory act that is being investigated by the EEOC.

I plead with each of you to ask the tough questions and seek an explanation as to why Mr. Johnson is lowering FBISD standards, and why Mr. Johnson is not seeking the maximum qualifications for our tax dollar.

This article can be found at: http://www.fortbendemployees.blogspot.com