They say politics can get dirty, but school politics get personal. This quaint saying seemed to come true last night at the FCCSA public forums in the school board races here at St. Laurence Church in Sugar Land. A few years ago these forums were altered to be small group meeting with rotations between tables. Attendance has fallen off accordingly. Well this year, it appeared to this reporter, that something new was added to the mix.
While standing near two of the candidates tables I noticed a particular nasty exchange going on between one audience member and one of the candidates. After taking a second look someone else in the audience pointed her out to me as one of the school board members Susan Hohnbaum accompanied by a friend who appeared to join in on the heckling. This is the second public forum that two board members have attempted to disrupt in this manner. The first was at the retired educators forum last week where current school trustee vice president Steve Smelley had unsuccessfully attempted to rattle the candidates. Many in the audience where unaware that these "hecklers" are seated board members. Is this anything new to politics? Possibly not, but certainly new to FBISD politics where in the past most exchanges have been polite disagreements and very collegial.
During one of these exchanges it was made public that the BOT had recently "rubber stamped" the firing of a former teacher at one of their middle schools. This information apparently shook up Ms. Hohnbaum who claimed the information was not for public disclosure. The case was followed last year in FortBendNow and the Chronicle very closely and created a great deal of public outcry to reinstate this educator. According to reports, the board was following the lead of the senior district administration. Bruce Albright, one of the candidates running for the school board, stated he had the court documents to support that the BOT vote already took place against the advice of the state education commissioner. After confronting Hohnbaum with the information, she became visibly silent. Not long after that Mr. Smelley left the building.
Early voting continues through May 5th with election day May 9th.
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)