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)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Some GSTC Surveys Released To Watch Members (Also letters to the editor of the FB Star)-

After fighting for over a month for release of documents through the Texas Attorney Generals office, the district finally released the online surveys they claimed showed a high level of support for the Global Science & Technology Center ("Global Taj Mahal"). After an independent review of these surveys it is obvious that most of those turning in one of these biased forms (with no place for negative comments) OPPOSED the GSTC funding and continuation of the project in this year of a major district budget crisis.

NEW: Complete Online Survey Results (54 with serious questions and against with 41 in favor and 3 neutral statements). Many of the "in favor" appeared in sequence and seemed to be responding to negative comments. How would they have access to these concerns without backside access to the survey???: http://www.newterritorysentinel.com/FBISD_Questionnaire_and_Answers_for_Global_Science_Center.pdf

UPDATE FB INDEPENDENT 5-28: http://fbindependent.com/default.asp?sourceid=&smenu=1&twindow=Default&mad=&sdetail=1569&wpage=1&skeyword=&sidate=&ccat=&ccatm=&restate=&restatus=&reoption=&retype=&repmin=&repmax=&rebed=&rebath=&subname=&pform=&sc=2531&hn=fbindependent&he=.com

Question to our superintendent: Why would the feasibility committee and the senior level admins at workshops and board meetings portray these results as overwhelming support for the project?

FB Star ran these "letters to the editor" this week on the opposition to the GSTC:

Teacher speaks out about
proposed Global Science Center

Dear Bev,

I enjoy reading the Star, to help keep me current on local Ft. Bend happenings, but I must admit, one of the first things I read is your column. I like the way you scorch people on Bev’s Burner.

I am a former teacher & current tax-payer in FBISD. We own a home and live in this district, but in my opinion, we need this new $26 Mil. Science Center, about as much as I need another navel.

I would be very interested on your ‘take’ about the rush to build a 26 million dollar science center for FBISD. AND the fact that there will be NO tax increase. This must be some kind of magic, no? Who ARE these “public-private partnerships” through which the purported financing will occur, and what do THEY have to gain?

Also I would be very interested in finding out EXACTLY how the FBISD faculty voted when this “study” was done. The report states that,...”the proposed science and tech center got high marks from the local business community and from FBISD teachers.” There is also a somewhat contradictory statement in the article which says...”A bond election isn’t a consideration since ‘the clear message the feasibility committee heard repeatedly is the public has no current appetite to fund this initiative’ with more taxes.”

It seems to me, that the most enthusiastic endorsement to build, comes from the CEO of Wallace Bajjali Development Partners. If THEY think this is such a grand idea, I propose they build it, privatize it, and then rent out the facilities to FBISD on an ‘as needed’ basis.

Thanks for lending me an ear, keep up the pit-bull journalism.


Name withheld by request

Teacher says no to Tech Center,
spend the money on campuses in need

Dear Beverly,

I always read your column first and look forward to it. I’d like you to look into the science center issue. I am a teacher who has been in FBISD for 26 years and am retiring this year (after 41 years). I, along with most teachers I know (and I know a lot of them), do not support the center. We think the money should be spent on the campuses, not on ongoing transportation and maintenance no matter who pays to build it.

I am currently more interested in a quote from David Wallace’s report that I read in The “Star” today that says there is enough bond money from previous issues to fund the center in its entirety. If that’s true why don’t they use the money to replace the AC systems in older schools instead of telling us we have to wait 1 or 2 more years? I have been at ----- Elementary for 23 years and the AC system is in bad shape. Many mornings we don’t have air and they have to jump start it or some such thing.

You probably shouldn’t use my name or my school’s name because I don’t want the school to have to wait 5 more years in retaliation and my principal doesn’t know I’m writing this.

Name withheld by request


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Upcoming Events-

Upcoming Events-

May 25 Holiday

June 5-6 High School Graduation

June 8 Regular School Board Meeting

June 8 Budget Workshop II

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Fort Bend Independent Covers GSTC Controversy--click title link below for more--

See: http://www.fbindependent.com/default.asp?sourceid=&smenu=1&twindow=&mad=&sdetail=1554&wpage=1&skeyword=&sidate=&ccat=&ccatm=&restate=&restatus=&reoption=&retype=&repmin=&repmax=&rebed=&rebath=&subname=&pform=&sc=2531&hn=fbindependent&he=.com

Global center: Education or entertainment
By SESHADRI KUMAR, Fort Bend Independent

Fort Bend ISD’s proposed Global Science and Technology Center, moving at lighting speed, slowed down a little bit Monday night.

The board of trustees, instead of adopting a resolution to authorize the superintendent to proceed with the planning and programming of the Global Center for Science and Technology, postponed any action to a future meeting.

Apparently, the delay is to reach unanimity among board members in supporting the project and to respond to the concerns expressed by at least two trustees. . .

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

GSTC Project Vote Delayed For Now!

Staff report

CHRONICLE UPDATE: http://blogs.chron.com/fortbend/archives/2009/05/to_applaud_or_n.html

After quite a bit of public discussion and fanfare over several workshops and board sessions, the Global School & Technology Project (a duplication of the HMNS-Sugar Land science museum at Telfair) vote was avoided by the BOT for more discussions. Several trustee's appear to be on the proverbial fence regarding this issue and decided to start asking questions last Monday during the workshop session meant to receive the "sales"/feasibility committee report. The superintendent, Jenney, has been pushing the project forward since it was first announced in February.

Early Monday night, during the public comments section, obvious "meeting manuevering" took place to disallow several speakers a venue to air their disapproval of this controversial proposal that would spend an additional 30 to 50 million dollars of taxpayers funds during a district projected, first ever, $10 million dollar budget deficit. Several in attendance did finally get to speak. One defending the HMNS-SL project, due to open this October in Telfair (about 1.5 miles from the proposed GSTC project), urged the district to reconsider this expensive building plan and forge partnerships with the HMNS-SL museum in Sugar Land that won't cost any taxpayer dollars and has been successfully done in other districts for years, including neighboring HISD.

One FBISDWatch speaker reissued several TPIA requests concerning the GSTC process that the superintendent publically vowed to respond to in April, but has since referred them to one of the district's legal vendors, David Feldman, for challenge with the Texas Attorney General. Several of these questions continue to hinge on the concerns over an ongoing FBI investigation involving the regular district vendor PBK and their actions in another TX district involving special favors to some senior administrative district employees and board members including golfing junkets to exclusive California courses. As of this report no decision has come down from the AG's office on these lawful requests...

Stay tuned as we keep this story updated!

Background: http://www.fortbendweb.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1131&Itemid=101

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Upcoming Meetings For FBISD:

May 18 Regular School Board Meeting

May 25 Holiday

June 8 Regular School Board Meeting

June 8 Budget Workshop II

June 5-6 High School Graduation

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

FBN Covers Controversial GSTC Duplicate Project!

See this link: http://www.fortbendnow.com/2009/05/11/37808

Chronicle coverage: http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/nb/fortbend/news/6419925.html

& http://blogs.chron.com/fortbend/archives/2009/05/27_million_glob.html

"and would even likely increase area property values." Wallace -- This is standard special interest code for higher property tax appraisals via our CAD board.


...Hohnbaum indicated she believes money used to build the center could be put to more effective use by shoring up science labs and facilities at individual district schools.

She also wondered whether building the center would undercut effort by the likes of the Houston Museum of Natural Science, which is working now on the conversion of a former prison building into a satellit museum, in Sugar Land’s Telfair community.

“Will they have a planetarium over there” at the Telfair museum? she asked Wallace.

“They have a portable planetarium,” Wallace replied.

“Do they have a theater?,” she asked.

“The prison had a theater there,” Wallace said. “I don’t know if they’re going to use it for that” once it becomes a museum facility.

“Will they have interactive labs?” Hornbaum asked Wallace.

Wallace said he assumes they will.

“I just am not convinced this is the time or place” to pay for and build such a center, Hornbaum said.

She added that she is in the construction business, and understands that materials and labor are relatively low now, but “it still is a great cost.”

Hornbaum said she would rather see science teachers and their students conducting “hands-on” experiments “every day right in their own classrooms.” Instead of making five or six trips each year to the district’s science center, classes could make those trips to the new satellite museum in Telfair.

“I don’t see it as the right thing right now,” she said of the administration’s proposal.

Bhuchar countered, saying she believes having a “central” facility for interactive labs and science experiments will prove to be more effective and less costly.

Broxson said among his concerns are those related to cost, since the Texas Legislature has not provided adequate state funding for school districts.

Noting Wallace had indicated private business might be willing to pay 50% or more of the proposed center’s annual operating costs, Broxson said he’d like more details about which businesses those might be.

If someone said “Hey, I’ll give you $27 million - I’m in,” Broxson added. “The bottom line for me is, how do we afford that in the midst of all the other needs we have before us? I don’t operate with the understanding that we have any money available to us.”

At that point, Dr. Jenney revealed that the district has an “investment fund” containing about $26 million - just $400,000 shy of the total initial cost of the center. Comprised at least in part of earned interest related to bond issues prior to 2007, the fund can only be used for certain purposes - one of them capital projects, such as the proposed science center.

Trustee Daniel Menendez asked that the district schedule another workshop on the proposal, to give him and the public time to digest details, especially the financial details.

That’s not likely to happen....(FOLLOW THE LINK ABOVE FOR THE FULL SOAP OPERA)

Monday, May 11, 2009

Dave Wallace & District's Feasibility ("Sales") Committee Give The Green Light For The Controversial Global "Taj Mahal" Project!

Staff report

Watch exclusive: During an evening workshop at the FBISD administrative building today, Dave Wallace, former mayor of Sugar Land and self professed fiscal conservative, gave the green light for spending nearly 27 million dollars of PUBLIC funds for the construction of the Global Science and Technology Center (GSTC) against his and Sonal Bhuchar's earlier claims that the center could be funded mostly with private funding. Naturally this was a pre-election campaign myth that was predicted by many opponents for this tax funded project at the central office.

Two days following the most recent BOT election, the committee wasted little time in pushing this duplication of the HMNS-Sugar Land (Museum), Jenney and company have got what they expected from this hand selected group that was not left open for public nomination. Approval to move forward with public monies from district funds to build what has become known as "Jenney's legacy", while the district is running 10 million dollars in the red. According to unofficial reports by one director at the HMNS-Sugar Land, this will probably mean the end of that project in Telfair since it is funded by private sources and can not compete with such a facility only 1.5 miles away. Interestingly enough and according to sources, Wallace was also involved in shilling for that project too when he was mayor.


Friday, May 8, 2009

FBN: More High Ranking Senior Administrators Jump Ship As Elections Approach Saturday!

Another High-Ranking Administrator Leaves FBISD
May, 2009 | by Bob Dunn, FBN

Update: Tom Carter has left Fort Bend Independent School District, FortBendNow has learned - the second member of the district’s senior leadership team to leave in the past 10 weeks.

Carter, the district’s chief auxiliary services officer, couldn’t be reached for comment. However, his former secretary said he no longer works for the district. FBISD spokeswoman Mary Ann Simpson said Carter retired from his position effective Tuesday. He had begun in his position as chief auxiliary services officer in August 2008.

Among others, Carter supervised FBISD Director of Transportation Richard Torres and Director of Facilities Michael Johnson.

The two drew criticism from district employees earlier this year, who accused Johnson of having routine vehicle maintenance performed on his pickup truck at district maintenance facilities, over which Johnson holds authority...(get the complete story at: http://www.fortbendnow.com/2009/05/07/37714#comment-1942

FBW Comment: Be sure and bring an end to leadership without accountability to the voters and taxpayers and a board that only takes orders. VOTE for Carlos Cain, Bruce Albright (endorsed by teachers from across the district, watch groups and fellow candidate Rodrigo Carreon)

SATURDAY POLLING STATIONS LIST: http://www.co.fort-bend.tx.us/getSitePage.asp?sitePage=5660

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Chron: MHS/HHS Academies, In Missouri City, May Be Closed While Jenney/Board Promotes Duplicate "Global Taj Mahal"--click the link below for more--



See: http://www.chron.com/disp/discuss.mpl/nb/fortbend/news/6411082.html#comments-head

"Cain, who seeks to unseat school board president Sonal Bhuchar, in his comment during a recent meeting, said the district's "global center" would be in direct competition with Houston Museum of Natural Science's project in Telfair which he believes would serve the community better at no tax implication to the residents. Even if the district would be able to build the "global center" with donated funds, Cain said, the cost of operating and maintaining the building would be a burden on local taxpayers." Chronicle

Don't forget to vote in your local school and city elections THIS SATURDAY!

Ck this link out for more: http://mcelectioninformation.blogspot.com




SPECIAL Note: Mr. Rodrigo Carreon is also running for the board and has worked tirelessly for Mr. Cain and Mr. Albright! Get out and vote Saturday!

SATURDAY POLLING STATIONS LIST: http://www.co.fort-bend.tx.us/getSitePage.asp?sitePage=5660

Monday, May 4, 2009

Update On HB 171 From The Chronicle (Zero Tolerance Run Amok)--

Click here for more: http://blogs.chron.com/fortbend/archives/2009/05/bill_challengin.html#comments

FBN Release: State Rep. Roasts FBISD Admin Over Summer School Pay Issue

“Do we know that there’s a problem with this district’s cash flow, or is it an administrative problem?” asked committee Chairman Mark Srama, D-Austin." FBN

"The testimony raised the ire of Bryan Republican Fred Brown.

“I think the best way to handle this is that all the people in the administration that have this attitude - lets just hold up on their paychecks for 60 days and lets see how they like it,” he said. “You start messing with people’s pay - that’s just wrong.”

State Rep. Roasts FBISD Admin Over Summer School Pay Issue
May 4th, 2009 | by Bob Dunn, FortBendNow

Testimony over Fort Bend Independent School District’s apparent failure to pay summer school teachers on time has drawn heat from House committee members - one of whom suggested administrators’ pay be withheld.

Testifying on behalf of Texas House Bill 2119, which would require Texas school districts to comply with provisions of the state’s so-called payday law, bill author and Missouri City Democrat Dora Olivo told committee members the law is needed “so that our educators and district employees have options when the district does not take its obligations or its employees seriously.”

Teacher and Fort Bend Employee Federation member Rosie Williams told the House Technology, Economic Development & Workforce Committee last week that FBISD hasn’t been paying summer school employees on time.

For the past two years, the district’s pay schedule showed teachers and hourly employees such as bus drivers were to be paid once on June 30 and again on July 30. . .

Get the full piece at: http://www.fortbendnow.com/2009/05/04/37618

FBW Comment: This is an update to a release FBISDWatch did on Weds of last week. During the sessions several major state organizations were highly critical of FBISD senior level administration and the BOT including TASA and TASB. Get the full unedited version at: http://fbisdwatch.blogspot.com/2009/04/fbisd-takes-center-stage-at-state.html

Friday, May 1, 2009



• Early voting at Garcia Middle School, 18550 Old Richmond Road in Sugar Land; Missouri City Community Center, 1522 Texas Parkway in Missouri City; and Hightower High School, 3333 Hurricane Lane in Missouri City will be:
8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through May 2; 7 a.m.-7 p.m. May 4-5.

• Early voting at First Colony Conference Center, 3232 Austin Parkway in Sugar Land, will be:
10 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday through May 1; 8 a.m.-5 p.m. May 2; 7 a.m.-7 p.m. May 4-5.

• Early voting at Lost Creek Park, 3707 Lost Creek Blvd.; and Sugar Land City Hall, 2700 Town Center Blvd. N. will be:
10 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday through May 2; 7 a.m.-7 p.m. May4-5.

• Early voting at Fort Bend Independent School District Administration Building, 16431 Lexington Blvd., Sugar Land; Meadows Place City Hall, One Troyan Drive in Meadows Place; Willowridge High School, 16301 Chimney Rock in Houston; and Sugar Land Branch Library, 550 Eldridge in Sugar Land, will be:
8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through May 1; 8 a.m.-5 p.m. May 4-5.