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
"and would even likely increase area property values." Wallace -- This is standard special interest code for higher property tax appraisals via our CAD board.
--AND JENNEY PULLS A RABBIT OUT OF THE HAT AGAIN--
...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)
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)