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)

Friday, June 26, 2009

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Fort Bend Independent Exposes Real Comments On FBISD GSTC Survey!

The man on the street comments on the Global Science and Technology center

From Fort Bend Independent

Amazing. Great for our kid’s future. Cutting edge technology. Opportunity for FBISD kids to become world leaders in science and technology. It will likely increase the number of people wanting to live in the district. Great resource to the community. Name recognition for the district and the county. Access to professional enrichment opportunities, and high tech learning tools. Improvement in teachers’ abilities in teaching science.

These are some of the euphoric comments posted in response to an online survey hosted by Fort Bend ISD for a brief period of time regarding the proposed Global Science and Technology Center. The comments on the website are not available to the public unless one asks for it (and pays $6.80 for the copy.)

Most of the comments are incisive while questioning the rationale of the new center. On the other hand, the proponents offer no depth of reasoning in explaining why we need the science center...

Full story: http://fbindependent.com/default.asp?sourceid=&smenu=89&twindow=Default&mad=No&sdetail=1597&wpage=1&skeyword=&sidate=&ccat=&ccatm=&restate=&restatus=&reoption=&retype=&repmin=&repmax=&rebed=&rebath=&subname=&pform=&sc=2531&hn=fbindependent&he=.com

Background: http://www.fortbendweb.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1146&Itemid=101

Special Note: Although it is too late to reverse the 7-0 vote of the board on this $20-30 million dollar taxpayer supported duplication project, the Texas Office of the Attorney General has ordered the superintendent to officially respond to the last of several community information requests in a letter sent to the district on June 17th from Asst. A.G. for education Claire Sloan. Because the information was delayed and responses not provided within the ten day response cycle the district is in violation of two separate subsections of the Texas Public Information Act. Naturally the information is now too late to do any good during open sessions at the public board meetings as we believe was their intention. Since the release of the "sales committee" report, several glaring errors have been exposed that were used by some board members and the superintendent to push this project forward in the "rubber stamp" vote that took place on June 8th. We will update this issue at intervals. Stay informed and keep in touch!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Texas School Funding Link--almost anything you would need to know--

Follow this link to the TEA school finance website:


http://ritter.tea.state.tx.us/school.finance/index.html

Friday, June 12, 2009

Important Upcoming Dates:

Important Upcoming Dates:

July 13 Budget Workshop

July 13 Regular School Board Meeting

August 7 Special Education Summer Conference

August 10 Regular School Board Meeting

August 18 Summer Graduation


Recent media related news releases on the district (from several independent sources):

http://www.fortbendnow.com/2009/06/12/38486

http://blogs.chron.com/fortbend/archives/2009/06/fbisd_rejects_c.html

http://www.fortbendweb.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1148&Itemid=101#jreactions

Thursday, June 11, 2009

FB Independent Covers Controversial GSTC "Rubber Stamp" Vote!

FBN 6-11-09 Update: http://www.fortbendnow.com/2009/06/11/38474

"But IF Wallace is successful in raising 20% of the science center’s building costs, how will the district come up with the remaining 80% without raising property taxes?

Dr. Jenney has issued no definitive statement on the matter, however, both he and the feasibility committee have noted the availability of the district’s capital investment account." FBN

AND...

See: http://fbindependent.com/default.asp?sourceid=&smenu=1&twindow=Default&mad=&sdetail=1589&wpage=1&skeyword=&sidate=&ccat=&ccatm=&restate=&restatus=&reoption=&retype=&repmin=&repmax=&rebed=&rebath=&subname=&pform=&sc=2531&hn=fbindependent&he=.com

...Trustees Susan Hohnbaum and Bob Broxson repeated their concerns expressed earlier, while others had no reservations about the proposed center.

Hohnbaum said logistics still appeared to be an issue. She hoped the administration’s projection of enabling at least four to six trips to students from grade 2 to grade 8 to the GCST would become realistic.

“We won’t get the money’s worth if the trips are less than four a year,” Hohnbaum said.

The design team’s first priority should be to address the logistics of bringing all the students to the center, she said.

Broxson said he was concerned that the district was moving too quickly on the project. The phased approach makes sense and can work, he said.

Earlier, during public comments, Nancy Hentschel, a critic of the proposed center, said transportation and logistics alone would render the project not viable.

Hentschel characterized the GCST as “clever plan by construction vendors with no risk of private investment.”

FBW comment: Too bad the two BOT members with reservations on this duplication project did not vote their concerns and instead got in line behind the other vendor feeders. Sad too that the trustees seem to have violated their fidiciary role by not investigating a partnership with HMNS-Sugar Land and possibly using these funds for campus level labs which would have the intended impact on science outcomes that 4 visits a year to the administrative offices annex will not. Anyone doing a cost-benefit analysis would see the return as almost nil under the current arrangement except to the district vendors feeding off the taxpayers on this project.

Who said, let's do it for the children or are we doing it for the vendor corporations?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Important Upcoming Dates:

Important Upcoming Dates:

July 13 Budget Workshop

July 13 Regular School Board Meeting

August 7 Special Education Summer Conference

August 10 Regular School Board Meeting

August 18 Summer Graduation

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

FBW Exclusive: As Expected, Board Votes Lock Step 7-0 To Duplicate HMNS Science Museum In SL At FBISD Central Office!

FBN Update 6-10-09 (district finally releases, after board votes, committee report to the public after numerous public TPIA requests):

http://www.fortbendnow.com/2009/06/10/38446

"A per-square-foot cost of $219 would make the building significantly more expensive than new county office buildings recently erected in Richmond for about $130 per square foot..." FBN


After the board president, Sonal Bhuchar, chastised several speakers opposed to the GSTC near $30 million dollar building project, BOT member David Reitz initiated a motion to accept the resolution for what has become known as the controversial "Global Taj Mahal", which duplicates the non-profit Houston Museum of Natural Science--Sugar Land being constructed only 1.5 miles away. Laurie Caldwell seconded the motion and after a repeat of earlier presentations, the trustees whom have been criticized for voting over the last 2+ years in 7-0 votes (often referenced as the "rubber stamp" board) did so once again.

As area news stories come in on this we will update it here:

FORTBENDNOW - http://www.fortbendnow.com/2009/06/09/38407

CHRONICLE - http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/nb/fortbend/news/6466388.html

FBW Note: Earlier in the evening county commissioner Richard Morrison spoke in opposition to the efforts by some county officials to spend more tax dollars on construction of a new CAD building. He provided an alternative plan to this via use of existing facilities. This story will be updated too at intervals...

http://blogs.chron.com/fortbend/archives/2009/06/fbisd_rejects_c.html

Monday, June 8, 2009

FBN Updates GSTC BOT Vote Tonight!

"...Opponents of the proposal include FBISD Board Trustee Susan Hohnbaum, who indicated the facility would duplicate several features that will be found in the new satellite museum being built in Sugar Land’s Telfair community in a city partnership with the Houston Museum of Natural Science.

Hohnbaum said she’d rather see a like amount of money spent on equipping science labs in individual schools, so students could conduct hands-on experiments “every day right in their own classrooms” instead of making five or six trips to a district facility, which could as easily be made to the new Telfair museum.

“I just am not convinced this is the time or place” for such an undertaking, she told fellow board members, Dr. Jenney and former Sugar Land mayor (and developer) David Wallace last month..."

Get the full piece at: http://www.fortbendnow.com/2009/06/08/38386

FBW comment: Repeated TPIA requests have gone unanswered by the district and several citizens have filed complaints for violation of the Texas Public Information Act against the superintendent regarding these concerns.

Friday, June 5, 2009

FB Star Publisher Supports FBISD/GSTC Record Access & Opposes Duplicate Museum (Change of heart?)!

"...Weighing in on the Global Science Center.....I learned a long time ago not to get between a superintendent and his pet project, whether it be a bond issue or natatorium. After all, they have the “bully pulpit.” (And I mean that literally). That’s why I’ve personally sort of stayed on the fence about the Center.

However, I concur with the group who are trying to get the district to release the comments, which they (the district) said were all favorable, to the group currently asking for them. They should be available under the Texas Open Records, etc. etc.

When a group gets a project in its craw, it doesn’t matter whether kids are going to school in shacks or there aren’t enough books to go around. It seems they are hell bent on achieving their goals.

Remember, this is the organization (the school district) that schedules kids’ Christmas programs when early voting starts for a bond election. The district figures: if they get the parents to school for a program, it’s just a short step to vote for the issue.

Okay, I don’t stay out of the way, but frankly, I’m ambivalent about the Global Center. It has a high faluin’ name but we are promised it won’t cost us a penny. Well, when I see that in writing, then I’ll weigh in on its side.

If it is going to cost us some tax money, then I am not in favor of it. That several million dollars would be better spent at each campus on real educational programs rather than some PR program..." Bev's Burner