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)

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):


"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...



Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Area blog comments coming in on this issue:

Mary McGarr says:
June 8th, 2009 at 1:29 pm (#)

Parents should read this article by John Saxon. It was written some time ago, but it is apropos to the situation in Fort Bend ISD. It is my opinion that a science center will not help with students’ understanding of science, nor will it improve science test scores. What it apparently WILL do is feather the nests of the PBK architects and the construction companies who build it. In my opinion that’s what this is all about–spreading the wealth among the superintendent’s cohorts.

http://www.katycitizens.org/index_files/Page4355.htm (The Coming Disaster in Science Education in America)

FBISD Board members who vote for this project are part and parcel of the apparent deception going on in the FBISD. Parents need to let the board members know that you are on to them and are not fools. I’m guessing that like Katy ISD, where I live, science textbooks were discarded years ago and replaced by “hands on” science. That term means that students “play like” they are scientists, and little if any scientific knowledge is dispensed. Thus the low test scores. It’s as simple as that.

mlee952 says:
June 8th, 2009 at 2:00 pm (#)

This so-called technology center project is designed to enlarge Jenny’s empire and we, the taxpayer, get to pay for it. FBISD will funnel this money to its favorite vendors and we, the taxpayer get to pay for it. Attend the board meeting Monday night to see a three-ring circus: They board arranges the comments of the meeting to let the speakers in favor speak first and lets them run well over the 3-minute limit. If one or two speakers against the center are allowed, they get to go last and are cut off promptly at 3 minutes. SOS (Save our schools).

Anonymous said...


Sugarland watch says:
June 8th, 2009 at 3:50 pm (#)

No new taxes

Joe Murphy says:
June 8th, 2009 at 3:59 pm (#)

Fort Bend public schools, like schools all over Texas, do have real issues with science education. This is easily illustrated by checking out the “publications” section at the top of the Texas Freedom Network’s website. http://www.tfn.org/site/PageServer?pagename=publications

In addition to this basic science problem, we also have other legitimate issues that cause us to fail so many of our students in science. Class sizes are a primary problem when dealing with labs and teacher-intensive instruction. Indeed, FBISD’s Wal-Mart warehouse approach to science education may be easy to “market,” but it ain’t science darlins.

Stop the giant rotating balls of the Global Science Center. It seems to really be a twisted manipulation to fund more “office space” for an already bloated administration, instead of putting our tax dollars toward manageable classroom sizes, campus labs, and a real science curriculum.

The GSC will fail, as a science center, on logistical and transportation costs alone, but when this happens, the building will be finished, the private business commitments for a “GSC” will evaporate, and taxpayers will be on the hook for the entire bait-and-switch project. Some will even have the nerve even say that “nay-sayers” caused it to fail!

The GSC seems like a clever plan for construction vendors, and other businesses to get free positive publicity for “funding commitments” without any real risk of putting real money on the table. This is “business friendly” at the expense of taxpayers, taken too far!

Anonymous said...

Sugarland watch says:
June 8th, 2009 at 4:13 pm (#)

Well it all come down tonight on the vote for the Taj Mahal.
We all will see how the new board member votes on the matter.
However is she incompetent for this position.
If doesn’t pass (unlikely) the BOT have list to people or change of heart.
It passes, I will put the blame and angrier on the VOTES for a low turn out
(4.4) and that goes for the TEA PARTY people, it is your taxes to!!!
It a shame
After it is say and done, then the vote will angry to see this project.
It too late votes!!! Should have voted in for the right people.
Oh! For the ones did not voted for school board elect, when it comes time
To protest your taxes PLEASE stay home so you can pay for this. You
Got want what you wanted

Factually Speaking says:
June 8th, 2009 at 7:45 pm (#)

In response to:
“Fort Bend public schools, like schools all over Texas, do have real issues with science education.”—Joe Murphy

Well, my school had to struggle to bring up their science scores, but where there is a will, there is a way. Over the last three years, with everybody pulling together with an updated science lab “on campus,” intense science training geared specifically to 5th grade under the tutelage of a partner school that had already demonstrated science success with their students. Cooperatively working together to designate one teacher among the team who taught only science and the children rotated daily to engaged in targeted instruction as agreed upon by the team as areas needing more and/or increased targeted instruction, while simultaneously, added to the mix was a science lab teacher working collaborative with the entire 5th grade team to double, triple dose as many times as needed as according to the demonstrated weaknesses/needs of students during science/lab experiments, our kids scored in the high 80 percent and this year our children scored in the mid 90 percent.

Our children are very, very, very poor; limited English speaking, and approximately 100% free lunch, welfare, urban, and many live in trailer homes and in situations, often, not ideal for children—but, they did well, even, in science.. An exemplarily point to illustrate that buildings do not teach, teachers teach. If the children I describe were to ever have the opportunity to see the schools and homes; and other beauteous surroundings in Sugar Land or Missouri City, they would be speechless and surely think that they were in heaven.

However, I am almost certain that FBISD will add another beautiful building to star gaze upon.

Anonymous said...

fbisdwatch wrote:
Get more on this duplicate pork barrel vendor feeding project and public reaction at:
6/9/2009 8:01:33 AM
Recommend: (5) (0) [Report abuse]

transparencyingovt wrote:
"To further make the point, Superintendent Tim Jenney called upon Melissa Stadtfeld, the district’s secondary science coordinator, to enumerate a host of hands-on science and technology experiences envisioned at the center." I wonder why they can't do any of this at the HMNS-Telfair Science Center at no cost to us or why they never invited the Telfair center to make a presentation before the board prior to the vote or why we can't get a copy of the "feasibility" report?
6/9/2009 8:48:01 AM
Recommend: (3) (0) [Report abuse]

golfinbuddy wrote:
When the "Smoke & Mirrors" Clear and the taxpayers get stuck with the bill. Those who voted for this "Taj mahal" might be just get voted out of office. Would that be a shame. Also to all you sitting board members, viedo taped stements will be real hard to to hide from. See you soon.....,I'll be back..........................................
6/9/2009 9:01:05 AM
Recommend: (2) (0) [Report abuse]

Anonymous said...

Below is a letter that was emailed to the Fort Bend ISD Board of Trustees. It may have lost some formatting being pasted to this thread.

Dear Board of Trustees:

On Monday May 18th, several members of our group, One If By Land Society, attended the school board meeting to comment and listen to discussion concerning the Global Center for Science and Technology. One If By Land Society is a local group associated w/ a large network of Houston area grassroots organizations such as We Surround Them Houston, 912 of Katy, Houston Tea Party Society, Raging Elephants, and many more. We are committed to giving control of government back to the citizens of this country.
It is our opinion that the money to be used for the GCST could be better utilized to upgrade current classrooms and complete necessary repairs of current facilities. The goal of improving our children’s science education could easily be served through better and more training for science teachers and capital improvements in the science labs and other classrooms at a fraction of the cost to construct a facility that a child will only use 5 or 6 times per year.
As you know, the country is in the midst of a recession. No one knows for sure what will happen. If history is any indication, the mistakes being made in Washington are identical to those that led to the Great Depression. Now is not the time to spend money on questionable projects, especially when there is a great need for repairs to existing facilities. None of us can predict future enrollment of this district. Operating costs are sure to exceed current expectations, given the spike in energy prices that climate legislation and a devalued dollar will impose on all of us. In addition to these costs, other concerns are as follows:
-There a schools in this district without working bathrooms. Some schools have computer drops in the classroom but no computers. Other schools have computers in the classroom, but no drops installed so the computers go unused. Shouldn’t these problems take precedent in capital improvement issues over a new building?
-The Houston Museum of Natural Science TelFair Project seems like a worthwhile project that has the same goal as the GCST. Why would a government body, in this economic environment, want to compete with a private project (HMNS) at ZERO expense to the school district and hence taxpayers?
-Why is the school board not complying with the Texas Freedom of Information Act? As you know, FBISD Watch has requested information related to this project. Yet for some reason, Mr. Jenney has not fully complied. Transparency is necessary for the taxpayers of this district to be assured that previous bond issues and annual tax assessments are being used wisely. . .

-Money could be better spent on training teachers. It is the opinion of many parents that many FBISD science teachers, especially in the younger grades, do not have sufficient training when it comes to real science. $30+ million could go a long way toward training and REWARDING dedicated and creative teachers.
-It is apparent that the survey that the feasibility committee referenced does not show the support as stated by the committee. The vast majority of comments on the survey were not in favor of this construction project.

We appreciate your concerns and we hope you can convince your fellow board members to consider improving science scores by improving the classroom and teacher that the child goes to every day instead of a monument the child may visit 5 or 6 times per year. We will not let this issue die, even if it is passed on June 8th.

One If By Land Society

eye_witness said...

Just got back from BOT vote on this and wanted to share a few impressions. Bruce and Nancy spoke and was chided by Sonal again so you know they were doing something right:

--Well that good 'ole board, you know the ones that claim not to be "rubber stampers" did the expected and voted 7-0 to move forward with this vendor feeding project. More should be out in the press in the morning and we will pass it along. They refused to even discuss or have the HMNS - Telfair (Sugar Land) directors come and present a viable alternative. We did find a strong ally in one of the county commissioners attending the meeting and a potential candidate for Mr. Howard's legis seat.--

Updated blogs & media sources on this issue:








Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

fbisdwatch wrote:
I think what was obviously missing from the meeting last night were the facts surrounding the FBISD "GSTC Public Survey" claims. The trustees and superintendent along with developer Dave Wallace throughout this process claimed to have "overwhelming" public support, but they refused to turn over the lawfully requested survey results. When you visit the link below and do a rate count on them, you find nearly 60% of the public that responded are "overwhelmingly" opposed to this project. Too bad that disinformation campaign wasn't exposed to the public and entered into the minutes:
http://www.newterritorysentinel.com (See Fort Bend ISD News Flash link at top of the page)
6/9/2009 9:50:45 AM
Recommend: (2) (0) [Report abuse]

transparencyingovt wrote:
I think what I find so disconcerting is the fact that the superintendent and certain board members went through such a "dog and pony show" in order to make this look like it was ever an open process. Bhuchar repeatedly chastised speakers at the multiple meetings who opposed this duplication project and then bent the rules for their "special guests" to promote it. Nothing transparent about this and they still haven't come clean on the relationships between board, feasability committee members and the district vendor involved in this taxpayer fiasco. They kept claiming research links between the GSTC building and student outcomes, but kept ignoring the same obvious links could have been attained via the HMNS-project in Telfair.
Shame on you Bhuchar, Wallace and Jenney. YOU are NOT fiscal conservatives and are NOT watching out for OUR DIME! SHAME on you Reitz and Caldwell for issuing the motions on this empty resolution and shame on you BOT for NOT allowing the HMNS directors to show what they have done successfully for almost two decades with their center in Houston (and the one they are building here in Sugar Land due to open in Oct., but now will probably face undue competition because you people had to feed a vendor.
6/9/2009 9:34:44 AM
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golfinbuddy wrote:
When the "Smoke & Mirrors" Clear and the taxpayers get stuck with the bill. Those who voted for this "Taj mahal" might be just get voted out of office. Would that be a shame. Also to all you sitting board members, viedo taped stements will be real hard to to hide from. See you soon.....,I'll be back..........................................
6/9/2009 9:01:05 AM
Recommend: (4) (0) [Report abuse]


Anonymous said...


Joe Murphy says:
June 9th, 2009 at 9:54 pm (#)

This board never had a “reservation” about anything involving selling taxpayers on “science education” with the probable intention of switching to unfunded office space for more administration. Anyone can see that the transportation and logistical cost of transporting 800 students a day, back and forth between one FBISD real estate and another, can not possibly be sustainable, even if the building was totally free, unless this building project was never intended to be a science center for any length of time.

For this reason, please also note that the vast majority of the people AGAINST this quasi-discovery museum are educators, “real science” enthusiasts, and strong museum supporters. There are far better ways to teach science than chasing off a real discovery museum (HMNS satellite in Telfair) with a hard sell bait and switch campaign.

This board should turn every taxpayer, educator, and science enthusiast into a “FBISD Watchdog.”

FtBendConservative says:
June 10th, 2009 at 7:00 am (#)

When people constantly attack/criticize the school board trustees it make being a trustee a civic duty that many who are qualified avoid. In other words why put up with this?
Some and I do applaud them choose to serve in spite of the needless and constant attacks.
What we need is for taxpayers to educate themselves and become informed, that will not only hold down the constant attacks on the school board trustees it will also encourage more qualified candidates to run and serve.
Sadly, its easier to complain than become involved.

Joe Murphy says:
June 10th, 2009 at 7:38 am (#)

Dear Conservative, this is truly not an issue of attacking the board, it is, however, an alert to people that the “overwhelming support” from their own survey, was instead an overwhelming support AGAINST a poorer quality and redundant project.

After considerable effort to get open records from the feasibility committee, this online survey was finally released. As anyone can see, it is a strong mandate against the GSC. The other requests for information were stalled. I can only speculate as to why. Meanwhile, others should review the Feasibility’s survey for themselves. It has a great deal of good advice for improving real science education for our students. Also the answers to the “leading” survey questions are truly interesting.

getwhatupayfor says:
June 10th, 2009 at 8:42 am (#)

Dear Fort Bend Conservative:

It’s very obvious that you are the one who is not informed on the issue. Anyone with the facts would know what a “big load of hooey” and fruad has been perpatrated upon the taxpayers of FBISD concerning the Gloabl Taj Mahal.

It’s a real shame some people can be fooled so easily. However, the truth will come out and it may even bite some BOT members right in their rubber stamp, when election time rolls around in March.

Anytime elected officals go against the “will of the electorate” they not only need to be taken to task, they should be recalled in a Recall Election.

FtBendConservative says:
June 10th, 2009 at 9:40 am (#)

Joe I don’t see the survey you referenced in the article. Can you tell what kind of a survey it was, subjective or quantitative?
Once again I fail to see how constant complaining helps.
Want to make changes? Run for trustee and get elected or at the very least know who you’re voting for and vote.
Once the votes are tallied too late for crying.
For many its easier to find fault than it is to involved.
I’m obviously not referring to the involved and informed my comment was directed to the chronic complainers. Sounds like it struck a nerve or two.

Muckraker said...

Looks like "fortbendconservative" is posting on FortBendNow again. He used to post as "wadefishin" and "johnbernardbooks" a necon party operative who so often defends pork barrel spending projects like this one.

I wonder why someone like that would refer to themself as "conservative"?

Anonymous said...

ktunstall says:
June 10th, 2009 at 10:44 am (#)

Those who have complained have been involved and are very well informed.

It is quite hypocritical to call yourself a “conservative.” As I recall you have never failed to cheerlead for more taxes and more spending.

Tell me, would you promote a state income tax as well?

FtBendConservative says:
June 10th, 2009 at 11:24 am (#)

“I’m obviously not referring to the involved and informed my comment was directed to the chronic complainers.”
No I do not support a state income tax, legalizing marijuana or legalizing prostitution, sorry. Guess that makes me a just plain ol’ conservative.

ktunstall says:
June 10th, 2009 at 11:41 am (#)

Yet you support more tax spending? Did anyone ask you if you supported legalizing marijuana or prostitution? Why are you misdirecting? Hitting a nerve as you would say?

Ron Paul is a conservative.
You’re no conservative.

FtBendConservative says:
June 10th, 2009 at 2:31 pm (#)

Actually I don’t support more taxes or spending as I am a conservative.
Apparently I did hit a nerve as you seem unable to control your anger.

Joe Murphy says:
June 10th, 2009 at 2:51 pm (#)

In the old days it was said that “patriotism was the last bastion of a scoundrel,” now it seems that “conservative” has been hyjacked by the same scoundrels.

FtBendConservative says:
June 10th, 2009 at 2:54 pm (#)

Joe name calling is beneath conservatives, we usually leave that to the angry or in your case confused.

SayWhat says:
June 10th, 2009 at 3:40 pm (#)

“Casting aside any past doubts, Fort Bend Independent School District Board trustees unanimously directed Superintendent Dr. Timothy Jenney to move forward with a proposed Global Science and Technology Center.”
Wow. Imagine that. The FBISD school board votes unanimously to reinvent the wheel. I’m totally shocked (and yes I’m being sarcastic.)

SayWhat says:
June 10th, 2009 at 3:46 pm (#)

“Now that Superintendent Dr. Timothy Jenney has the green light to pursue his Global Science and Technology Center vision, his next challenge will be to design it within financial parameters set by his school board.
The total capital cost of the center - which is to include a planetarium, giant rotating lobby globe, interactive labs and a “Sci-Max” theater - have been estimated by a district-appointed feasibility committee at $26.4 million, while annual operating costs are estimated at $572,000.”
Dr. Jenney needs to take a 75% pay cut to help fund this.

ktunstall says:
June 10th, 2009 at 3:59 pm (#)

Joe you are absolutely correct.
I see FBC can only misdirect.
Notice he claims I am angry, though I simply made an observation?

It is an attempt to hide his predisposition to tax and spend.
A grand prevaricator and master of equivocal language no doubt.

Only in government can you spend beyond your means and continue to thrive. As long as you have the power to plunder, you cannot go broke.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Muckraker said...

"JBB"/"FtBendConservative" sounds just like Bobby Marshall that neocon Owenite from MC that just got elected in district A. Hum...

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

FtBendConservative says:
June 10th, 2009 at 4:54 pm (#)

Kevin lets leave it at this you are no Ron Paul.

Kat_Princess says:
June 10th, 2009 at 5:30 pm (#)

Oops it’s a fumble down the 30 yard line….aaaaaand it’s “SayWhat” winning by a smile =)

Today’s diversion was brought to you today by “Plunders Anonymous”. LOL or not you guys need to loosen up, whatchasay hum?

SoupNazi says:
June 10th, 2009 at 6:20 pm (#)

This Board is a rubber stamp for the administration. Anyone who says otherwise is lying to themselves. The flunkies up on the dias merely raise there hands and nod when told to by Dr. J and the rest of the administration.

If we are going to build this thing let’s add in the biggest ferris wheel in the world and a people mover between each school. Then truly, we can have some quiet teachable moments!

If we are so behind everyone else or in danger of falling behind the rest of the state, let’s build science centers just like theirs!

Oh wait- they don’t have science centers they actually teach the children in classrooms with enriching lessons! Ha! What a concept!

mlee952 says:
June 10th, 2009 at 8:37 pm (#)

Food for thought: Monopolies are bad. Conservatives don’t like monopolies. Almost nobody likes monopolies. Yet, FBISD is a monopoly. If you defend FBISD, you are defending a monopoly and therefore you cannot be a conservative.

FtBendConservative says:
June 10th, 2009 at 8:50 pm (#)

moral suasion and civility changes minds, constantly complaining gets tuned out. Ask any parent.

Joe Murphy says:
June 10th, 2009 at 8:58 pm (#)

Dr. Paul endorsed Mr. Tunstall last year or did “conservative” (sic) / Bobby M. forget?

Bobby, this is not a forum that allows abuse of other bloggers, so I ask that you show the same restraint for others as I am now showing for you.

FtBendConservative says:
June 10th, 2009 at 9:43 pm (#)

Joe you are now dazed and confused I’m not Bobby.
Kevin doesn’t need your help making a fool of himself.

ktunstall says:
June 11th, 2009 at 12:50 am (#)

I never make a fool of myself FBC.
You however have a long history of distortions and provocations. Everyone knows your modus operandi.

How many times must you change your login?

Anonymous said...

This thread is getting interesting.