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, July 31, 2009

FBN: New Rating System Elevates Schools Accountability Rankings Across The State, FBISD Included!

"This year’s TEA rankings improved overall across Texas, in part because of a new “growth measure” the agency calls the “Texas Projection Measure,” which gives schools credit for students’ academic growth, or their projected ability to pass TAKS tests in future years."

"...Despite the individual campus achievements, the state gave FBISD an overall district ranking of “Academically Acceptable.” FBN

This year the Texas Accountability System allowed districts to use a new measure which allows projections of future performance, which was quite controversial when first introduced by many educational experts. It has had the desired political effect of raising scores across the state. FBISD is no exception, however FBISD remains ranked only "academically acceptable" once again this year. Get the full story below:


Quote for the day!

A small group of thoughtful people can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.

Margaret Mead

Thursday, July 30, 2009

More Problems With Employee Payroll At FBISD.....

"The error irritated officials at the Fort Bend Employee Federation, an American Federation of Teachers affiliate that says it represents about 2,000 FBISD employees.

“We’re not here to point fingers; we’re happy the disttrict is getting it right,” said federation organizer Anthony Lacsamana. “But why can’t they get it right from the beginning?”

He said the paraprofessionals “were told from the beginning it was a $14-an-hour position,” in June. . . . Just because they’re in the driver’s seat doesn’t mean they have to run all over everyone,” he said of the school district. “And that’s what they do.”

Get the full story at: http://www.fortbendnow.com/2009/07/30/39274

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

FB Star Reports On AG's Ruling--click link below for more--

"The letter to Feldman from Davis says the district must release all information requested, with the exception of e-mails from the public who object to this information being released. However, the opinion goes on to say, that withholding e-mail addresses from vendors who seek a contract with the governmental body or a person who has a contractual relationship with the governmental body must be released." FB Star

See: http://www.fortbendstar.com/072909/o_Texas%20Attorney%20General%20says%20FBISD%20must%20release%20requested%20information%20about%20Global.htm

Tuesday, July 28, 2009



After numerous requests over several months and before public hearings by taxpayers of FBISD and many formal requests for all documents and communications surrounding the $27 million dollar taxpayer funded controversial "Global Taj Mahal" and continued district attempts to block these requests (by the superintendent) until after the 7-0 school board vote in June, the Texas Attorney General has ordered the school district to comply.

The following order from the AG's office is reprinted below in it's entirety (Feldman, Rogers, Morris & Glover, LLP are one of the legal vendors for the school district, which we pay our taxes to regarding issues like the one below. How much did they bill the district to help with-hold this information from the public until after the school board voted on this project?):


July 20, 2009

Mr. David M. Feldman
Feldman, Rogers, Morris & Grover, L.L.P.
5718 Westtheimer Road, Suite 1200
Houston, Texas 77057

Dear Mr. Feldman:

You ask whether certain information is subject to required public disclosure under the Public Information Act (the "Act"), chapter 552 of the Government Code. Your request was assigned ID# 349446.

The Fort Bend Independent School District (the "district"), which you represent, received a request for nine categories of information pertaining to a specified district-created committee. You state the district has released most of the responsive information. You claim that the marked e-mail addresses within the submitted information are excepted from disclosure under section 552.137 of the Government Code. l. We have considered the exception you claim and reviewed the submitted representative sample of information. 2. We have also considered comments received from the requestor. See Gov't Code § 552.304 (providing that interested party may submit comments stating why information should or should not be

The district initially raised sections 552.1 0 1, 552.111, and 552.117 of the Government Code but has since withdrawn its claims under those exceptions. 2. We assume that the "representative sample" of records submitted to this office is truly representative of the requested records as a whole. See Open Records Decision Nos. 499 (1988),497 (1988). This open records letter does not reach, and therefore does not authorize the withholding of, any other requested records to the extent that those records contain substantially different types of information than that submitted to this

Mr. David M. Feldman - Page 2

Section 552.137 excepts from disclosure "an e-mail address of a member of the public that is provided for the purpose of communicating electronically with a governmental body" unless the member of the public consents to its release or the e-mail address is of a type specifically excluded by subsection (c). See Gov't Code § 552. 137(a)-(c). Subsection (c)(l) states that subsection (a) does not apply to an e-mail address "provided to a governmental body by a person who has a contractual relationship with the govemmental body or by the contractor's agent" and subsection (c)(2) states that subsection (a) does not apply to an e-mail address "provided to a govemmental body by a vendor who seeks to contract with the govemmental body or by the vendor's agent[.]" Id. § 552.137(c)(1), (2). You inform us that the owners of the e-mail addresses at issue have not consented to their release. Accordingly, the district must withhold the e-mail addresses you marked under section 552.137, except to the extent that any such address is the address of a person or agent of a person who has or is seeking a contractual relationship with the district. The remaining information must be

This letter ruling is limited to the particular information at issue in this request and limited to the facts as presented to us; therefore, this ruling must not be relied upon as a previous determination regarding any other information or any other circumstances.

This ruling triggers important deadlines regarding the rights and responsibilities of the govemmental body and of the requestor. For more information conceming those rights and responsibilities, please visit our website at http://www.oag.state.tx.us/open/index orl.php, or call the Office of the Attomey General's Open Govemment Hotline, toll free, at (877) 673-6839. Questions conceming the allowable charges for providing public information under the Act must be directed to the Cost Rules Administrator of the Office of the Attomey General at (512) 475-2497.


Bob Davis
Assistant Attomey General
Open Records Division
Ref: ID# 349446
Ene. Submitted documents
cc: Requestor
(w/o enclosures)

FBW comment: The only question now is will the district continue to with-hold this lawfully requested information and potentially invoke further sanctions from the state?

Sunday, July 26, 2009

FB Star OP/ED: Reader’s take on Global Science Center

Reader’s take on Global Science Center

Source: http://www.fortbendstar.com/Columns/letters.htm

I would like to interject some opinion regarding the “Global” Science Center:

The concept of this project is misguided and appears to be on the verge of a terrible misuse of public funds, something that every taxpayer in Fort Bend County should take note of.

1. 70% of the teachers said that they do not feel they have enough knowledge to teach science. It would seem that the best solution would be to train the teachers better, or hire Science teachers.

2. Teachers say that they do not have enough time in a day to teach the subject sufficiently. But if students would have to be bussed from their campus to the “Global” Science Center (GSC), that would result in wasted time.

3. Students will attend this GSC only 3 or 4 times per year. How much impact can such few visits really have?

4. The GSC will only service grade 2 - 8. It would seem appropriate to spend significant funds on high-intellectual Masters and Doctorate Degree level work, not grade school level.

5. “State-of-the-Art,” “World Class” - sounds great, but what does it really mean? And, as we all can summise, “State-of-the-Art,” “World Class” is not, can not, and will not be low cost. How much will it cost? We will find out after this is so hyped up it will sound like “the greatest investment” no matter what the cost is.

6. Transportation personnel have indicated that the cost of operating the fleet of bus vehicles is very expensive. In fact, they want to spend a large sum of money to monitor the use of each vehicle. Well, that cost is going to get even higher if they are busing children to and from the GSC.

7. Student population is declining. A large investment would be made to service a shrinking number of students, increasing the cost per student.

8. “We have had talks with private businesses and institutions that have expressed interest in the possibilities of forming collaborative partnerships to help fund the Center. If we could move in that direction, we believe the Center could be funded without any need to raise taxes, or take away resources already allocated for other district purposes,” said Wallace. With the economy the way it is now, that does not sound like a reality. “If we could...” and “...we believe” holds no water. Does anybody remember “No new taxes”? Nor does this account for the ongoing cost of this facility. And, how soon will it get outdated and need to be “re-modernized?”

9. According to information provided regarding funding of the center, there is no need to raise taxes for this project because sufficient funds exist in other FBISD accounts. If that is really the case, pay back the excessive funds to the taxpayers! We surely would approve of a lower tax rate!

10. The rest of the story... That is the BIG question. Why spend so much time and effort to “sell” a GSC idea when that time and effort would be much better allocated to training teachers more about science? Is there another purpose behind this big project?

In finishing up, I find it rather curious that the main purpose of this “Global Center” is to improve the TAKS test, but nobody has indicated what verifiable improvement this Center would have regarding TAKS scores or how many students would actually be enlightened to become a Scientist.

Seems to me the FBISD board should set up a Learning Center for their own use: Financing, Budgeting, and Living Within Your Means. Now, ALL of America could benefit from that!

REALTOR, Realty Associates

WATCH UPDATE: New information is coming out as this post was being added. We will update it soon!


Monday, July 20, 2009

Fort Bend Independent Reports On Proposed FBISD Tax Increase!

"The administration’s proposed 2009 budget anticipates a deficit of $12 million to $18 million." FBI

FBI link: http://fbindependent.com/default.asp?sourceid=&smenu=1&twindow=Default&mad=&sdetail=1676&wpage=1&skeyword=&sidate=&ccat=&ccatm=&restate=&restatus=&reoption=&retype=&repmin=&repmax=&rebed=&rebath=&subname=&pform=&sc=2531&hn=fbindependent&he=.com

FBW Comment: This projected deficit comes only a month after the current school board voted to approve spending another $27 million on a duplicate museum (HMNS & GSTC).

OP/ED (From fortbendemployees blogspot): Lowering Standards In FBISD

The following was reprinted with permission from the author:

"I plead with each of you to ask the tough questions and seek an explanation as to why Mr. Johnson is lowering FBISD standards, and why Mr. Johnson is not seeking the maximum qualifications for our tax dollar."


While on the surface, one would think that FBISD is an institution of learning, in which we teach and preach to our students that education is the key to success in their future, although the reality is much different. It seems that there is a very disturbing trend that is being perpetuated by the director of facilities, Michael Johnson, to lower the minimum educational requirements for many of the high paying jobs within the department.

The first position which Michael Johnson lowered the minimum standard of education from a Bachelors Degree to a high school degree was that of the newly created support manager position. This position, which pays in excess of $60,000 a year, was given to a very attractive white female who did not have a degree, even though the original job posting required a college degree as a minimum qualification. In fact, there were two highly qualified black candidates which had Bachelor degrees, and one with an MBA, who were bypassed for the position in order to give it to the attractive white female with no previous experience and a high school diploma. This action on the part of Michael Johnson led to the allegations of discrimination being made and a complaint being filed to the EEOC, which is still currently under investigation. You can read the details of this event at http://www.fortbendemployees.blogspot.com

The second position in which Michael Johnson lowered the minimum educational qualifications was for the newly created position of second operations manager. This position, which pays in excess of $60,000 a year, was given to an individual which did not have a college degree, even though a job with a pay category of 16 required a college degree as a minimum qualification. Keep in mind that the two other manager positions within the facilities department are also category 16 positions which currently require degrees as part of the job requirement.

Mr. Johnson has created another new position of an additional contracts coordinator, which is another high paying position in excess of $50,000 a year and one which is being advertised very low key and quickly, as to not attract too much attention. The contracts coordinator position will be responsible for administrating the multi-million dollar record bond/debt program that FBISD is currently involved in. This individual will be responsible for all aspects of contract administration, payments, and so forth.

There is currently an individual who is employed as a contracts coordinator with FBISD. This individual is an engineer, with many years of experience in bond programs, and one which was hired under the contracts coordinator job description which required, as a minimum, a Bachelors degree, with several years of experience in project management.

It is alleged that there are several inside candidates that Mr. Johnson wants to promote to the newly created contracts coordinator position. Of these candidates, none of them have any project management experience, nor any construction experience. In fact, one of the candidates is currently the janitorial supervisor. Is this not amazing that FBISD taxpayers are on the verge of gaining a janitorial supervisor as the administrator to our multi-million dollar record bond program?

One has to ask several key questions regarding these actions on the part of Michael Johnson. Why is it, that in these economic times, and with a great multitude of qualified individuals seeking employment, FBISD, on the behest of Michael Johnson, has not increased the requirements for a job, but have in fact decreased the minimum standards. Keep in mind that the pay category has not been lowered for this position, only the educational requirement.

Does it not strike anyone as odd that a job of this magnitude and of this high pay be one which requires nothing more than a GED? I invite any of the board members to scour through the job postings for any other school district, even the smaller ones, and you will not find any jobs of this magnitude, that do not require a college degree. In fact, this newly created job only requires a GED.

Why isn't Michael Johnson seeking to maximize the FBISD tax dollar by employing the better qualified candidates by keeping the minimum educational requirements as they previously were? Why is this newly created position of contracts coordinator being advertised so quickly and quietly? Is it, as many people have alleged, so that Michael Johnson can place his janitorial supervisor or one of the other non qualified candidates in this position with minimal attention?

How many of you board members don't make $60,000 a year working only 226 days a year? I am sure that even though some of you may earn significantly more, I am sure you don't have to look far to find many people, who would love to have these high paying jobs. In fact, I am sure that the more and more you look, you will find many people within our community, who have the educational requirements, with the required experience, who will not get a fair shake at this position.

You may ask yourself why Michael Johnson would go to such great lengths to lower educational standards for these positions, when there are so many educated people with the required experience looking for work? The answer is very simple. The pending EEOC investigation has brought forth many discrepancies, possibly actions which can be construed to be discriminatory on the part of Michael Johnson.

After the initial support manager position, in which Michael Johnson hired an unqualified, but very attractive white female, Mr. Johnson has gone to great lengths to cover his actions. Mr. Johnson created another operations manager position, which pays in excess of $60,000 a year and placed a black individual, who did not have a degree, in this position.

Mr Johnson is now advertising another newly created position for contracts coordinator position which requires nothing more than a GED, even though it is a high paying job. Keep in mind that this newly created position pays more than any of our teaching positions. It is highly rumored that this position has been promised to Melvin Williams, who is a non degreed individual, with no experience in project management, but who is a black candidate. What reason does Michael Johnson have to lower the standards set forth for this position? Could it be to cover and placate the EEOC investigators, as well as the many unhappy minority employees within the facilities department of FBISD? I think so.

Why does the human resource department allow Michael Johnson to lower the minimum qualifications for these positions? Is it not the responsibility of the human resource department to seek the most highly qualified candidates for our school district? Could it be Michael Johnson's extremely close relationship to Dr. Jenney, which Michael Johnson is quite fond to describe to anyone who will listen, which gives him carte blanche? It is this close relationship between Michael Johnson and Dr. Jenney which keeps many of the employees within the facilities department in fear. Could this be why the human resource department is rumored to be a rubber stamp for all of Michael Johnson's actions? I would love to hear what argument they give in favor of reducing standards rather than increasing them. It's not like there aren't people looking for work.

Described above you have three newly created positions, which in pay, total more than $150,000 a year, that require nothing more than a GED. My question to each of you is why is FBISD hypocritical in telling our children to educate themselves and get ready for the future, while lowering the minimum educational standards for high paying positions within the facilities department? Is this not sending the wrong message to our children? Even though I am a proud black man, I find it appalling that Mr. Johnson would resort to such cheap actions to cover his initial act of discrimination. I cannot justify Mr Johnson's actions of lowering the minimum educational qualifications, and hiring unqualified minority candidates, at the expense of the FBISD taxpayer, to cover his actions. I don't agree with discrimination of any kind, and it seems to me that the actions described above, in which Mr. Johnson creates new positions, with lower standards to give to unqualified minority applicants is no more correct than his original alleged discriminatory act that is being investigated by the EEOC.

I plead with each of you to ask the tough questions and seek an explanation as to why Mr. Johnson is lowering FBISD standards, and why Mr. Johnson is not seeking the maximum qualifications for our tax dollar.

This article can be found at: http://www.fortbendemployees.blogspot.com

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Chronicle: MHS Academy Safe For Now!

"...that the academy could remain so long as it remained “financially viable.” Superintendent Jenney

Follow this link for the full story: http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/nb/fortbend/news/6527321.html

Monday, July 13, 2009

FBN: FBISD Superintendent Tim Jenney Is Proposing Another Tax Increase!

Bond Review Board lists 4 Houston area districts in the top ten for bond debt. FBISD is one of them. See: http://www.brb.state.tx.us/lgs/summaries/08/isd08/isd2008sum.aspx

Chronicle update--

FBISD Administration Proposes 3.5-cent Property Tax Increase
July 13th, 2009 | by Bob Dunn, FortBendNow

Property taxes could go up for residents within Fort Bend Independent School District, as the district administration is recommending a 3.5-cent hike in its tax rate for 2009.

The FBISD administration is proposing a maintenance and operations tax rate of $1.04 per hundred dollars in property valuation - the same rate the district currently levies. However, the administration is proposing increasing the debt service tax rate to 26.5 cents per hundred - a 3.5-cent increase over the current 23-cent rate.

If the FBISD Board of Trustees approves a total administration-recommended 2009 ad valorem tax rate of $1.305 per hundred, the district tax bill for the owner of a $200,000 home would be $2,610.

The proposed tax increase comes on the heels of a county-wide property reappraisal by the Fort Bend Central Appraisal District that indicates property values will be increased an average of 10.8% higher than last year, despite a national real estate collapse that plunged property values throughout most of the rest of the country. (Property taxes are calculated based on the FBCAD’s appraisals.) . . .

Get the full piece at: http://www.fortbendnow.com/2009/07/13/38976


Friday, July 10, 2009


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


March planned to stop the closure of the EE Academy currently located at Marshall HS in Missouri City:

"The EE Academy was targeted in spring of 2008 for removal. “There was a plan to pull the academy from here and move it to Elkins,” said one district employee, who spoke only on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals from district administrators. “Nobody in the program was consulted,” the employee added. “Our advisory committee was livid when they found out.” FBN

Full story: http://www.fortbendnow.com/2009/07/10/38961

7/11/ UPDATE: http://www.fortbendnow.com/2009/07/10/38964

7/14 Update: http://www.fortbendnow.com/2009/07/14/38990

FBW exclusive update 7-12: Hundreds show up Saturday morning to listen to speakers like Dora Olivo, Al Green, Cynthia Gary and others pushing to support MHS keeping its academy, which culminated in a march to Marshall from near the Missouri City town hall. Noticeably not in attendance, as at earlier rallies, were the cities mayor (Allen Owen) and other top officials as well as newly elected BOT member Marilyn Glover, a GOP precinct chair and former county chairman of the democratic party who appeared to be avoiding this issue during the school elections.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Chronicle: Another Effort Is Launched To Save The Marshall Academy!

Follow this link to get more on the efforts in Missouri City to save the Marshall Academy from the FBISD budget crisis:


Saturday, July 4, 2009

FBISDWatch Wishes All A Wonderful Independence Day!

“I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it.”

Thomas Jefferson

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

FB Star Covers Torres Resignation--

Fort Bend ISD's transportation head abruptly resigns

By Cheryl Skinner

In a sparsely worded statement, Fort Bend Independent School District spokesperson Mary Ann Simpson confirmed the abrupt resignation last week of the school’s transportation director.

Simpson confirmed that Richard Torres resigned “to pursue other opportunities.”

Operation supervisor James Hoss is the interim director until a formal replacement is hired, Simpson said. . .