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)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Thursday, December 16, 2010

FBN: Covers Controversial Glover CAD Board Nomination--click below--

See: http://www.fortbendnow.com/2010/12/16/49499

"Many residents have questioned the ethics of nominating the husband of an active board member, and Babb said he has been inundated with phone calls and e-mails concerning the nomination.

There is no mention of Albert Glover’s name in the agenda packet for the meeting. The resolution included in the packet has a blank line where the nominee’s name would be written.

Babb said he abstained from voting because he was unaware that the board already had a candidate in mind. He said he was under the impression that the board would be viewing resumes and discussing possible candidates." FBN


--FBW comment: So this is how it really operates?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Talk of HS Closures Fills BOT Meeting-

See: http://www.fortbendnow.com/2010/12/14/49454#comment-16420

More on possible school closings (update 12-16): http://www.fortbendstar.com/121510/n_FBISD.htm

Albert Glover, Husband of BOT Member Marilyn Glover Selected For Possible Appointment To CAD Board (Apparent conflict of interest?)

FBISDWatch was notified a few weeks back about a vacancy on the county appraisal board for a FBISD member. These positions have come under the spot-light over the past few years because of the record number of challenges to property tax appraisals in the district. Recently an appointed CAD board member for FBISD resigned leaving the seat open for several months.

According to inside sources and the district, this position may be filled by a husband of one of the school board members who has been very active in supporting BOT candidates that back the superintendent and many of his spending projects. The real question is, could this present a conflict of interest if he is voted in at the commissioners court meeting today?

Stay tuned, we will update this at intervals...

School closings update: http://fbindependent.com/fbisd-plans-to-close-down-two-schools-p3151-1.htm

(Note: Does it make sense to not utilize existing campuses for student needs rather than to close existing campuses while building several new ones and proposing an additional project costing as much as a campus to operate in the "GSTC"?)

Monday, December 13, 2010

Upcoming Meetings-

Dec. 13 Zoning Boundaries Workshop

Dec. 13 School Board Meeting

Dec. 20-Jan. 2 Winter Holidays

Jan. 10 School Board Meeting

Jan. 17 Martin L. King Day - Holiday

Jan. 24 Budget Workshop

Jan. 24 School Board Meeting


EXTRA Chron: FBISD zoning workshop--still discussing possible school closings...

http://www.ultimatefortbend.com/stories/223764-ktrk-fort-bend-county-to-hold-zoning-workshop-tonight

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

FBN OP/ED: FBISD Bond Steering Committee Politics--click link below for more--

Is the bond debt steering committee process a farse? See what one resident has to say about it in this local FBN editorial....

http://www.fortbendnow.com/2010/12/08/49346

and this one (school district still pointing the finger at the state for 3-4 years of budget woes rather than take responsibility for mismanagement)--12-10-10:

http://www.fortbendnow.com/2010/12/10/49383

"...Despite widespread criticism by school officials about the level of state funding for public schools, Texas Comptroller Susan Combs has released a report saying school spending per student has increased by 63 percent during the last decade, outpacing both enrollment growth and inflation.

Fort Bend Independent School District officials, having just faced their third budget deficit in a row, have long blamed the state’s school financing system for their financial woes..." FBN

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Upcoming Meetings-

Dec. 07 Tech. Ed. Expo

Dec. 13 School Board Meeting

Dec. 20-Jan. 2 Winter Holidays

Jan. 10 School Board Meeting


ZONING UPDATE 12-1: http://www.fortbendnow.com/2010/12/01/49212

More Budget Problems:

http://www.fortbendnow.com/2010/12/02/49243

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Have A Happy Thanksgiving Holiday!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

FB Star Update On Superintendents Push For Spending on "Science Center" (at the central office)

See: http://www.fortbendstar.com/111710/n_IsFBISD.htm

Also from the "Burner" column, this interesting tid-bit on vendor relations and how they treat some "connected" board members:

'FBISD, the smart group.....We learned last week that 3 FBISD board members stayed in an expensive Houston hotel because they were attending a meeting close by. The meetings were a little over 20 miles from their homes but in this day of cutting teachers and watching pennies, Laurie Caudwell, Marilyn Glover, and Jim Rice just couldn’t make that long drive home and be back for a meeting the next day.

FYI: they stayed late at night to go eat at an expensive restaurant with district vendors picking up the tab.
They ought to be ashamed."

FBSun: Rezoning Controversy Continues

See: http://www.hcnonline.com/sugar_land/news/article_1b3ecb96-aae7-5fac-a9d3-129c0a9ad11f.html

Sunday, November 14, 2010

ABC13: KISD Apologizes For Misuse Of Taxpayers Phone Lists During Bond Campaign--see link below--

http://thevote.abc13.com/2010/11/katy-school-district-apologizes-parents-say-its-too-little-too-late.html

Will this tactic be used during the forth-coming FBISD bond campaign? Apparently members of the fact finding committee are already being secretly asked to join the "promotion" group, which usually makes up hand picked community members that are favorable in their opinions of pushing for additional bond debt, increased taxes and often from associations with the contractors and vendors in the district that directly benefit from these dollars. Almost half the members of the last bond "promotion" committee were GFBCEDC members or in the school district foundation. Hardly a random sample drawn from the community at large.

We will update this at intervals...

Related over spending issues:

http://www.fortbendnow.com/2010/11/08/48844

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

FBN: "Global Taj Mahal" Alive And Well, according to this report (Project Never Approved By Voters)--

“One thing to keep in mind is the state of the economy – we could be looking at a state of the economy that would make it impossible for us to open middle school 15 in that time frame,” said Jenney, referring to the next few years.

Jenney has not said if economic conditions will affect the future of the science center. FBN

Get more: http://www.fortbendnow.com/2010/11/10/48893

FBW comment: FB Star publisher had this to say last week:

"The global center for science and technology was FBISD’s answer to low science scores on the TAKS tests. Rather than throw a bunch of money at the classrooms, the district in its bid to build something it could name after somebody proposed a project that, except for its name, wasn’t going to do much for anybody, what with loading kids up and busing them several miles once or twice a semester so they could spend scant minutes at the center before loading on a bus and heading back to their home campus.

I had no idea the district was still kicking that ill-fated idea around until the board started talking about a bond election in order to not only build more schools, but of a more immediate nature, repair some schools in bad shape. Board members were informed that money still left over from previous bond issues was being saved for the science center rather than being used for current repairs.

Are you kidding me??? It is inconceivable to me that with as much controversy over the center in the first place that it would still be on the agenda.

Does the superintendent, Dr. Tim Jenny, realize that the effective term of a school superintendent is about five years, and he is dangerously closing in on that term.
"

http://myfortbend.net/news/local/opinion-editorial/1351-just-in-from-the-fb-star-qgstcq-rumor-confirmed-by-local-media-

Related wasteful spending article:

http://www.fortbendnow.com/2010/11/08/48844

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Contentious School Board Meeting Leaves Zoning Critics Dissatisfied

Following several zoning workshops, where district officials gave numerous reasons for several of the current rezoning plans, quite a few speakers responded during the open comments section questioning the need for rezoning. Some raised concerns about a rumor circulating the media regarding the superintendent holding onto some of the 2007 bond funds (nearly 20 million dollars), some of which was ear-marked for land purchases for new schools in Telfair and elsewhere. There was no official response from the superintendent or other board members during that agenda item.

Related: "A New Territory resident who is a member of the Google group SMS BBE Zone, started as an effort to organize a protest of the division of the neighborhood, said in an e-mail to the group after the meeting that many people are missing the real issue of the story, which she said is that there aren’t enough students to fill the new school.

“I think it is natural for people to make the easy leap between “rezoning” and “overcrowding” and
the reporters so far have made portrayed this situation to be a result of “growing pains” in the district when in fact it is the exact opposite,” said Kathy Morrow in a message using the Google Group. “If Aliana and some of the other nearby developments had grown more in the last two years, like the district probably anticipated, we wouldn’t be faced with this. That part of the district has not grown enough to support this new school. It’s due to the economy – which of course nobody could have predicted.”

A speaker at the regular meeting asked the board not to use their children as “filler” to meet quotas for an under capacity school."
Fort Bend Now

As additional media reports come in, they will be shared below:

http://www.39online.com/news/local/kiah-school-rezoning-story,0,7770411.story

http://www.khou.com/news/neighborhood-news/-Parents-complain-as-Fort-Bend-ISD-experiences-growing-pains--106940134.html

http://www.fortbendnow.com/2010/11/09/48864 (New zoning options presented)

http://www.fortbendnow.com/2010/11/09/48876

Background:

http://kathymorrowsterritorynews.blogspot.com/2010/10/new-territory-rallies-against-proposed_27.html

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Just In From The FB Star--"GSTC" Rumor Confirmed By Local Media--


Just in from the FB Star:

The hubris of leadership....I am often astonished by the arrogance of some of our appointed and elected officials.

For example, I recently was informed that FBISD’s global center for science and technology was still on the drawing boards. I thought everyone agreed that in the economic climate of today, the science center was a program we did not have to have.

The global center for science and technology was FBISD’s answer to low science scores on the TAKS tests. Rather than throw a bunch of money at the classrooms, the district in its bid to build something it could name after somebody proposed a project that, except for its name, wasn’t going to do much for anybody, what with loading kids up and busing them several miles once or twice a semester so they could spend scant minutes at the center before loading on a bus and heading back to their home campus.

I had no idea the district was still kicking that ill-fated idea around until the board started talking about a bond election in order to not only build more schools, but of a more immediate nature, repair some schools in bad shape. Board members were informed that money still left over from previous bond issues was being saved for the science center rather than being used for current repairs.

Are you kidding me??? It is inconceivable to me that with as much controversy over the center in the first place that it would still be on the agenda.

Does the superintendent, Dr. Tim Jenny, realize that the effective term of a school superintendent is about five years, and he is dangerously closing in on that term...

...I’ve never known of a superintendent that the teachers hated so universally. He brought many administrators from Virginia Beach with him which may have been a good thing as schools have a way of becoming inbred, but it has resulted in untold resentments.

Now we find that amid all the other economic problems plaguing the school district, a “secret” fund is still being kept aside for the building Dr. Jenney wants to build. The hauteur of this action seems almost unbelievable. Shame on Dr. Jenney and shame on the school board for letting our schools go dangerously lacking in repair while still harboring conceited thoughts of a “science center.”

Friday, November 5, 2010

Zoning Conflict In Telfair & New Territory Escalates!

http://www.click2houston.com/education/25637916/detail.html?taf=hou

http://abclocal.go.com/ktrk/video?id=7765621&syndicate=syndicate§ion

http://www.fortbendnow.com/2010/11/03/48791

http://www.fortbendnow.com/2010/11/05/48827

http://www.fortbendstar.com/110310/n_Campaign.htm

http://www.hcnonline.com/articles/2010/11/05/fort_bend_sun/news/sws-_telfair_schools.txt

"The school district said there is one major problem -- there's no money to build a new high school. Officials said a 2007 bond election provided money to buy land, but said that does not appear to be a smart move right now."--From the channel 2 story--Apparently from inside sources, this just isn't true. There is 20 million the district is sitting on for a project that wasn't supported by the voters called the "Global Science & Technology Center (Global Taj Mahal)", a duplicate science museum (very similar to the one in Telfair). There is also several tens of millions of dollars from prior bond elections now in reserve accounts. Plenty to make the purchase on the land....

We will update these stories as they come in.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Bond Battle Heats Up In Neighboring KISD--follow the link below--


School district releases cell phone numbers and other contact information to pro-bond-debt forces in KISDs controversial election. KISD already ranks in the top 10 for bond debt closely followed by FBISD which is also in the top 10% and uses many of the same corporate vendors. It has been rumored that FBISD is planning on another bond election while sitting on nearly 20 million dollars from the last RECORD bond-debt election of only a few years ago. Sources claim that the FBISD supt. is planning on using some of those funds for the NON-voter approved duplicate science museum at the central office. THIS WOULD MEAN, IF CONFIRMED, THAT HE WOULD BE USING TAXPAYER DOLLARS FOR A VERY LARGE NON-CAMPUS BASED BUILDING PROJECT THAT WAS NOT APPROVED BY THE VOTERS. Stay tuned while we update this...:

http://instantnewskaty.com/2010/10/29/17059

http://instantnewskaty.com/2010/10/28/17041

Background:

http://blogs.houstonpress.com/hairballs/2010/02/fort_bend_science_center_1.php

http://blogs.houstonpress.com/hairballs/2009/06/fort_bend_science_center.php

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Telfair & New Territory Residents Speak Up At BOT Meeting On Zoning Concerns--

It appears zoning has once again taken center stage at the board of trustees regular meeting, this time for the families of New Territory and Telfair. Of primary concerns listed was traffic patterns, safety and over-crowding at the currently zoned high school for the area (Clements). A large group of taxpayers showed up and quite a few spoke to the packed house. While several east and west end district high schools are under-utilized with regards to their maximum seating capacity, Clements is well over its allowable load and has been for several years now. The real question is whether or not this board will address it or continue to ignore it as past boards have thus allowing the problem to mushroom.

We will update this below as media permits:

Update 10-28: http://www.fortbendnow.com/2010/10/28/48675

http://www.fortbendnow.com/2010/10/26/48600

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Question of the week: Why Is The FBISD Administration Attempting To Investigate The Marshall High School "Embezzlement" Scandal Internally?


FBW Question: Why Is The FBISD Administration Attempting To Investigate The Marshall High School "Embezzlement" Scandal Internally? Wouldn't it be better handled by an outside agency? Will our reluctant D.A. get involved?

http://www.fortbendnow.com/2010/10/15/48405

Stay tuned for more...

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

FBN: Local Corruption & A Free Press

Follow this link for more: http://www.fortbendnow.com/2010/10/18/48438

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Early Voting Begins Oct. 18th--

County, state and federal mid-term elections early voting starts Monday the 18th...

Get more info: http://www.co.fort-bend.tx.us/getsitepage.asp?sitepage=3230

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

District Seeking To Usurp Voter Approval For Tax Hikes In Legislative Agenda (1 member speaks out against this)-

FBN: Babb Abstains From Voting On FBISD’s Legislative Agenda

"Fort Bend Independent School District Board of Trustees member Jim Babb abstained from voting on a legislative agenda at Monday night’s board meeting after expressing concerns about a portion of the document that requested school districts have the right to raise taxes without voter approval..."

Full story: http://www.fortbendnow.com/2010/10/13/48371

Other board action: http://www.fortbendnow.com/2010/10/12/48342

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Upcoming Dates-

Date/Event

Oct. 9 Recycle For Reuse
Oct. 11 School Board Meeting
Oct. 22 Community Conference
Oct. 25 School Board Meeting
Oct. 27 Academy Expo

***Updates (Bond controversy with shared district vendors and other news from local media sources):***


Update on BOT representatives meeting with PGMUD: http://www.fortbendstar.com/100610/n_HotWords.htm

And does this firm look familiar (PBK)? Yes they are a regular FBISD contractor/vendor:

http://instantnewskaty.com/2010/10/06/16538

Looks like KISD delivered its "state of the schools" speech in much the same way FBISD did.

http://instantnewskaty.com/2010/10/05/16494


FBN covers growing bond promotion controversy in neighboring district:

http://www.fortbendnow.com/2010/10/07/48270


http://www.fortbendnow.com/2010/10/07/48274

Sunday, October 3, 2010

KISDWatch/Katy TP Challenge Large District Bond Proposal...

http://instantnewskaty.com/2010/09/28/16333

Will FBTP challenge the coming FBISD bond proposal???

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Join the FBISDWatch Contact List Today!--see below for more info--

Contact us at fbisdwatch@yahoo.com to be added to the growing contact list and stay informed on issues not always reported locally on how your property taxes and debt are utilized in the district as the spring elections approach...

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

What is your districts bond debt?

Try this site to find out more:

http://www.brb.state.tx.us/

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Split Vote On Property Tax Rate Hike--salesmanship as usual by some board members--

See Chronicle Update on this: http://www.ultimatefortbend.com/2010/09/higher-tax-rate-expected-fbisd

FBISD Board Approves Tax Rate
By: Jamie Mock, FBN

The Fort Bend Independent School District has approved the 2010 tax rate at $1.34 per $100 of valuation. The rate is higher than last year’s $1.305, but less than the effective tax rate of $1.3693.

The effective tax rate is the rate needed to collect the same revenue as the prior year.
Jim Babb was the only board member to vote against the tax rate.

The maintenance and operations part of the tax rate remains the same, at $1.04 – the most the district can asses without going to the voters. The increase comes in the portion of the tax rate used to pay off debt...

Source: http://www.fortbendnow.com/2010/09/14/47767
------------------
-A big congratulations goes out to the lone hold out on the rate increase! Finally some back-bone on the BOT!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

FBStar Compares Local Issues Facing Fort Bend Schools

See: http://www.fortbendstar.com/090110/n_SchoolDays.htm

Recent transportation concerns hit home too (remember the supt cut over $20 million from the transportation budget last year after running consecutive record budget deficits for 3 years while increasing our taxes over the same time period)...

http://www.fortbendstar.com/090810/n_Parents.htm

-Plans are still in the works for the "Global Taj Mahal" ($30 million dollar duplicate museum, according to district insiders). This was a non-voter approved project...

Stay tuned for more....

Friday, August 27, 2010

Newly Elected BOT Member Discusses Possibility of Resigning...

A recent post on the Facebook page of Jim Babb:

"...Next to becoming a husband & father, one of the greatest honors to ever be bestowed upon me was the day my community elected me to serve on the FBISD Board. AND I respect those who have selflessly served before me. However, I am now facing some serious medical issues and have been advised to reduce my commitments (stress) and focus more of addressing my health needs. Although I try to keep my personal & family issues private, I will say that my medical issues are not terminal and can improve with proper treatment (and my cooperation).

Having witnessed the attitude and behavior of this superintendant, as well as some FBISD Board members, in closed session as well as other instances, I realize now more than ever the imminent need for more community representation on the FBISD Board. Let me make it clear that I am not in any way alleging nefarious behavior or illegal activity. I believe that most of the current board members are good, honest and decent people. However, I believe the community perspective is currently under-represented.

My greatest concern about resigning my position is the following. Should the May election add another “community voice” to the board, rather than a “hand-picked successor”, he or she will be in the same circumstance as I now find myself. Much more could be accomplished with an additional community voice.

HENCE, God willing and my health improving, I will remain on this board for now. However, I plan to become more vocal when necessary..
."

We will update this as needed...

Saturday, August 21, 2010

-LOWV Offers Report On The Texas Projection Measure-

UPDATE ON TEXAS EDUCATION (LOWV Houston Area Education Fund)

ACCOUNTABILITY: TEXAS PROJECTION MEASURE

TPM: The TPM is part of the accountability system that awards schools credit for students who have actually failed state-mandated tests, but who are expected to pass sometime in the future. Texas state Rep. Scott Hochberg, a Houston area representative and chairman of an appropriations subcommittee overseeing the education budget, was quoted by the American-Statesman as calling the measure “invalid,” and urged education officials to “start from scratch and develop a real measure of the progress students make in schools.” According to the State-Telegram, “when a student fails a test but shows enough gain to make it statistically likely that he or she is on track to pass during the next high-stakes testing period,” the TPM“ counts that student as having passed for school accountability purposes.”2 A Press Release by the HISD dated July 30, 2010, shows new data using the TPM and re-rating schools without the TPM. Data of 2008 reflects 38 Exemplary and 119 Recognized schools. Data for 2009 with TPM shows 84 Exemplary and 121 Recognized schools, while removing TPM leaves only 54 Exemplary and 111 Recognized schools. The difference shown in 2010 data reflects that with TPM, there are 101 Exemplary and 105 Recognized schools. Without TPM, there are only 56 Exemplary and 113 Recognized schools. HISD stated that even without TPM, HISD reflected growth by the number of highly rated schools increasing from 165 Exemplary and Recognized schools in 2009, to 169 in 2010.

This statistical device has magically turned about 450,000 of about 1 million failed TAKS tests last year into “passing” on the basis that the students were likely to pass two or three years later. The number of schools rated as “unacceptable” was more than cut in half, and the number given the top rating of “exemplary” more than doubled. Note: the student didn’t get credit for passing, but their school is shown to be doing a great job. Hochberg has shown that the Texas Projection Measure isn’t a “growth measure” at all, but has a miserable success rate at predicting success...

The statewide 2010 ratings recently released were fantastic, albeit, not credible. Of the 239 school districts that claimed the exemplary rating, only 72 met the standards without administrative help. Use of the TPM more than doubled the number of campuses classified as exemplary. The total went from 1,159 to 2,624 with the added boost. The same was true among the districts and campuses claiming Recognized and Academically Acceptable status. This measurement device is not fair to the children whose school districts and campuses have received a higher rating due to the creative bookkeeping. Students who are not passing the state’s accountability measures are not going to be equipped for college or the workforce. Accountability ratings need to mean something.

The TPM was introduced in 2009. It predicts students’ future TAKS scores in a given subject based ontheir current TAKS scores and on their previous year’s average campus score. If a student fails this year’s TAKS test but is predicted to pass in a future year, the school gets credit as if the student had passed thisyear. Because of the criticism, Commissioner Scott has said the TPM may be eliminated or revised in 2011. Supporters say the concept helps recognize the efforts of schools where students have made academic gains but still fall short of the passing standards.

Commissioner Scott sent a message to school leaders that he is considering doing away with the Texas Projection Measure or changing it for the 2011 accountability ratings. Some educators like the provision because it gives schools credit for how well students are expected to do in the future, while critics contend that it doesn’t give a true assessment of how students are performing.

http://www.lwvhouston.org/html/publications.html

Monday, August 16, 2010

Upcoming Meetings

Date/Event

Aug. 17 Summer Graduation
Aug. 18 Teacher Work Day
Aug. 17, 19-20 Campus Staff Development
Aug. 23 First Day of School
Aug. 23 School Board Meeting
Aug. 30 Education Foundation Golf Scramble
Sept. 6 Holiday District Offices Closed

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

BOT Votes To Uphold "Truth In Grading" Court Ruling (Some not happy about it)

See this link for more:

http://www.ultimatefortbend.com/2010/08/minimum-policy-halts-practice-may-not#comment-8415

FBW comment: How much did the district legal vendor and consultants make off this legal challenge to common sense?

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Monday, August 2, 2010

FBN: FBISD Remains "Academically Acceptable" According To Latest TEA Measures (District Appeals Again)

See: http://www.fortbendnow.com/2010/08/02/47108

Chron update 8-3: http://www.ultimatefortbend.com/2010/08/schools-unacceptable-rating-be-appealed

Post note: According to the FBISD release from 1:30p. this afternoon the district scores improved by over 15% from last years and apparently without the use of the Texas Projection Measure (TPM) or at least the FBISD release says so...

Fact ck-Well we called two separate contacts at the TEA and asked for confirmation that FBISD did in fact NOT use the controversial TPM but both sources claimed they did and referred us to these links to verify that they DID IN FACT USE THE TPM:

http://ritter.tea.state.tx.us/perfreport/account/2010/static/tables/d079907.pdf

http://ritter.tea.state.tx.us/perfreport/account/2010/static/summary/d079907.html

***What is the controversy surrounding the TPM? See:

http://www.statesman.com/news/local/state-may-eliminate-use-of-student-testing-projection-794907.html

Saturday, July 31, 2010

According To A School Board Member FB Page The District Is Still Moving Forward On The "Global Taj Mahal"...

Taken from: http://www.facebook.com/topic.php?uid=272950882709&topic=15755 (this original thread has been removed and replaced with the link below)


Update 8-1-10: This topic thread and forum responses has been removed and replaced with this: http://www.facebook.com/topic.php?uid=272950882709&topic=15760

Original post: "Jim Babb For FBISD- You all know where I stand on the GSTC. Dr. Jenney recently advised me that he does still intend to build the center and indicated that it will be funded primarily by residual bonds from previous bond elections. However, 20% must come from private sector contributions. Of course, the cost staffing & maintaining the center, as well as transporting the students must also be considered. As proposed, the center will serve grades 2-8. Below is a link to the FBISD page, regarding the center.

http://www.fortbend.k12.tx.us/FeaturedItem/GlobalScienceCenter/default.cfm "

-This is the same central office museum plan that was extensively covered here and throughout the local media last year. As many of you remember the district has been undergoing a 3rd consecutive record budget deficit that also involved large "reductions in force". This 20-30 million dollar project has never been voted on by the public and was not on prior bond/debt elections.

Stay tuned for updates...(search this site for additional background on this hot button issue)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Monday, July 19, 2010

Chron: Teacher Shortages In FBISD after a Huge RIF Last Spring?

See: http://www.ultimatefortbend.com/2010/07/teacher-shortage-fbisd-despte-layoffs


Legal Teams Reorganized (from the chron 7-20): http://www.ultimatefortbend.com/2010/07/whats-fbisds-legal-team-reshuffle

FB Sun: Teachers Federation Discusses Recent Court Fight

Federation makes push for step pay increases and information for members

By DIANE TEZENO
Updated: 07.16.10

The Fort Bend Employee Federation held a recent press conference to announce plans to issue several challenges to the Fort Bend Independent School District.

Among the issues are step pay increases for teachers, access to information used to terminate employees in the recent reduction in force and academic honesty in the classroom related to grading policies.

Top on the list of Federation concerns is step pay increases for teachers in the 2010-2011 school year.

“We are only talking about $400 to $800 per teacher for the year,” FBEF President Karrie Washenfelder said.

“Each district is allowed to determine their step on their own, it is not rendered by the state in any way, but teacher salaries are so compressed there is not a lot of room for advancement on the pay scale, so the step is just a built-in amount to provide for the cost of living,” Washenfelder said.

According to the district, the recent Attorney General Opinion will cause the FBISD budget to increase $3.5 million...

Get the full article at: http://www.hcnonline.com/articles/2010/07/19/fort_bend_sun/news/sws_-_teacher_federation_716.txt

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The "Texas Projection Measure (TPM)" In Trouble.....It Should Be!

See this OP/ED from a local blog:

Saturday, July 10, 2010
TEA to Dump TPM?

I’ve been following the series at the Chronicle by Rick Casey on how the TEA is using TAKS scores in their campus rating system, something called the AEIS. Casey is looking at something that we educators have all had our attention turned toward lately, the Texas Projection Measure or TPM.

This is because raw scores notwithstanding, how the TEA uses the TPM, especially in borderline cases, greatly influences which of the four categories your campus will fall into.

Will the campus be rated as Exemplary, Recognized, Acceptable or Unacceptable. And how will the district be rated?

This is because, depending on how your campus is rated, it is then determined how many or how few hoops you must jump through as the school year progresses. The higher the rating, the fewer the hoops.

State Rep. Scott Hochberg (D-Houston) is also concerned with this measurement, as we read through Casey’s pieces. As he is chairman of a House education appropriations committee, he is a little worried about the jump in Exemplary campus ratings last year and wondered why that happened. As it happens, 73 of the 74 newly rated exemplary districts made that cut because of the TPM.

That is, actual student performance did not determine a district's exemplary status in 73 cases. Instead it was a statistical projection of the number of students who will eventually pass the TAKS test that did the trick.

And that is well and good if the TPM is an accurate predictor. The trouble is, that isn’t necessarily the case.

In his first piece, Casey revealed that a student could receive a passing TPM score after answering none of a TAKS test’s questions correctly. That is, a student who received a zero on a TAKS text could be scored as a student who would eventually pass the test.

Asked to defend this, Associate Commissioner in charge of the accountability system, Chris Cloudt claimed that the TPM was a “growth measure” of performance. One would assume that this was a comparison of performance from previous tests, and in doing so, one would assume wrongly. It is actually a formula applied to a student’s test score that looks back on “thousands of prior results.” It is, to use an industry term, a “fudge factor.”

The “fudge factor,” as it turns out, was devised by the national testing company Pearson Education. And when the “fudge factor” is applied to a theoretical student who scores a zero on a TAKS test, it transforms the zero to a passing score. Not based on the student’s own improvement but based on improvement of a pool of students.

It is, in short, fiction. Or better yet, it is, in short, wishful thinking.

The upside is that more and more campuses will be awarded Exemplary or even Recognized ratings, and teachers will be less beset by paperwork.

There is a downside, however. If the “fudge factor” skews all test scores upward, then schools that are actually in trouble with attaining an Acceptable rating will fly under the radar, and some necessary corrections and controls will not be applied that should be.

Politically, this could be disastrous. If public schools are viewed as having escaped poor ratings because of a state-sanctioned “fudge factor” that creates test scores that are more myth than fact, this only provides fodder to the rightwing that scream for school accountability by diverting public school funds to private, hopefully religious schools.

It gives those that raise a hue and cry for school vouchers the ammunition they need.

Ammunition that might penetrate Kevlar.

My guess, then, is that the TEA may be poised, as this article in the Austin American-Statesman suggests, to eliminate the TPM as a measure of student progress.

Unfortunately, old habits die hard as we see with what is being entertained by Education Commissioner Robert Scott, who lists three options: “the suspension of the measurement, continued use of the measurement for districts that choose to and modification of the measurement's calculation.”

Hochberg seems unimpressed:

“You don't make an invalid measure valid by doing less of it. I think we should start from scratch and develop a real measure of the progress students make in schools.”

Putting “lipstick on a pig” is how Hochberg characterized this....( get the full piece at http://halfempth.blogspot.com/2010/07/tea-to-dump-tpm.html )

FBW Comment: Almost 2 years ago when this controversy was still being debated we took a strong position against using "projection measures" (formulated guess-work) instead of actual outcomes. It would seem much of the bragging superintendents and school boards have been crowing about over the last year and a half has been more empty boasts than actual performing. With so many superintendent salaries tied to this key performance measure you'd think we would want it to have a baseline that could demonstrate sound statistical praxis for further measurement, which obviously is not the current case. Ask yourself which special interest push the "feel good" measure besides the assessment vendors...

Related:

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/facebook/7096582.html

http://www.statesman.com/news/local/state-may-eliminate-use-of-student-testing-projection-794907.html

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Happy Birthday America!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

For More On The Superintendents Perks, See This Weeks FB Star Column (Bev's Burner)--link below--

"Although Jenney has a base contract of $260,339 which isn’t bad for a district that is pleading a tight budget and laying off employees, his total paycheck could reach $350,000 with all the perks" FB Star

http://www.fortbendstar.com/Columns/burner.htm

Texas Judge Rules In Favor On Honesty In Grading And Against FBISD (and other districts)-

Judge rules that grades must be truthful
June 30, 2010 12:04 pm Richard Zagrzecki

A Travis County judge ruled Monday that Texas public schools are required to give students truthful grades on class assignments and on their report cards under a 2009 state law that 11 school districts were challenging in court.

The school districts, including Fort Bend ISD, argued that the law applied only to grades on assignments, noting that the statute didn't specifically mention report cards, semester grades, or six- or nine-week averages...

Full story: http://www.ultimatefortbend.com/2010/06/judge-rules-grades-must-be-truthful

Monday, June 21, 2010

Upcoming Meetings:

Upcoming Dates:

June 25 District Offices Closed
July 2 District Offices Closed
July 5 Holiday-District Offices Closed
July 9 District Offices Closed
July 16 District Offices Closed
July 19 Regular Board Meeting
July 23 District Offices Closed

Monday, June 14, 2010

Apparent Pressure By School Officials To Take Down Facebook Page Of New Board Member Draws Concern--

FB Sun update (6-16): http://www.hcnonline.com/articles/2010/06/16/fort_bend_sun/news/sws_-_babb_facebook_acct_615.txt

Chronicle Update (6-14): http://www.ultimatefortbend.com/2010/06/trustee-no-pressure-shut-facebook-page#comment-5589

---------

During the recent school board races several of the candidates opened and maintained Facebook political-social networking sites to better reach the public/voters. These sites include areas to blog and discuss current issues involving the school system. After one of the reform minded candidates was elected he decided to keep his Facebook site up and running to stay in touch with his constituents that elected him and others in the district that prefer a direct line to their elected officials.

According to first hand sources, recently the superintendent and another school board member began to suggest taking the web-site down now that the election is over:

"Jim Babb For FBISD-- Ironically, I was recently cautioned about keeping my "blog" up. However, I agree, that it's best to keep the dialogue going. After all.... we were elected to serve as a voice of the community. If we stop listening, we can't very well represent the community (parents, voters, taxpayers, etc.). Thanks for the positive feedback."

Why would school board members and the superintendent encourage less communications with the tax paying public? Is this pattern consistent with local news reports and recent attempts by citizens to attain public information from these same officials as is evidenced by the district's failure to comply with a Texas Attorney General order only last year? FBW applauds any efforts by any public servant to improve public communications and in turn public trust. We congratulate Mr. Babb on his efforts to keep the voting and taxpaying public better informed and we strongly condemn those elected or appointed that would work to silence such endeavors. Two years ago one of the new county commissioners opened a blog-site and has worked to maintain that site in an effort to keep constituents up to date on county matters. Why would FBISD work so hard to keep access from the community at large? Other elected officials have blog-sites...

Let's hope this attitude of separation and silence is short lived.......we will update this piece as needed!

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Jim-Babb-For-FBISD/272950882709?v=app_2373072738&ref=nf

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

FBS: Interesting Exchange Between Former BOT Member & Local Publisher

"I have no patience left for FBISD’s leaders. They are a bunch of blame tossers and whiners." Carter

http://www.fortbendstar.com/Columns/burner.htm

FBISD board weighs in.....I received the following comments from former FBISD board member David Rietz.
“As a former infantry Marine, your “coward’s way out” comment touched a nerve.

“When I was elected to the Board of Trustees three years ago, one of the loudest complaints from the community was the size of the FBISD “rainy day” fund. This money was the result of revenue being higher than expenses over a period of time. Its purpose is to provide a financial cushion when state revenue is delayed but payroll has to be met, or unexpected expenses arise, like from a hurricane. Just as financial planners recommend clients keep several months of cash available for crisis, businesses and school districts do the same.

Reitz went on to say, “There were many people with ideas for how that money should be spent (I was one of them). All of them, in the end, require that expenses be higher than revenue; the only way to reduce a surplus is with a deficit. So with state funding stuck at a relatively low level, the district scrutinized both sides of the balance sheet – and ran a deficit last year and this year. Now the people who were complaining about the size of the fund balance are complaining about the deficits which are covered by reducing the fund balance. As long as a healthy fund balance level is maintained, and the deficits result from strategic decisions, not from financial surprises, and are temporary, they are not bad. FBISD’s continued ‘AA’ bond rating indicates good financial management so I dispute the premise of your May 26 column.

He continued, “Blaming it on the state is the coward’s way out.” So maybe we do not blame it on the state; the board always has the option of having a balanced or a deficit budget. We have a deficit, not because of the state, but because we did not lay off teachers a year ago. But the lack of revenue is definitely the fault of the state. Texas’ targeted revenue for FBISD is $387 less than Katy ISD. For the 70,000 students in FBISD, that adds up to $27 million – larger than this year’s budgeted deficit. Of large districts in this state, Austin ISD has the highest targeted revenue – surprised? The Star is never one to let politicians get a pass when they break something so I am surprised that you let them slide on this one. It should be a campaign issue in November.

And more, “The superintendent’s compensation is a fair question, outside of the budget discussion. The Texas Association of School Boards publishes an annual report of Superintendent compensation. It would be a good reference point because knowing one superintendent’s compensation alone does not tell you much. Of districts with at least 50,000 students, the average compensation in 2008 was $272,000. The report also summarizes insurance, car allowances, and other items, but only breaks it out by districts over 10,000 students so that is not as useful. In Texas, superintendents stay in a district an average of 5 years. When I joined the Board, I wondered if FBISD was getting fair value. After measuring the District’s accomplishments for three years, I know we are.

So here is my response: Sorry, Mr. Reitz, but talking about the “coward’s way out” when you only served one term on the school and then when your learning curve is the highest and FBISD’s deficit is at the highest, you decide not to run. When the going got tough....So don’t go chastising me about the “coward’s way out.”

And I find it particularly amusing that you talk as if FBISD is now running a deficit budget in order to purposefully spend down its fund balance. Give me a break and credit for a little more sense than that. What about all those teachers that got laid off? RIFTED? Now there’s a term for you!

And now it’s my fault for the state not giving FBISD as much money as other school districts.? How many times have I begged voters to get rid of our esteemed state representative Charlie Howard who actually doesn’t even believe in public education unless it involves prayer in school and “intelligent design.” What tree were you and the rest of the district hiding behind when Charlie had very competent opponents?

And what is wrong with your lungs. Why weren't you in Austin during the session raising Hell? Cat got your tongue?
I have no patience left for FBISD’s leaders. They are a bunch of blame tossers and whiners. They need to finally do something besides claim “Woe is us.”

Special note: The "AA" bond rating is not that great of a rating and the district is currently borrowing the "AAA" rating of the state. It would also be nice to see this newspaper publisher break ranks during the elections rather than only talking tough after they end. You see she normally endorses the special interest backed candidates from the realestate-development community every cycle. As a matter of fact she supported Mr. Reitz in his run for the board.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

FBS: Looks at looming "RIF" controversy--

"Apparently the district thinks this process is like golf and is trying to take a mulligan at the expense of these teacher's rights," stated Karrie Washenfelder, President Fort Bend Employee Federation, in a communication announcing the district’s meeting to attempt the repair.

FBISD Chief Communications Officer Mary Ann Simpson informed the Star that the district did not meet on Tuesday with representatives from the teachers’ union during a scheduled meeting and also affirmed the district’s position relating to completing the reduction in force (RIF) process and to a commitment to accommodate departing notified employees as vacancies become available...
" FB Star

Full story link: http://www.fortbendstar.com/052610/n_noredo.htm

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

FBN: FBISD Property Tax Rate Increasing Again To Service The Debt!!!

"The increase to the debt-service portion of the tax rate would be the third since the district passed the 2007 bond referendum." FBN

http://www.fortbendnow.com/2010/05/11/45560

Chron Update: http://www.ultimatefortbend.com/2010/05/fort-bend-isd-seeks-higher-tax-rate

Sunday, May 9, 2010

"RIF" Updates (RIF proposal author, Feldman, gone)

Chronicle: http://www.ultimatefortbend.com/2010/05/fort-bend-isd-urged-bring-teachers-back

FB Star: http://www.fortbendstar.com/050510/n_FBISDReduction.htm

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Friday, April 30, 2010

FBN: Online Forum Asks Is It Time For A New Superintendent?

FBISD CANDIDATE FORUM: Is It Time For A New Superintendent?
By: Jamie Mock on Thu, Apr 29, 2010FBISD Candidate Forum, News

FortBendNow.com is hosting an online candidate forum for Fort Bend Independent School District Board Of Trustee Candidates. Questions and the candidates’ answers will be published throughout the weeks leading up to the May 8 election.
The incumbents for both seats declined to seek re-election – Board President Bob Broxson, Position 3, and David Reitz, Position 7.

Two candidates are vying for Position 7 - Police Sergeant Jim Babb, a Missouri City resident, and Sugar Land resident Gerald Hawkins, a physician and medical educator. Hawkins declined to participate in the forum due to scheduling issues.

Two candidates will also face off for Broxson’s seat – Jim Rice and Clay Alumbaugh.
Readers who wish to submit questions for the candidates should e-mail them to jmock@fortbendnow.com.
Candidates’ answers are published as they are received, without any editing by FortBendNow.com.

Question:
Since he has been superintendent, Tim Jenney has led the district into continuing deficit budgets, and now teacher lay-offs. Do you think it’s time for a new superintendent?


Follow this link for the responses and community comments: http://www.fortbendnow.com/2010/04/29/45392

FBW has recommended supporting Alumbaugh & Babb this election cycle...

Friday, April 23, 2010

Campaign Finance Reports For FBISD Candidates (summaries included)-

--click on the image for a larger view--



Early voting starts Monday...Our recommendations for FBISD board are Clay Alumbaugh & J. Babb. They seem to be up on the issues and will restore sanity (hopefully) to the current spend thrift board. Make sure you vote next week!!!

Related links:

http://friendsofalumbaugh.blogspot.com/

http://babb4fbisd.wordpress.com/

http://www.ultimatefortbend.com/2010/04/candidates-quizzed-conflict-interest

Thursday, April 22, 2010

FB Star Reports FBISD Candidates Positions--see below--

See: http://www.fortbendstar.com/042110/n_localcity.htm

FBN Online Forum Continues....

See: http://www.fortbendnow.com/2010/04/22/45267

Note: Mr. Rice doesn't mention his experience as a district vendor.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Candidates Forums This Week At New Territory, Missouri City Library (Near the city hall) & Stafford Center!

Three candidates forums are coming up Tues evening at the Stafford Center from 7p-9p & Weds at the Missouri City library across the street from city hall from 6:30p to 8:00p and the New Territory forum at their clubhouse starting at 7p on Thursday evening. The MC forum will host school board candidates and city council candidates while the New Territory forum will be for FBISD board candidates only.

Please attend if you can this week. Elections are April 26th thru May 4th for early voting with election day May 8th!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

FB Star Covers Monday Controversial BOT "RIF" Session-

http://www.fortbendstar.com/041410/n_somesaved.htm

Upcoming Dates-

Date/Event

Apr. 26 Regular Board Meeting

May 8 Board Elections

May 10 Board Budget Workshop

May 10 Regular Board Meeting

May 24 Regular Board Meeting

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

MCC: Schaefer Falls Short In Nail Biter To Deseat Machine Incumbent In DAs Run-off (51% to 48%)

See: http://www.co.fort-bend.tx.us/upload/images/elections_administration/election_results/er100413_04.pdf

FB Sun update: http://www.hcnonline.com/articles/2010/04/14/fort_bend_sun/news/sws-da_runoffsb.txt

MCC: Nina Schaefer Takes Early Lead In District Attorney's Race 3,852 to 3,572!


Click the link below to follow up on the latest results...

http://www.co.fort-bend.tx.us/upload/images/elections_administration/election_results/er100413_04.pdf

FB Sun Updates Jenney/Feldman's "RIF"!


http://www.hcnonline.com/articles/2010/04/13/fort_bend_sun/news/sws_-_fbisd_rif_update_412.txt

KHOU Ch. 11 Coverage Of Packed FBISD Board Session On Teacher Cuts--Did Jenney & The Board Back Down???

http://www.khou.com/news/local/Hundreds-of-FBISD-employees-may-soon-be-out-of-work-90634694.html

http://abclocal.go.com/ktrk/story?section=news/local&id=7381820

http://www.click2houston.com/education/23134584/detail.html

Fewer FBISD employees to be cut (from the originally proposed 470+)

by Gabe Gutierrez / 11 News
Posted on April 12, 2010 at 1:22 PM
Updated yesterday at 11:48 PM
SUGAR LAND -- Fort Bend Independent School District voted Monday to lay off 52 school employees.

That number is much lower than the 275 originally listed for nonrenewal of contracts.

The new total only includes certified teaching positions and certified non-teaching professional positions.

"Those employees have been placed in positions that have become available due to vacancies, resignations and retirements," FBISD chief communications officer Mary Ann Simpson said.

But it is unclear what will happen to hundreds of other positions the district previously proposed cutting as it faces a $20 million budget deficit...

Watch comment: When will the vendor feeding end that caused this budget crisis?

Did any senior administrators come under the budget ax?


Related: http://myfortbend.net/news/education/fbisd/1313-khou-covers-fbisd-massive-cuts-due-to-budgetary-mismanagement

http://www.ultimatefortbend.com/2010/04/certified-positions-slated-cuts-down-52

Appreciation: FBW wants to thank those from the watch group that attended and spoke last night as well as provided information for this blog post. Thanks to Joe and the rest for attending and reporting!!!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

FB Herald: Reports On Jenney's "RIF"

http://www.fbherald.com/articles/2010/04/08/news/doc4bbe0cf135c32348410917.txt

FB Sun: Spouse of MC Mayoral Candidate disavows endorsement of at-large-council candidate


http://www.hcnonline.com/articles/2010/04/08/fort_bend_sun/news/sws_-_endorsement_claim_48.txt

Related: http://www.dncommercial.net/associates/burtlevine/

FBN/Revised: FBISD Candidate Proposes Written Justification For Non-Teaching Positions Paid More Than $90,000

Revised: FBISD Candidate Proposes Written Justification For Non-Teaching Positions Paid More Than $90,000
By: Jamie Mock on Thu, Apr 8, 2010News

Fort Bend Independent School District Position 7 candidate Jim Babb says he thinks the district spends an “enormous” amount of money on salaried positions that are far removed from the day-to-day education of students. To help weed out high-paying positions that are not necessary, he proposes the board require all non-teaching staff with a salary of $90,000 or more to provide written justification for their position.

http://www.fortbendnow.com/2010/04/08/45072

FB Sun: Teacher Federation Responds To "RIF"

http://www.hcnonline.com/articles/2010/04/08/fort_bend_sun/news/ssl_-ee_fed_responds_to_layoff46.txt

FBI: Report On Reduction In Force At FBISD

http://fbindependent.com/default.asp?sourceid=&smenu=1&twindow=&mad=&sdetail=2432&wpage=1&skeyword=&sidate=&ccat=&ccatm=&restate=&restatus=&reoption=&retype=&repmin=&repmax=&rebed=&rebath=&subname=&pform=&sc=2531&hn=fbindependent&he=.com

FBI: Covers Pos. 7 BOT Race-

http://fbindependent.com/default.asp?sourceid=&smenu=1&twindow=&mad=&sdetail=2431&wpage=1&skeyword=&sidate=&ccat=&ccatm=&restate=&restatus=&reoption=&retype=&repmin=&repmax=&rebed=&rebath=&subname=&pform=&sc=2531&hn=fbindependent&he=.com

FBN: Campaign Tricks Hit Missouri City Races Again!


http://www.fortbendnow.com/2010/04/08/45052

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

FB Star: Very Interesting Bev's Burner This Week On Communications With The FBISD Leadership

A call from the superintendent or blowing smoke up my skirt... A couple of months ago I was concerned when FBISD Superintendent Dr. Tim Jenney sent out a letter that discussed, among other things, evaluating alternate methods of service delivery as a way to reduce costs for the cash-strapped district.

This immediately conjured up “outsourcing,” in my mind--the political answer to every budget crisis. When politicians want to cut budgets, they like to take the services that the city, county, school district, water district, whatever have been doing for themselves for years. They preach “outsourcing” those jobs, claiming that a private company can cut costs.

Not that a private company can actually do exactly the same thing cheaper, but a private company can be owned by either a politician’s brother-in-law or major contributor, giving the decision maker preaching “outsourcing” much more access to tax funds.

And often the private company can do almost the same job cheaper because the private company hires un-documented workers who are paid less, get fewer benefits, and receive no health insurance. (Notice those preaching outsourcing also are the first to gritch about undocumented workers using the emergency room for their health care.) I’ve gotten to where I have extreme dislike for stingy people--you know, those “I’ve got mine, to hell with you” types.

When I called Supe Jenney at the time he assured me that outsourcing was not the option.

Then Superintendent Jenney called me a couple of weeks ago and told me that he had changed his mind about outsourcing and that sure enough, FBISD would be outsourcing some jobs although he hadn’t presented it to the board yet. I was overcome with self-congratulations that I had bluffed the supe into revealing his future plans to me as he told me that some 26 “mowing jobs” might be outsourced.

I was so eaten up with hubris that I forgot to ask about other jobs that might be cut. And he certainly didn’t mention that about 170 professional staff, including teachers, would be getting letters telling them they had to go.
Whine, whine.... When I called the head of the district’s communications, Mary Ann Simpson, to complain that Dr. Jenney didn’t mention one word about other jobs being cut, she pointed out the fact that a TASB salary study posted on the district’s web site for several months had recommended the reduction of up to 450 jobs.

In other words, had I looked I would have known for some time that many positions were headed for the chopping block.
If all the recommendations in the TASB study were followed, the district would save over $23 million per year.

The mailman cometh..... I received many letters this week from parents who bitterly complained that the district was increasing class size and cutting programs. I can understand their frustrations, but I would like to remind you that I have griped for years about the huge, expensively built schools we have constructed for years--temples to education. This newspaper has reminded you periodically that the school district seemed to exist for the sake of the real estate market, not the education of children. And for many years, the real estate developers have not given one red cent to the furtherance of education in Fort Bend ISD. No campus land has been donated, although a neighborhood school would enhance the development of any subdivision immeasurably.

Fort Bend ISD parents seem to be like most Texans. They are more concerned with praying in school or taking out Thomas Jefferson and putting in Phyllis Schlafly than in making sure their kids have a teacher in their classroom and making sure their classrooms don’t have 40 students.

The few parents who vote on school board members seem to be more concerned about the candidates’ religious and political affiliations than their educational outlook.

What you can do and when.... By the way, school board elections are right away so now might be a good time to familiarize yourself with the candidates.

I’ve seen equipment put in new schools that I thought, “They must be out of their minds!” The biggest advance in the 21st century, the advance that will change our lives forever and altogether is the computer, yet Fort Bend ISD is woefully lacking in teaching and developing those skills and buying equipment for each classroom. My grandson in kindergarten can work the computer better than most 6th graders in Fort Bend ISD, simply because it is not available to them.

I’ll say this for FBISD, if you want to know what is going on there and what is happening, you have only to go to their web site. They are very forthcoming about what they are doing.

Of course, you are not going to find any criticism of the district there; that is not its purpose. But all the studies and graphs and charts showing money and educational achievement are on the site. Simply google Fort Bend ISD and go from there....

Get the full article at: http://www.fortbendstar.com/Columns/burner.htm

Chron: Jim Babb Garners Teacher Federation Endorsement!

UPDATE 4-7-10: http://www.fortbendnow.com/2010/04/07/45050

See: http://www.ultimatefortbend.com/2010/04/which-fbisd-candidate-endorsed-union


Babb website: http://babb4fbisd.wordpress.com/

FBN: 470 And Counting (Total Of RIF) In FBISD Mass Firings!

See: http://www.fortbendnow.com/2010/04/07/45032

Monday, April 5, 2010

FBN: FBISD "RIF" Moving Forward...

UPDATE 4-6-10: http://www.ultimatefortbend.com/2010/04/fort-bend-isd-hiring-no-joke-either (According to this chronicle report the district is actively seeking to recruit teachers from over-seas while they "RIF" 400+ from service due to the current budget crisis and first ever financial emergency)

Click the link below for the full piece...

http://www.fortbendnow.com/2010/04/05/45002

Friday, April 2, 2010

FBISD financial crisis concerns candidates...

Update 4-2-10: http://www.ultimatefortbend.com/2010/04/fbisd-layoff-letter-no-april-fool-joke#comment-1966

FBISD financial crisis concerns candidates
April 2, 2010 6:33 am Election News wrote:
By ZEN T.C. ZHENG
HOUSTON CHRONICLE

Candidates seeking two Fort Bend ISD school board seats shared concerns about the district’s financial crisis and offered a variety of ideas to tackle the problem.

Making their appearance at a candidates’ forum held by a district teacher and worker union Tuesday night were Clay Alumbaugh and Jim Rice, who are vying for Position 3 being vacated by Bob Broxson, and Jim Babb, who is eyeing David Reitz’s Position 7. Both incumbents are not seeking re-election on May 8...

Full release: http://www.ultimatefortbend.com/2010/04/fbisd-financial-crisis-tops-candidates-concerns

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

How much is FBISD spending on senior administration???

This data is provided as public information and does not include incentive pay or bonuses from the Texas Tribune:

See this link for more: http://www.texastribune.org/library/data/government-employee-salaries/fort-bend-isd/?page=1

See related: http://www.ultimatefortbend.com/2010/03/who-earn-tripple-digit-salaries-fbisd


Stay tuned for more...

Monday, March 29, 2010

Chron: Another Jenney E-mail Makes The News Regarding Cuts--

Follow this link for more: http://www.ultimatefortbend.com/2010/03/how-many-secondary-teachers-will-fbisd-cut

AND

http://www.fortbendnow.com/2010/03/30/44845

Is the superintendent raising our taxes each year, increasing our debt and cutting services? IS HE SEEKING YET ANOTHER TAX INCREASE???

Thursday, March 25, 2010

FB Star: New reporter covers Reitz board exit after declaring financial emergency earlier this month...

http://www.fortbendstar.com/032410/n_reitz.htm

Important Meetings

Date/Event

Mar. 29 Regular Board Meeting
Apr. 2 Good Friday - Holiday
Apr. 12 Board Budget Workshop
Apr. 12 Regular Board Meeting
Apr. 26 Regular Board Meeting
May 8th BOT Elections
May 10 Board Budget Workshop
May 10 Regular Board Meeting

Friday, March 19, 2010

FB Star OP/ED: F.B.I.S.D. – A Dying District!

--We found this recent piece in the FB Star. It seems to speak volumes about misinformation coming from the district & current and exiting board members:

F.B.I.S.D. – A Dying District!

Unless you have been out of the country for the last few months, you are aware that our school district is eighteen million dollars in the red. I remember not too many years ago we were an excellent school district. That was then, and now we are going down the tubes.

How did this happen you ask? Our esteemed board president said the State of Texas was to blame. Let’s ask districts like Katy, Stafford, Lamar, Alief and many many more and see how these districts landed on their feet.

Our board president’s assessment of the problem is “hogwash.”

When I first got married , my dad told me, “son, never spend more than you make.” Our Board and superintendent missed Economics 101. This extreme spending is going to cost many innocent teachers and staff their jobs. The innocent will have to pay for what the guilty did!

What is the answer to this very serious problem? We, as concerned citizens, must weed out these bad apples. We can begin this in earnest on May 8th when we go to the polls to vote for new board members.

A New school board that cares about our kids, and a new superintendent who knows the meaning of wise spending will go a long way in healing the wound.

Thanks,
Fred Lee

Thursday, March 18, 2010

FBN Release: All should contribute to solve budget problems including administration, says Alumbaugh


FBISD Board Candidate: Administration Needs To Make Cuts Too
By: Jamie Mock on Thu, Mar 18, 2010News

Fort Bend Independent School District Position 3 candidate Clay Alumbaugh says he is running for the seat because the board needs an “experienced educator and manager” to give it some “balance” as the district struggles with its third deficit budget in a row.

Alumbaugh

Alumbaugh, a math teacher and school counselor, will face program construction manager Jim Rice (a FBISD district vendor company executive) to replace Board President Bob Broxson, who will not be running for a second term.

“After 39 years experience in the field, I believe I have what it takes to get the FBISD budget back on track after nearly 3 consecutive years of first ever record deficits,” said Alumbaugh. “The board should first be about educating our children and that can only be done if our system is not in constant financial turmoil. This may mean making some tough decisions ultimately but we can’t put this off any longer, said the candidate.”

Alumbaugh said his current concerns are the district’s deficit spending, upcoming layoffs, the decision to not consider seniority in the layoffs, the Global Science Center and the “lack of someone on the board to ask questions.”

Get the full release at: http://www.fortbendnow.com/2010/03/18/44634

Campaign site: http://friendsofalumbaugh.blogspot.com/

Chron (Metro): Budget Crisis Deepens!

Follow: http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/metropolitan/6914615.html

FB Independent update: http://fbindependent.com/default.asp?sourceid=&smenu=1&twindow=&mad=&sdetail=2385&wpage=1&skeyword=&sidate=&ccat=&ccatm=&restate=&restatus=&reoption=&retype=&repmin=&repmax=&rebed=&rebath=&subname=&pform=&sc=2531&hn=fbindependent&he=.com

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Exclusive: According To Several Reliable Sources Another Trustee Is Pulling Out Of The School Board Race!

Chron update 3-16: http://www.ultimatefortbend.com/2010/03/fbisd-board-incumbent-quits-reelection-bid

http://www.fortbendnow.com/2010/03/16/44561

FB Indep update 3-19: http://fbindependent.com/default.asp?sourceid=&smenu=1&twindow=&mad=&sdetail=2384&wpage=1&skeyword=&sidate=&ccat=&ccatm=&restate=&restatus=&reoption=&retype=&repmin=&repmax=&rebed=&rebath=&subname=&pform=&sc=2531&hn=fbindependent&he=.com

According to several strong sources, it has been reported to FBISDWatch that the current position 7 incumbent, David Reitz, will not be seeking re-election. This leaves James Babb and Gerald Hawkins still in. As many of you know the district declared a financial emergency after 3 years of consecutive record budget deficits and nearly 1.7 billion in bond debt. Ranking it in the top ten in the state for this unwanted list. This is breaking news so we will update it as it comes in.

Update: http://www.hcnonline.com/articles/2010/03/15/fort_bend_sun/news/sws_-_david_reitz_315.txt

....stay tuned for more!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Chron: Template For Job Cuts On The Table For FBISD-

Fort Bend ISD OKs blueprint for job cuts
March 9, 2010 7:39 am Zen T.C. Zheng

The Fort Bend school board Monday night voted 6-1 to pass a resolution to declare “financial exigency,” a bureaucratic term for financial emergency that calls for immediate remedies.

It came after a lengthy afternoon workshop and an extended debate during the evening business meeting.

Daniel Menendez was the only dissenter on the board, insisting on delaying making that decision to allow for thorough evaluation of the district’s plan to trim its workforce.

The resolution was drafted by David Feldman, an attorney hired by the district who told trustees that the resolution is a blueprint for personnel cuts and is necessary before any cut is made so as to reduce the chances of costly legal hearings on employee non-renewals...

Article: http://www.ultimatefortbend.com/2010/03/fbisd-okd-blueprint-job-cuts

More: http://www.fortbendnow.com/2010/03/09/44411

Also: http://www.ultimatefortbend.com/2010/03/five-vy-two-fbisd-seats

From MCC: Surprising Number Of Candidates File For Mo-City Elections

http://www.ultimatefortbend.com/2010/03/lenton-gary-files-against-longtime-mayor-owen-missouri-city

Mo City mayor to face opposition in election
March 9, 2010 6:47 am Karen Hastings:

Missouri City District B Councilwoman Cynthia Lenton-Gary filed Monday to challenge incumbent Mayor Allen Owen in what promises to be a busy May 8 City Council race.

By the 5 p.m. deadline, four candidates were signed up to vie for the open At Large Position 2 spot to be vacated by Councilman Buddy Jimerson.

Insurance executive Judith Dupre, 64; planner Yolanda P. Ford, 36; real estate developer Danny Nguyen, 43; and health care administrator Kevin Tunstall, 45, an unsuccessful candidate for the seat in 2008, will be on the Position 2 ballot.

Longtime At-Large Position 1 Councilman Jerry Wyatt, 62, also drew an opponent, Anthony Maroulis, 42, who listed his occupation as service manager. Wyatt is seeking his seventh term...

MCC: Rumor has it that only a week ago Owen and city manager Frank Simpson removed the planned ballot initiative to allow voters to decide if the city should adopt a universal homeowners exemption. Owen followed up with a media statement challenging anyone who didn't like it could run for office. It looks like many heeded his call.

Related:

http://www.ultimatefortbend.com/2010/03/five-vy-two-fbisd-seats

http://www.hcnonline.com/articles/2010/03/09/fort_bend_sun/news/sws_-_mc_candidate_filings_38.txt

http://www.hcnonline.com/articles/2010/03/09/fort_bend_sun/news/sws_-_maroulis_files_position_2.txt

http://www.fortbendnow.com/2010/03/09/44402

http://missouricitychatter.blogspot.com/2010/03/chron-shocking-number-of-last-minute.html