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, January 28, 2011

Drop In Number Of Higher Performing FBISD Schools Noted By NCEA (Only 10 reported in 2010 vs. 21 in 2009)

See: http://www.fortbendnow.com/2011/01/28/50134

The report does not speculate as to why the numbers dropped so significantly from the '09 numbers...

Thursday, January 27, 2011

FB Star Covers Apparent End Of GSTC Project

After nearly 2 years of records requests, an ignored order from the Texas AGs office (originally pursued by this watch group), much brow beating by many on the current school board, 2 petitions, etc. the district changes direction on the $30 million dollar "GSTC" project:




Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Friday, January 21, 2011

FBN: FBISD Board Scraps Plan For Global Science Center

Updated FB/Sugar Land Sun: http://www.yourhoustonnews.com/sugar_land/news/article_7ed20c3a-d35f-5ec6-85e1-9063e52cc442.html

FBISD Board Scraps Plan For Global Science Center
By: Jamie Mock on Fri, Jan 21, 2011News

Citing “economic challenges” and several other concerns, the Fort Bend Independent School District Board of Trustees has scraped the controversial plans to build a Global Science and Technology Center.

The plans were unveiled in March of 2009 during a presentation that ended with a video by Houston’s PBK Architects showing a 3-D rendering of the “Global Center for Science and Technology” while rock music blared in the FBISD board room.
Administrators offered the science center as a method of “bridging the divide between theory and practice.”
The proposal stirred up controversy in the community, with residents expressing concerns over possible tax increases, the ability of students to actually visit the facility and transportation issues. Many said the center would be a duplicate of the new Houston Museum of Natural Science location in Sugar Land.

District officials now say the goal is to develop a plan that “utilizes technology to deliver daily innovative science content to students through lessons at their home campus site.”

“In response to the economic challenges the district continues to experience and concerns related to the cost of maintenance and utilities for the facility, too little access by students, and transportation expenses, the Board of Trustees chose the new direction for science instruction by adopting a Board/Superintendent goal to make the most of the principles of the proposed science and technology center via technology and distance learning,” said district officials in a statement.
Officials said that by not building the facility, which was projected to cost $25 million and cost at least $500,000 a year to operate, not including transportation, the district will be able to redirect some bond interest money for “more pressing” capital improvement projects.

Officials also said eliminating the plan and using funds elsewhere will mean the district will not hold a bond referendum next November.

Full source: http://www.fortbendnow.com/2011/01/21/50041

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Interesting Column This Week In FB Star

http://www.fortbendstar.com/Columns/burner.htm (get the full piece)

Related: http://www.fortbendstar.com/011911/n_FBISDSuperintendent.htm

The buck stops there...and there....and there.....I’ve probably written right here in this space that I’ve never witnessed a superintendent so universally reviled than Dr. Tim Jenney. I really haven’t been able to put my finger on exactly why he has failed to connect to a lot of people in the community. Of course, I’ve had little interaction with him personally so I don’t know if he is charming, grouchy, smart, dull, knowledgeable, sexy or whatever.
But I can state with certainty that we all need to be careful who we blame.

I made the mistake years ago in blaming a superintendent when actually he didn’t make a move that wasn’t approved by the board of trustees. In fact, all superintendent’s moves are approved by a board of trustees.

You probably were surprised when you heard that even though Fort Bend ISD has a budget shortfall of $20 million, has laid off several hundred teachers, cut several programs, and is threatening to close several schools, its board of trustees granted the superintendent an extension contract this past week.

And here’s what should really tick you off. They tried to say that in these difficult economic times they had reached an agreement with Dr. Jenney for a REDUCTION in his salary.

Two birds in the hand....Folks, even though I didn’t approve of his actions, I feel just like ol’ Joe Wilson did when he stood up and told the president during his state address, “You lie!”

Because that is exactly what they did. Here’s how it rolled out: The board claimed that Dr. Jenney took a $34,000 reduction in his approximately $350,000 annual salary which includes bonuses, annuities, expenses and retirement. What the board actually did was to take $34,000 that was supposed to be awarded to Dr. Jenney in a performance bonus (more about that later) and guaranteed it to him next year without the performance strings attached to be deposited into his retirement fund.
Let me state that again. They guaranteed him a tax-reduced payment of $34,000 next year that if they had paid this year, he would have had some performance goals to reach.

Then to kick a little sand in the taxpayers’ faces, they extended his contract for five more years.
About the performance bonus: it is based of things any decent superintendent should do. For example, he gets an extra $2,000 per year if he formally visits all 70 school sites. He also gets about $1,000 if he meets with department and grade level chairs at least three times per year, and another $1,500 to meet with a random group of new teachers three times per year.
And so it goes - $6,000 for conducting a thorough analysis of teacher absenteeism and creating a marketing campaign to improve attendance. And another $5,000 for improving all aspects of the Transportation Department’s fuel dispensing. (Heck, as I’ve said before, I thought just hiring a competent transportation director would be worth its weight in gold since according to complaints I have had for years, that has been severely lacking for some time.)

In any event, the $34,000 annuity which is supposed to be performance based is actually based on a performance that any superintendent should execute. Specifically, these goals are simply activities, (visit, write, file) and not performance.
He is also eligible for another $34,000 salary if he meets certain target gains. However, these target gains are achievements that a majority of school districts are expected to reach. Most districts in the Houston area will exceed them. In fact, this bonus will be eliminated altogether because the state is changing its academic ratings in the next year, so Dr. Jenney would have had to renegotiated his salary anyway. And the academic portion of his bonus is exactly what is being reduced or deferred in 2012 but will be reinstated in 2013, according to board president Sonal Bhuchar (who, by the way, I sternly warned that “it’s not nice to lie to Bev Carter”). When something is going to be reinstated in future years, that is a deferrable in my book.

Now I don’t know if you are riled up by now, but I sure am because the board went into executive session and didn’t emerge to vote on the new contract until every last audience member or reporter was gone. They even peeked out a couple of times to check.

Now mind you, they still had the nerve to send out a press release that called this a REDUCTION instead of a DEFERRAL.Smoke and mirrors, smoke and mirrors.

There is one hopeful note. Trustee Jim Babb did not vote for the new contract. However, I have one thing to say to the following trustees (an oxymoron) Sonal Bhuchar, Susan Hohnbaum, Daniel Menendez, Laurie Caldwell, Marilyn Glover, and Jim Rice...liar, liar, pants on fire!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Upcoming Meetings-


Jan. 17 Martin L. King Day - Holiday

Jan. 20 Vendor Expo

Jan. 24 Budget Workshop

Jan. 24 School Board Meeting

Feb. 14 AEIS Public Hearing 5 p.m

Feb. 14 School Board Meeting

Feb. 21 President's Day - Holiday

Thursday, January 13, 2011

FBN: More Disinformation Coming Out Of The District Regarding Superintendents New Extended Contract (District still not complying with TPIA Request)


"Fort Bend Now requested the contract after learning that the FBISD Board of Trustees Monday night extended Jenney’s contract for five years, with amendments. Fort Bend Now wanted to publish the details of the contract, including details on what the district is calling a “reduction in compensation” for Jenney, but what others have said is actually a deferment of payment." FBN

Related Chron: http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/metropolitan/7378164.html

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

FBN: One Board Member Votes Against Extending Superintendents Contract

See: http://www.fortbendnow.com/2011/01/11/49869

"Fort Bend Now has submitted an open records request to the district to view the contract, including the amendments. When the contract is made available, Fort Bend Now will publish the details." FBN

FBW comment: Apparently the publically announced cut by the district to the superintendents contract is a misleading statement based on bonus monies being included now as part of his regular pay. This makes the money guaranteed in the new year of the contract if verified. FBN has requested a copy of his contract.

Former State Representative for TX HD 27 Sends Appreciation Note To Community Supporters--

Chron: FBISD Proposed School Closings Hot Topic!


Sunday, January 9, 2011

As Bond-Debt Election Time Approaches: See this George Scott Report On An Often Used Strategy In Selling The Latest & Greatest



--Didn't this tactic sound familiar? Perhaps because a similar effort was tried here in FBISD a few months ago. Does anyone remember the "Texas Projection Measure" (our magic solution to low tests scores)?

We will update this as the need arises!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

FBN: Behind The Scenes Of School Board Campaigns (or how does the superintendent always get his board)--follow the link below for more--


(exert)...I agree that the community needs to know that Board members are able to work together; however, the community also wants to see respectful debate, discussion and occasional dissenting votes.

As a presidential candidate once said, “If we both (all) agree on everything, then only one of us is doing the thinking.” Basically, we can disagree and still be agreeable. The community needs to know that their School Board is acting as a system of “checks and balances” and that any superintendent is not just being given “carte blanche” to do whatever he or she wants.

Now for the irony I promised. The same anonymous friend (mentioned earlier) advised me that he had recently been contacted by a prominent member of the current Board, who attempted to recruit or encourage him to become a candidate in the upcoming BOT election, thus fueling speculation that there may be an open seat, should an incumbent decide not to seek re-election. The call was received prior to the holidays. In any campaign, such advance notice provides a significant advantage to the forewarned candidate.

Such strategies are not unique to FBISD. During recent training, we learned of another Texas school district that has a tradition of the retiring incumbent resigning his seat in mid-term, so that a preferred replacement could be selected, giving the appointee a tremendous advantage in the upcoming election.

It will be nice to see a day when such strategies are no longer employed and the average citizen had just as even a chance of winning as any other candidate...



Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Good News, According To One Current Trustee

This has been cut/pasted from current FBISD board member Jim Babb's facebook website:

"Jim Babb For FBISD: To all who have been concerned about the possibility of FBISD building a Global Science & Technology Center structure (GSTC); I have good news. Although I do not speak for the Board and am not at liberty to reveal details at this time, it will NOT be built without another public Board vote, mandating its construction. AND I don't see that happening."


Nothing was mentioned about the $20-30 million dollars the superintendent was setting aside for this project or whether or not it would be released for use on other much needed campus based projects. No original source is mentioned either in the release and the public should be concerned about the other BOT members who have supported this spending project during several budget short-falls, severe RIFs and increased debt but for now this is good news!


Closed meetings being used to evaluate criteria and assessment of superintendent-


Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year! --See District Calendar Below--


Jan. 10 School Board Meeting
Jan. 17 Martin L. King Day - Holiday
Jan. 24 Budget Workshop
Jan. 24 School Board Meeting
Feb. 21 President's Day - Holiday
Feb. 26 Education Foundation Gala