RISD Quarter-Billion Dollar Bond Election – Early Voting Begins Monday 10/19/2015

School Facts

Rockwall ISD ranks number 81 in student body size.

Rockwall ISD ranks 89 percentile for student achievement.

Rockwall ISD does not merit “Post Secondary Distinction”, according to the Texas Education Agency.

House Bill 5 (83rd Texas Legislature, 2013) requires that additional postsecondary readiness indicators are evaluated for state accountability and distinction designations beginning with the 2013-14 school year.

I notice that the Los Fresnos ISD does merit “Post Secondary Distinction”. What’s so significant about the Los Fresnos school district? According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the racial makeup of the city of Rockwall is 72.7% white to 16.6% Hispanic and the city of Los Fresnos is 11.1% white and 88.2% Hispanic. Los Fresnos, a small town just north of Brownsville is not the wealthiest town in Texas by any means, but its school district enjoys a “Post Secondary Distinction” absent from Rockwall ISD. Reference: TEA Dept. of Assessment and Accountability year ending 2014

Superintendent Jeff Bailey last weekend boasted “We’re number 77”, according to some unspecified ranking system. I remember Avis Car Rental boasting, “We’re number two, but we try harder.” Avis’ boast was reasonable. So, our superintendent boasts that we rank 77th in Texas?

Rockwall ISD total disbursements per student for 2014-2015 school year was $9,767 [Ref: TEA Report] while Los Fresnos disbursements were $10,599 per student [Ref: TEA Report]. An interesting factor is a difference in debt service between Rockwall and Los Fresnos. Rockwall debt service per student is right now almost FOUR TIMES that of Los Fresnos.

Rockwall ISD Disbursements 2014-2015 School Year
Rockwall ISD Disbursements 2014-2015 School Year

 

Los Fresnos ISD Disbursements 2014-2015 School Year
Los Fresnos ISD Disbursements 2014-2015 School Year

On the bright side of things, if a simple majority Rockwall ISD voters approve this quarter-billion-dollar bond proposition, perhaps our superintendent will be able to boast, “We’re number ONE! We’re number ONE!”

One friend, Tom Galli, whose budget skills I greatly respect pegs cost of this bond election over the life of the bond program in excess of $726,000,000 (three-quarter billion dollars). Another friend, Professor Paolucci, who has made his fortune through an understanding of finance, banking, and accounting, says his calculations project a $1,200,000,000 (one billion, 200 million dollars) lifetime cost to Rockwall ISD taxpayers.

Assumptions

  • There will be no economic collapse (despite history and expert outlooks)
  • The US dollar will forever be the world’s reserve currency (despite other countries moving toward a different reserve currency)
  • No inflation and no deflation (despite the Fed’s inability to influence the economy one way or another)
  • Property values will continue to rise (despite housing reports of record foreclosures across America, a harbinger of the next housing crisis)
  • No mortgage foreclosures (despite housing reports of record foreclosures across America, a harbinger of the next housing crisis)

This is the second Rockwall ISD bond election in which we the taxpayers do not have choices. Take-it-or-leave-it is not a choice. Choices inherently involve two or more.

I will be voting AGAINST (EN CONTRA) this bond proposal. Our Rockwall ISD trustees failed to properly represent the people who put them in office. Let’s demand this bond election come back next year with accountability and choices.

Leaving you on an optimistic note, I join with Superintendent Bailey to chant, “We’re number 77! We’re number 77! We’re number 77!” Gosh! Just think, in a couple years perhaps we can boast “We’re number 125! We’re number 125! We’re number 125!” as we lay off teachers and staff to balance the budget. Got to pay off those bonds, don’t you know.

John White
Rockwall, Texas

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