Residents send a clear message to Spring ISD
Spring ISD residents gave three bond propositions a big, fat NO last weekend:
Spring superintendent Ralph Draper, who started work at the district only four days before the election, said the message voters sent the school district is loud and clear.
"This bond election, at this time, was not the way they wanted to go," Draper said. "What we have to do is get everyone back to the table, including those who may not have been at the table before, to build broad-based community support for a plan that will meet the district's and students' needs.
Members of the grassroots Homeowners Against Spring ISD Bond Propositions Inc. said they turned out against the three propositions because the Spring school district is not spending existing budget money wisely. Another round of bond debt would send the district's tax rate through the roof, they said.
"I think people turned out in large numbers against the propositions for two reasons," said Tom Matthews, a Northgate Forest subdivision resident and spokesman for the opposition group. "First was the hot-button issue. The propositions included things people just didn't think were right, including the natatorium, computers and new auditorium. The second was a pocketbook issue. The district is going to have to do things to control spending before voters will agree to a tax increase."
Matthews said the group is not opposed to building schools to house students, but members want to see financial reform on the district level before they support future bond issues.
Dr. Bert Williams, an opposition group member, said Homeowners Against Spring ISD Bond Propositions Inc. will not disappear now that the election is over.
"Our next move is to run a slate of officers against the existing school board members in the next election," Williams said. "We would like to see people with a fresh perspective on the board — people who are businessmen and can read spreadsheets."
More and more property owners are questioning these bond elections and for good reason. We have poured hundreds of millions of dollars into school districts with sometimes questionable returns. School district administrators and school boards should start cutting layers of repetitive bureaucracy (translation: too many administrators and staff), quit building fancy shmancy buildings and stadiums, control employee benefits, and, most importantly, focus money on the direct education of students with accountable results.