By unanimous Precinct Chair vote, Montgomery County GOP opposes Conroe’s $807 million proposed school bond first time in history

Reagan Reed, Vice Chairman of the Montgomery County Republican Party and Chairman of the Republican Party Steering Committee, addressed the Montgomery County Commissioners Court on February 13, 2018.

Conroe, February 7 – The Montgomery County Republican Party (MCRP) Executive Committee, composed of the elected Precinct Chairs, met on Tuesday, February 5, 2019, for a formal meeting in Conroe and unanimously passed a resolution opposing the Conroe Independent School District’s proposed $807 million bond proposal. The $807 million tax hike will appear on electoral ballots in the May 4, 2019, election.

Precinct 60 Andy Nedrow of Conroe introduced the resolution during the meeting. Precinct Chairs, as diverse in political outlook at the Party’s Treasurer John Hill Wertz, a staunch conservative, and Charlie Parada, a moderate leftist, voted in support of the resolution to oppose the Conroe ISD’s bond proposal, which places physical facilities expansion over students and teachers as priorities.

GOP Vice Chairman Reagan Reed, who presided over the meeting in the absence of the County Chairman who usually doesn’t show up for meetings, told The Golden Hammer, “”The unanimous approval by the executive committee of this resolution sends a strong message that the Montgomery County Republican Party stands firmly against the bloated $807 million Conroe ISD bond.  We stand with taxpayers against this proposal that will raise property taxes and add to district’s debt, which is already over a billion dollars. According to the Republican Party platform, we are the party of limited government, fiscal responsibility, and low taxes. By opposing CISD’s attempted tax hike, the MCRP is putting those principles into action.”

The resolution, which the MCRP adopted, read:

Whereas Conroe ISD has placed an $807 million bond on the ballot which will increase local government debt and raise taxes; and

Whereas the $807 million bond proposal constitutes $807 million, plus interest and tax increase for citizens paying property taxes within the geographic jurisdiction of the CISD; and

Whereas the Republican Party of Texas platform states in plank 144 that, “Government spending is out of control at the federal, state, and local levels, and action is needed”; and

Whereas the platform also states in plank 170 that, “We in the Republican Party of Texas believe in the principles of constitutionally limited government based on federalist principles. To this end we encourage our elected officials at all levels of government to work to reverse the current trend of expanding government and the growing tax and debt burdens this places on ‘We the People’”; and

Whereas CISD’s spending is out of control, with the latest data from the Texas Comptroller’s website showing that Conroe ISD is already $1,136,590,000  in debt, which adds up to over $19,000 of debt per student; and

Whereas the bond would increase CISD’s property tax rate one cent per $100 valuation in the first year of the bond and three cents per $100 valuation over the life of the bond, despite the fact that we are taxed enough already; and

Whereas most of the bond money will not go towards building new schools, but will go towards waste, unnecessary projects, and short term projects that should be funded in the regular budget instead of using bond debt; and

Whereas the CISD bond election was scheduled as an off year, May election, when turnout is low, while the RPT platform in plank 176 calls for bond elections to be held on the November General Election Day when turnout is higher so more voters can have a say; and

Whereas the CISD bond is neither conservative nor fiscally responsible, and is not in line with the principles of the Republican Party; and

Therefore, be it resolved that the Montgomery County Republican Party opposes the $807 million Conroe ISD bond, and urges voters to vote against it in the upcoming May 4th election.

Conservative Republican activist Kelli Cook, who is the MCRP’s Finance Committee Chair, remarked, “I am very proud of the Montgomery County Executive Committee in taking a stand for the taxpayers of this county. Conroe ISD is $1.36 Billion dollars in debt and they want to go on a spending spree buying artificial turf, iPads and a robot arena when people are looking for tax relief. Someone needs to be the grown-up and cut up the credit cards.”

“Conroe ISD is $1.36 Billion dollars in debt and they want to go on a spending spree buying artificial turf, iPads and a robot arena, when people are looking for tax relief. Someone needs to be the grown up and cut up the credit cards.” – – Kelli Cook, MCRP Finance Chair.

MCRP Steering Committee member and Precinct Chairman of Oak Ridge North Jon Bouche said, “I was very pleased to see so many members of the County Executive Committee take a stand against the profligate spending of the CISD. I am hopeful that we can find a balance of meeting the needs of our schools and fiscal responsibility.”

With the bylaws changes, which conservative grassroots Republicans passed in June, 2018, the Montgomery County Republican Party stands in a far better position to conduct an organized campaign to defeat the $807 million tax hike proposal. The Party seems better organized than ever previously, as its success in the 2018 General Election campaign revealed.

Conroe ISD has failed to provide any metrics for improvements in student education or for the circumstances of teachers from the $807 million tax hike. Rather, the district has only provided information about the massive expenditures, i.e., costs anticipated. Clearly, the administration of Conroe ISD failed to conduct a full cost-benefit analysis of the proposed bond issue, as it excluded any analysis of benefits.

In other business, MCRP Treasurer John Hill Wertz reported that the Party has raised $13,000 for its Annual Golf Tournament.

GOP Precinct Chairman Marcus Wooldridge raised several questions about the funds Wally Wilkerson is hoarding in defiance from a directive from the Republican Party of Texas that Wilkerson turn those accounts over the Wertz, the elected Party Treasurer.

State Republican Executive Committeewoman Allison Winter provided a report about the meetings and planning by the State Republican Party.

The Committee elected one new Precinct Chair and also voted to designative Kelli Cook as Finance Committee Chair.

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