Children’s Hope PAC gears up to oppose Conroe ISD’s $676 million bond package, reorganizes

Children’s Hope PAC gears up to oppose Conroe ISD’s $676 million bond package, reorganizes

Image: The Children’s Hope PAC announced late Sunday, August 25, 2019, that the organization’s Board voted to oppose the Conroe Independent School District’s $676 million bond package.

Conroe, August 26 – The Children’s Hope PAC, the organization which led the opposition to the Conroe Independent School District’s (CISD) $807 million bond election which voters rejected on May 4, 2019, has announced it will oppose CISD’s $676 million bond package which CISD has set for voter referendum on November 5, 2019. The PAC, however, clarified that it would have supported a $322 million bond package very similar to the one which CISD Board of Trustees member Dale Inman proposed on January 15, 2019, but which the CISD Board refused even to discuss. Inman boycotted the CISD Board meeting on August 13 to vote on the $676 million bond package, because the school district had rushed through the new $676 million bond package without appropriate facilities planning or obtaining any real cost estimates, The Golden Hammer has confirmed.

The $676 million bond package includes a larger tax rate increase of 4.5 cents than did the $807 million bond package (3 cents), but the CISD Board already implemented the tax increase as a part of its FY 2019-20 Budget. Taxpayers will have the opportunity to turn the tax rate increase back, if they vote “NO” on the bond on November 5, 2019, and then vote to remove a majority of the present Board in the November, 2020, General Election.

The $676 million bond package includes a larger tax rate increase of 4.5 cents than did the $807 million bond package (3 cents), but the CISD Board already implemented the tax increase as a part of its FY 2019-20 Budget. Taxpayers will have the opportunity to turn the tax rate increase back, if they vote “NO” on the bond on November 5, 2019, and then vote to remove a majority of the present Board in the November, 2020, General Election.

Kelli Cook, Spokesperson for the Children’s Hope PAC, told The Golden Hammer, “We’ve reorganized our Board. We’ve brought in Georgette Whatley, a former Conroe ISD schoolteacher as our Treasurer. We’ve eliminated the position of PAC Chairman in order to disperse authority among our grassroots volunteer activists similar to the power dispersement which worked so well for the Montgomery County Republican Party in the 2018 General Election.” Cook was the Co-Chair of the Montgomery County Victory 2018 Steering Committee.

When confronted with the allegation that Children’s Hope PAC’s Board consists of individuals who live outside of CISD, Cook responded, “A majority of our Board and the vast majority of our contributors live inside of CISD’s boundaries. Our campaign contributions have been approximately 98% from inside of the school district in contrast to CISD’s campaign contributions which almost entirely came from outside vendors and from improper use of tax dollars to fund the pro-bond campaign.”

“If CISD had proposed a reasonable bond package, Children’s Hope PAC would not have opposed it. The $676 million bond package, however, is basically the same as the one we defeated in May, except they moved some of the spending to come from excess funds they’ve already taxed the voters,” Cook explained. “Voters need to reject the November 5 bond package, including both propositions.” CISD’s $676 million bond package includes a $653 million proposition for numerous items as well as $23 million proposition for Turf.

Cook clarified, “We also have grave concerns about CISD’s failure to obtain real cost estimates for the entire bond package. That’s another reason voters should reject the entire package.”

Children’s Hope PAC would support a bond package of $322 million, which would consist of the following:

  • Oak Ridge High School CTE Conversion, $10,515,656.39;
  • Elementary School #45 – Caney Creek Feeder, $35,078,792.00;
  • Elementary School #46 – Conroe Feeder, $37,183,519.52;
  • Elementary School #47 – Grand Oaks Feeder, $39,414,530.69;
  • New Junior High School – Caney Creek Feeder, $80,629,536.00;
  • TW College Park High School – 10 Classroom Addition, $9,864,000.00;
  • TW High School Robotics Lab and Science Classrooms Addition, $11,192,000.00;
  • Caney Creek High School Capacity and Program Upgrades, $8,936,000.00;
  • Conroe High School 9th Grade Campus – Classroom Addition, $11,385,000.00;
  • York Junior High Addition, $15,500,000.00;
  • Safety & Security, $44,472,000.00;
  • Portable Upgrades and Finishes, $17,835,807.88.

TOTAL = $322,006,842.48.

“We do not support the use of bond money to support CISD’s planned elementary school at the Artavia subdivision, because a school district shouldn’t be in the business of promoting a real estate developer’s sale of land,” Cook added.

When asked whether the PAC anticipates a larger and more organized campaign than in the May election, Cook answered, “We’re going to do some things differently. We have one member who has no financial stake in the outcome of the bond election but who feels very strongly that the bond is unethical. He’s told us he’ll contribute as much as it takes to defeat the bond. There are many others who have indicated they’ll contribute financially to defeat this bond. We also seem to have a lot more opposition to this bond package than we did at the beginning of the May 4 one, because the public recognizes how hastily CISD’s administration has tried to shove this package down our throats. It appears they are trying to jam the bond through before the new bond transparency bill takes effect that would force CISD to print on the ballot more information such as principal and interest in the almost 2 BILLION dollars of debt. Informed voters make better decisions. It’s time to bring reform to CISD, so the children can count on strong educational outcomes and so the taxpayers get treated fairly too.”

“We also seem to have a lot more opposition to this bond package than we did at the beginning of the May 4 one, because the public recognizes how hastily CISD’s administration has tried to shove this package down our throats. It appears they are trying to jam the bond through before the new bond transparency bill takes effect that would force CISD to print on the ballot more information such as principal and interest in the almost 2 BILLION dollars of debt. Informed voters make better decisions. It’s time to bring reform to CISD, so the children can count on strong educational outcomes and so the taxpayers get treated fairly too.” – – Kelli Cook, Children’s Hope PAC.

 

 

 

 

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