Thomas Paine, Guest Reporter to The Golden Hammer
The chart above shows that, without the current bond proposal passing, Conroe Independent School District (CISD) will have to raise taxes at least 3 cents to service current debt. So the new bond could raise taxes beyond that by another 3 to 4 cents which no one is reporting.
Currently, CISD is pulling $5,000,000.00 from general revenue to subsidize the Debt Service fund, because the fund balance has dropped to a very low level. (5 years ago I examined the issue when the fund balance was over $89 million, before the last bond passed, and how the bond required a tax increase, and they didn’t want to solve the problem, because kicking the can down the road is easier.)
CISD financials are the most manipulated in school district accounting I’ve ever seen. They constantly year after year project a deficit in current budgets and future proposals, so the district holds on to its massive surpluses instead of investing them into maintenance and capital expenditures. Then they turn that deficit actually into an 8-digit surplus. The district used to claim the deficit was a result of “recapture,” until it was revealed that CISD has never paid recapture to the state.
In the image you see, they project a large deficit in the General Fund over the next few years. Keep that image, because when they do the budget later this year those numbers will change with the small surplus this year turning into a much larger one, and the deficit amount will be reduced. They accomplish this magic by manipulating the very confusing and difficult funding formulas that the state pays on. By underestimating daily average attendance, they are able to project a deficit, but in reality the WADA (weighted average daily attendance) is higher and the state will pay more than CISD projects.
If you recall CISD swapped 2 cents out of its debt service tax rate two years ago and placed that into their Maintenance & Operations tax rate. This swap should have paid for the maintenance issues contained in the bond, but CISD chose to allocate what was debt service and now dedicated to maintenance for pay increases across the board.
It’s all part of the financial manipulations – and lies – the CISD puts out to the public.
Thomas Paine is the nom de plume of a high level official in our community. He follows a rich tradition of writing under that particular name both in Colonial America and in Montgomery County.