Image: With expenditures on an airsoft range, turf, dance halls, quarter million dollar covered batting cages, and robot play fields in the proposed $807 million bond (tax hike) package, Conroe Independent School District schools have begun a rush towards the academic credentials of Chuck E Cheese restaurants, with taxpayers footing the tab for all of it, if voters approve the May 4 bond election.
Conroe, March 14 – Many students graduating from Conroe Independent School District (CISD) must take remedial reading courses in junior colleges, such as Lone Star College, before they have any opportunity to take a regular college curriculum. Nevertheless, CISD’s $807 million bond package has devoted $0.00 to educational outcomes, while spending a fortune on turf for sports and band practice fields, as well as dance floors with 4,500 mirrors each, raising the question whether the CISD administrative bureaucracy is building theme parks rather than schools.
The discovery of CISD’s intention to spend $425,000 on an “air soft range” as well as a courtroom for law enforcement courses makes clear that CISD has focused on amusement parks and expensive toys in place of educational outcomes.
Here’s a screen shot of a portion of the projects CISD has included for Conroe High School as a part of the $807 million bond package from CISD’s bond advocacy website:
The following are projects, which CISD intends to use tax dollars to construct at Conroe High School:
- $425,000.00 for an “airsoft range” and courtroom with law enforcement lab;
- $1,600,000.00 for “turf conversion” meaning replacing natural grass with turf, which has known carcinogenic components;
- $210,000.00 for a covered batting cage for softball;
- $120,000.00 for deep sinks in the art rooms;
- $190,000.00 for “construction trades” whatever that means with respect to a capital project within a bond package;
- $80,000.00 for a “Relay elevator” which is “outdated and has issues”;
- $6,000,000.00 for “robotics lab and play field” with “play field” meaning a field on which the robots may play.
That’s $8,625,000.00 for the CISD amusement park.
The Golden Hammer, Montgomery County’s leading daily newspaper, has confirmed that the airsoft range has nothing whatsoever to do with the CISD Police Department. In fact, law enforcement officers do not use “airsoft” weapons for training, according to three local law enforcement officers who discussed airsoft weapons with this newspaper.
What’s amazing about the bond package’s inclusion of an “airsoft range” is that CISD’s Student Handbook specifically prohibits the use of such weapons on CISD facilities:
“Students shall not possess or use:
- A ‘look-alike’ weapon that is intended to be used as a weapon or could reasonably be perceived as a weapon;
- An air gun or BB gun…”
What is an airsoft gun? According to the Wikipedia encyclopedia,
“Airsoft guns are replica weapons used in airsoft sports. They are a special type of very low-power smoothbore air guns designed to shoot non-metallic spherical projectiles often colloquially (and incorrectly) referred to as ‘BBs’ which are typically made of (but not limited to) plastic or biodegradable resin materials.”
Airsoft gun projectiles travel at a velocity between 65 to 700 feet per second. They will break the skin at 300 feet per second. Safety experts recommend the wearing of plastic masks to protect the eyes and teeth from airsoft projectile strikes.
Unfortunately, “pumping” is quite common at airsoft ranges where someone fires approximately twenty or more airsoft rounds at one person to force them to run away or submit in pain. There have been only five (5) reported instances where police officers shot and killed someone in possession of an airsoft gun after confusing the weapons with a real gun.
Rather than focusing expenditures on reading or mathematics skills, CISD has turned its focus to airsoft ranges, art sinks, ‘bot fields, softball cages, and turf zones. The expenditures on Conroe High School sound more like an investment in a Chuck E Cheese restaurant than a school.
The median home value in Montgomery County, according to the United States Census Bureau is $206,400. One must seriously question how far out of touch CISD Superintendent Curtis Null, whose annual salary is more than $330,000.00, and the CISD administration are, in order to spend more than the median value of a home on an airsoft range.
Then, of course, Null is a licensed massage therapist. Will the Superintendent implement a new spending program – robotic massage “laboratories” – to teach CISD students the craft which propelled him to the top of the educational bureaucracy?