Conroe, May 2 – It’s only two (2 = 1 + 1) days away from Conroe Independent School District’s (CISD) voter referendum on its proposed $807 million bond and tax hike, but the numbers just don’t add to total what the money-hungry CISD bureaucracy wants. CISD has presented a dizzying array of numbers reminiscent of one’s course in differential game theory in college.
CISD has had to admit during the course of its pro-bond-advocacy campaign that it uses all sources of multipliers to inflate the numbers in the bond. The most famous number in the bond, of course, is $21,562.50, which recurs more than 117 times and also appears as iterations with the decimal moved to the left or right, such as $215,625.00 or $2,156.25, which also appear many times. As CISD Superintendent Curtis Null ultimately had to admit, those unusual numbers recur, because CISD has inflated all of its estimates by 43.75% (or 1.4375) in order to ensure that lawyers, engineers, and architects get paid exorbitant fees for every single construction project or technology improvement contained within the bond package.
Ultimately, CISD had to admit – in writing – that the school district failed to obtain any estimates, bids, proposals, takeoffs, contracts, or data to support the 50 pages of individual line items on a spreadsheet supposedly representing every one of the bond projects CISD hopes to do.
As Oak Ridge North City Councilman Alex Jones said, CISD “threw a spitball against the wall to get its cost estimates” for the bond. CISD confirmed that there is literally no backup information or documentation whatsoever to support anything within the bond.
Sadly, the numbers still don’t add to what they say they do.
Here’s an example involving the proposed repairs and maintenance work at Oak Ridge High School and its 9th Grade Campus, which CISD has included within the bond. CISD has listed those repairs as costing the taxpayers “$47,640,640.00,” an interesting number. Sadly, it’s entirely fake.
Going to the 50-page spreadsheet which supposedly gives the line item estimates for the bond, the following are all of the projects for Oak Ridge High School and its 9th Grade Campus:
Major overhaul – include HVAC. $40,000,000
Camera conversion – analog to IP. $152,000
Fire alarm, no voice activation. $420,000
Install new data cabling to replace classroom technology panels. $503,125
Install projectors in all classrooms (78 classrooms). $280,312.50
Provide miscellaneous repairs at roof. $24,000
Remove and replace exterior building waterproofing sealants throughout entire facility. Including all wall control joints, through wall penetrations around all doors and windows and joints between building and paving. $43,125
Remove and replace north central loading dock and porch. $143,750
Remove classroom technology panels. $53,906.75
Replace existing metal roof system. $242,937.50
Replace Plexiglas glazing at storefront door//window system near Boys’ C-119; and four (4) Plexiglas panels at cafeteria storefront and door/window storefront system. $6,468.75
Structural coat/restripe track. $87,500
Wet glaze seal all deteriorated and damaged wind glazing gaskets. $21,562.50 (our favorite number!!!)
Install 24/7 exhaust in IDF (5’ x 6’). $21,562.50 (our favorite number!!!)
Camera conversion – analog to IP. $152,000
Remove and replace exterior building waterproofing sealants throughout entire facility. $28,750
Replace and expand cold storage. Convert existing cooler-freezer to cooler only and add outdoor freezer. $217,651.88
Replace ceiling tiles throughout kitchen. $45,281.25
Wet glaze seal all deterioriated and damaged window glazing gaskets. $14,375
And the grand total is…drum roll…further drum roll…$42,474,908.60.
There are many problems with this portion of the proposed bond’s cost. First, $42,474,908.60 is $5,165,734.40 less than the amount included in the actual bond package, $47,640,640.00.
More succinctly, CISD has inflated the bond by at least another $5,165,734.40.
The worst aspect of all, however, is the very first number in the calculation at the top of CISD’s proposed projects, $40,000,000.00 for “Major overhaul – include HVAC.” Despite all of the unusual numbers in CISD’s Oak Ridge High School projects, such as the supposed total of $47,640,640.00, a full 94.2% of the total numbers actually shown in the line-by-line cost estimates begin with an even number of $40,000,000.00 for the complex building structure which is Oak Ridge High School.
Could you imagine if you asked an architect to give you a precise cost estimate for the construction of your new home, the architect billed you many thousand dollars to prepare a calculation, you waited several weeks for the answer, and then the architect sent you one slip of paper with the number, $1,000,000.00 as his or her cost estimate. You’d know that your architect just scammed you.
CISD wants to scam all of us.