Editorial: “Jack the Sticker” nails the issue in Conroe ISD’s $677.3 Million “Zombie” Bond referendum: CISD must move back to education as goal

Kelli Cook, Publisher, The Golden Hammer

“Jack the Sticker” has nailed the core issue in the Conroe Independent School District’s (CISD) $677.3 Million “Zombie” Bond referendum set for a vote on November 5, 2019, with Early Voting beginning a week from day on October 21. CISD has shifted its focus away from educational outcomes and to manipulating voters into sending as much money its way as it can grab in order to build an empire.

Yesterday, this newspaper reported that CISD spent $50,000 of funds intended for education just to buy approximately 20,000 political signs to place on school campuses to advocate for the bond. Please see “Conroe ISD Spent $50,000 Of Funds Intended For Education On Political Signs For $677.3 Million Bond, Tries To Cover Up, While ‘Jack The Sticker’ Protests,” The Golden Hammer, October 13, 2019.

A protester or group of protesters under the name of “Jack the Sticker” has (or have) challenged CISD’s actions with stickers on many of the signs which say, “Why is CISD Wasting $$? We LOVE [heart symbol] Books.  Read.Gov.” Those stickers truly are the core issue in the campaign against CISD’s terrible bond package.

In every way, CISD is wasting money. It’s spending hundreds of thousands of tax dollars earmarked for public education on political advocacy. It’s allowed a school district website to become a political campaign website. It’s using parents’ emergency telephone numbers to text political advocacy in favor of the bond.

In every way, CISD is wasting money. The bond package is a fiction. CISD has admitted that it has gotten no real cost estimates for any of the bond projects. Even the “safety and security” portion of the proposed bond is $44 million, but CISD has specific spending projects which only total $14 million. CISD has just added in fluff of $6 million per year for the next 5 years for “safety and security.”

The bond package still includes $425,000 for an air soft gun range, $204,000 for wooden dance floors with 4500 mirrors each, over $200,000 on curtains for elementary school stages, $39.4 million on the most expensive elementary school in CISD history which the school district proposes to build in a subdivision under development without one single home in it but from which a Las Vegas casino magnate intends to profit, and $206 million in profits for lawyers, engineers, and contractors

Every single “estimate” in the bond package is pulled from the thin air. Although CISD is hiding the backup documents during this bond referendum, the crazy fake estimates, including the recurring number $21,562.50, are still within the bond package.

“Jack the Sticker” is right. CISD’s Superintendent Curtis Null has entirely lost his way. He’s focused on money. Instead, he should be focused on educational outcomes, especially for CISD’s schools which are failing in their report card grades from the Texas Education Agency.

Sadly, CISD doesn’t focus on teaching children. CISD focuses on intimidating teachers to campaign for the bond package and threatening them with their intended pay raises, if the bond doesn’t pass.

While “Jack the Sticker” may be unconventional in his methods, he’s very conventional in his education philosophy. CISD must move back to the basics, stop acting as a funnel for corporate largesse, and remember that the school district exists to provide education.

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