Image: The Conroe Independent School District – in its $807 million bond proposal which will bring a 64% tax increase during the next eight (8) years – has included $405,000.00 for curtains mostly for elementary schools. Of course, the school district pulled the cost estimates out of the air above the stage.
Conroe, March 17 – Stage curtains don’t seem to hold much educational value, but the freespending Conroe Independent School District (CISD) wants to spend at least $405,000.00 on curtains mostly for elementary schools as part of its $807 million bond proposal, which will bring a 64% tax increase during the next eight (8) years, according to the school district’s financial projections. That increase will come from a 3 cent tax rate increase along with enormous property tax appraisal increases CISD will push the Montgomery Central Appraisal District to impose, so the school district can meet the over $2 billion of debt obligations if the bond proposal passes on May 4, 2019.
But stage curtains?
Unlike school auditorium stages which most adults might remember when they received their education, CISD has committed enormous funds to equipping every single stage, even in elementary schools, with high-dollar professional curtain systems. Unfortunately, when CISD previously purchased curtains for every school, they forgot to include fireproofing and safety rigging for all of the curtain systems.
Nevertheless, the pricing for curtains, which CISD proposes to spend is ridiculous, even if the school district intended to construct professional entertainment venues.
The leading professional curtain company in the United States is Bellatax, based in Jackson, Tennessee, which has a national network of dealer representatives. Here’s what the leading curtain company in the United States says about pricing for curtains:
“Approximately 80% of stage curtain projects will fall between $5,000 and $100,000. An elementary school’s stage needs will tend toward the lower end of the range. Professional touring houses, regional performing arts centers, and facilities with multiple rooms will tend toward the higher end of the range. The stage needs of high schools, churches, and community centers tend to land in the middle 2/3 of the range (approximately $20,000 to $85,000).”
From the expert’s mouth, a curtain project for an elementary school should cost around $5,000.00. Hopefully, CISD doesn’t intend to use the curtain systems for “professional touring houses” or “regional performing arts centers,” although CISD’s misplaced educational priorities make one wonder what the school district’s focus actually is.
In the $807 million bond proposal, there are twenty-eight (28) spending items related to curtains, mostly for elementary schools. The total cost is $405,000.00, meaning the average cost for each spending item is $14,464.29, significantly above what Bellatax advises elementary school stage needs should cost.
Beside that exorbitant cost, and the question why elementary schools even need stage curtains at all, it turns out that CISD’s proposed curtain projects don’t include the purchase of one important part of curtain systems: curtains. CISD has already purchased the curtains. The curtain costs of $14,464.29 are only for “safety rigging” and for “fire proofing”!
Clearly, CISD has squandered substantially more tax dollars for each of its elementary school auditorium curtains than even the curtain supply company recommends for the cost of such purchases.
It’s an insult to the children of CISD that the school district’s administration places such a low priority on their education as opposed to curtains. It’s an insult to the taxpayers of CISD that their financial resources must go towards curtains at all. It’s completely outrageous that CISD is merely making the curtains it has already purchased safe, which suggests they didn’t care about safety features previously and they have no concept of frugality whatsoever.
Oh, and by the way, CISD has an additional $784,000 of curtain projects it has listed as priority 3, which the school district claims it needs to spend for safety reasons but hasn’t included in this proposed $807 million bond package at all.