Why Conroe ISD Voters Should Erase The “Zombie” $677 Million Bond Package, Part 4 Of 7: No process but a backroom deal

Why Conroe ISD Voters Should Erase The “Zombie” $677 Million Bond Package, Part 4 Of 7: No process but a backroom deal

Image: Conroe Independent School District put the $677.3 Million Bond package going before voters on November 5, 2019, as a backroom deal with enormous secrecy.

The Golden Hammer Staff Reports

Conroe, October 7 – The $677.3 Million “Zombie” Bond package, which Conroe Independent School District (CISD) has placed before the voters in the November 5, 2019, General Election is the product of a backroom deal with enormous secrecy. CISD, and its political advisors, the two political consultants of PBK Architects who focus on passing bond packages so that the architecture firm can make even larger profits, have followed a distinctly different strategy from the 2015 bond, which passed, and the May 4, 2019, $807 Million bond package, which failed.

There was no formal process to produce a rational bond with actually necessary projects in the $677.3 Million “Zombie” Bond package.

According to University of California at San Diego neuroscientist Bradley Voytek, who spoke on the subject at the 2011 Comic-Con International, zombification results in extensive brain damage. (See discussion in Angela Watercutter, Wired, “Zombie Brains: Fake Ghoul Science From a Real Scientist,” August 11, 2011). That may explain the reason the zombified Board of Trustees has failed to require CISD’s administration to follow any process to propose a bond package with a rational basis.

According to University of California at San Francisco neuroscientist Bradley Voytek, who spoke on the subject at the 2011 Comic-Con International, zombification results in extensive brain damage. (See discussion in Angela Watercutter, Wired, “Zombie Brains: Fake Ghoul Science From a Real Scientist,” August 11, 2011). That may explain the reason the zombified Board of Trustees has failed to require CISD’s administration to follow any process to propose bond package with a rational basis.

In his lecture on “The Living Dead Brain,” Professor Voytek likely included an extensive discussion of Conroe ISD’s Board of Trustees.

2015 bond package (voters passed)

When CISD placed a bond package before voters in 2015, the school district had:

  • a Facilities Planning Committee, which held public meetings;
  • detailed cost estimates for the entire bond package, which such cost estimates had come line-by-line in their entirety from an architecture firm which justified the costs of construction of the entire bond package;
  • open discussions among the Board of Trustees about the bond;
  • a website with all of the cost estimates and financial projections for the bond package and letting schedule;
  • full disclosure about the tax rate and property tax appraisal value increases necessary to make the debt payments on the bond package.

May 4, 2019, $807 Million bond package (voters rejected)

The May 4, 2019, bond package was $807 million. CISD had had:

  • a Facilities Planning Committee;
  • detailed cost estimates for the entire bond package but none of those estimates had come from any sort of construction professional or anyone who had done takeoffs, measurements, or real costs of materials and labors from genuine designs, because, as CISD has admitted, “there are no designs”!;
  • open discussions among the Board of Trustees about the bond;
  • a website with all of the cost estimates and financial projects for the bond package and letting schedule, which included the identity of the contractor and architecture firms who would enjoy the massive contracts;
  • full disclosure about the tax rate (3 cents) and property tax appraisal value increases necessary to make the debt payments on the bond package.

November 5, 2019, $677.3 Million “Zombie” bond package

With the November 5, 2019, bond package of $677.3 million, CISD has decided to hide the factual information to support the bond. There was:

  • NO Facilities Planning Committee;
  • NO cost estimates at all for the entire bond package. Instead there is a 2 page list of numbers thrown together without any basis from inside the planning and construction department; the 50-page cost estimate sheet has disappeared;
  • Instead of open discussions by the Board, the administration – Superintendent Curtis Null, Chief Financial Officer Darren Rice, PBK Architects – and the Board members held secret meetings behind closed doors to decide what they could get away with in the bond package;
  • CISD has openly lied to the public claiming there is “no tax rate increase” when, CISD already passed a 4 cent tax rate increase to pay the bond debt without allowing the voters to approve it first. CISD has shut off the information on its website so there are no financial projections of the expenditures or the property tax appraisal value increases necessary to make the debt payments on the bond package.
Spreadsheet, dated January 29, 2019, showing that CISD had already determined which construction projects PBK would receive the architectural services award for under the $807 million bond package.

The spreadsheet above is no longer available to the public on CISD’s website. It’s the so-called “2019 Bond Funding Model.” The spreadsheet actually shows that CISD has already determined which architecture firms and general contractors will receive the contracts for each of the bond projects.

Ultimately, the reality is that CISD has gone through no process whatsoever to determine what should actually be in the bond package. The numbers in the cost estimates for the bond essentially come from the “fresh air,” because the school district failed to follow any of the “best practices” which the Texas Association of School Business Officials have suggested.

Voters in CISD have before them a bond package, which is just a hope by CISD’s bureaucratic administrators that the taxpayers will blindly approve a massive tax increase, debt that will bring the total school district debt to just under $2 Billion, and no specific plans whatsoever for what they’ll actually spend those dollars.

Perhaps, the Board of Trustees actually does suffer from “living dead brains.”

 

 

 

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