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Tyler (TX) ISD Gets Failing Grade from GAWTP

After analyzing information found on Tyler ISD’s own website under the “Bond 2010” section and documents we requested from the District, we found that eight out of sixteen elementary schools or 50% of the elementary school construction projects passed in 2004, 2008 and proposed in this 2010 bond package will be at capacity or overcrowded in less than five years!  That is unacceptable and a good way to lose the trust of the people! To imagine that these new schools may soon have portables sitting outside them is shocking.  We also discovered that in spite of the fact that TISD is saying this bond election will “finish the elementary schools” and begin the middle schools, they’ve neglected to tell us that based on the size schools we are building and the consulting report they have posted in the bond information section of their website, the district will need at least two more elementary schools by 2013!

It is now abundantly clear to that this “pay me now and we’ll give you the details later” plan is WRONG! It is wrong for the taxpaying families and businesses, wrong for the teachers, wrong for the parents, and wrong for the school children of Tyler ISD.  We simply cannot afford to keep building schools that will soon be overcrowded.”  JoAnn Fleming, GAWTP Executive Director

Information found in Section 7 of the demographic study performed by Population and Survey Analysts makes it clear Tyler ISD officials are failing to meet the reasonable expectation of due diligence in facility planning. See http://www.tylerisd.org/BOND2004/Section%207.pdf

From the start, Grassroots raised the issue of the need to get the recommended changes in attendance zoning completed.  For the past 10 years, this has been a recommendation from (taxpayer-funded) reports from consulting firms.

For example:  In Section 7: Long Range Planning, page 1, the report states:  “The District is currently at a crossroads with respect to future facility planning and attendance zoning” and (page 2) once again stresses the need toredraw attendance zone boundaries in order to optimally utilize all existing facilities.”  On page 2, the report further states:  “small changes in the current attendance zones illustrate how the existing capacities can be better utilized.”

On page 2, under the section titled:  Middle Schools — Current Middle School Attendance Zones, the report indicates:  “The first map shows the number of EE-5th grade students projected to live in each current attendance zone in 2007, 2011, and 2016” and once again addresses the issue of attendance zones.  It continues to address the need for full utilization of all facilities:  “regarding Middle Schools:  the geographic distribution of the projected student population makes full utilization of all facilities difficult without 1) gerrymandered attendance zones and long busing routes, or 2) severe disruption of the current attendance zones with a “domino effect”.

On Page 3:  The report clearly states:   “Throughout the process of gathering data for this Demographic Update, the PASA team clearly heard a significant demand bydevelopers, landowners and others for a new Middle School in the south. This plan outlines how a new Middle School in the south could be utilized around 2013 or 2014. However, it is important to note that attempting to balance the Middle Schools based on socioeconomic factors is a notable goal, but would be almost impossible with a new school in the South.” (emphasis added)

Summary: In light of this factual information on TISD’s website, we call on TISD officials to answer the questions we are raising.  We also call on the Vote Yes Committee leaders to re-evaluate the claims in their ads that this 2010 bond package will replace the final two elementary schools, that these bond elections have taken care of the growth (when 50% of the new schools will be at capacity or overcrowded in less than 5 years), and that this $145 million bond package will not raise the tax rate.  The “not raising the tax rate” is based on NO MORE future debt.  We clearly see many things the Vote Yes leaders are assuming are just not based on facts!  We encourage them to read the documents.

Taxpayers cannot afford local officials who act like Congress!  We must have a higher local standard!  We believe it is a reasonable expectation that elected officials and well-paid administrators read the documents we pay for, make sound long-range decisions, and tell us the details BEFORE they ask us for the money!

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JoAnn Fleming, Executive Director
Grassroots America – We the People  www.gawtp.com

(903) 894-7204 home office or (903) 360-2858 cell
“It does not take a majority to prevail … but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the minds of men.”
Samuel Adams

Where applicable, a political advertisement paid for by the GAWTP PAC, PO Box 130012,Tyler, TX 75713, Jimmie Taylor, PAC Treasurer.