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1. TISD officials say they are working on preliminary steps regarding the standing desegregation order.  How will possible future lifting of this order impact attendance zones and facility needs?   UNKNOWN

2. The TISD Superintendent plans alternative grade configurations – pairing and housing certain grades together. What is the plan?  How will it change grade alignments/facilities/annual operating costs/academics?  Will we need more facilities or fewer?  UNKNOWN

3. Where will the new proposed Rice Elementary School be built?  Existing site?  New location?  If new location, where?  Is there a vacant 15-acre parcel of land in the Rice attendance zone?  If not, will the district use eminent domain to secure the new site?  UNKNOWN

4. TISD officials indicate there will be future opportunities to close or re-purpose some of the existing middle schools?  Which ones?  How soon?  At what impact to long-term costs? UNKNOWN

5. How much will it cost annually to operate the proposed new middle school (teachers, staff, utilities, supplies, maintenance, etc.)?  TISD officials say that “it could cost up to $2 million in additional operating costs” and state “it is difficult to know how much it will cost until boundaries are determined and enrollments and staffing can be calculated.”  UNKNOWN

6. How will the added cost of operating the proposed new middle school be funded since the District’s maintenance and operating portion of the tax rate is at the cap, and the 2010-2011 budget is currently balanced with $5 million in federal stimulus funds held in the State’s Rainy Day fund?  UNKNOWN

Fleming concluded:

  • Tyler ISD has had no real conversation with the community stakeholders (parents, homeowners, business owners) to discuss and reevaluate the district needs and priorities.  They still have NO public hearings posted, and we are less than 30 days away from the election.
  • · TISD says the bond election won’t increase the tax rate. This is misleading.  The truth is, when the old bonds ($221 million – principal only – from 2004 and 2008 bond elections) pay off, taxes are expected to go down.  This is like paying off a huge credit card balance one day and running up a new balance the next day.  Your payments might not go up, but you are still in debt! We can no longer ignore debt in this country – debt at any level of government.  If the district can stuff another $90 million into the debt portion of the tax rate, this means there’s enough room to reduce taxes. Keeping taxes at the higher rate is a tax increase. To say it any other way is just wrong.

With so much uncertainty in the economy as a whole – and with rising debt piled on taxpayers and future generations by federal and state government – here at the local level, taxpayers need, want, and deserve clearly-defined long-range plans. We need to know what the plans are and how much they will cost us.  We need to understand what results we can expect from the plans.  We need a chance to discuss it as a community before we vote to add more local debt.

Grassroots America – We the People urges voters to reject the Tyler ISD bond package.  Bad planning, bad timing, too many unanswered questions = a debt risk we can’t afford!


JoAnn Fleming, Executive Director

Grassroots America – We the People
(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.