Friday, March 14, 2008

Conroe School District (CISD) 2008 Bond Referendum- Endorsement

IndianSpringsGuy endorses the 2008 bond proposal by CISD. After reviewing the district's process to financially quantify its vision for the next five years to address the issues facing the district, our tax implications, and the state of our regional economy, my conclusion is that due diligence has been followed. I believe that the school superintendent and school board can be entrusted with the authority to manage the requested bond money for the good of our community. I plan to vote "yes" on this proposal in May.

The selected Option calls for construction of:1
a) New schools:
1.Two new Junior High Schools
2.One new Intermediate School
3.Four new Elementary Schools

b)Additions and renovations at:
1.Convert Peet JHS to serve as CHS 9th Grade Campus
2.Major addition at Travis Intermediate
3.Major classroom and core space addition at San Jacinto Elementary
4.Classroom addition at Deretchin K-6
5.Classroom addition at Tough K-6
6.Major classroom and core space addition at TWCPHS

Due diligence has been shown by the district as evidenced by the detailed report available to stakeholders on the CISD website. The considerations and process to quantify the bond based on the needs of the district is appropriate. The detailed PASA report is lengthy with supporting maps, making the report file size large and takes some time to download, but is very informative. For convenience, you can access this 2007 report via clicking here. However, I recommend that you view the power point presentation on the CISD website first. Click here. You may need to install a 2007 Powerpoint reader.

Substantial work went into the financial aspects of the report to ensure our tax rate will not increase when the bond proposal is approved. My primary concern has been with the economy and how the money will be managed, considering the possible consequences of the economic downturn. Assumptions in recent history and growth projections may not reflect what is actually going to occur in a recession. In a recession, home values can decrease, demographics of the district can change and growth can be stymied or even reversed in a school district. I remember the 1980's when I lived in Northwest Houston and realize how the housing situation can change rapidly and dramatically in a high growth area. What is the contingency on the use of the funds should there be a dramatic change in the actual growth of the district's school age population? I asked this question to Dr. Don Stockton, the superintendent of CISD, who responded:

"The passing of the bond referendum gives the Board the authority to sell bonds and build schools, but we still are responsible for making sure the need is there. Additionally, we do not consider a campus over capacity until it reaches 125% of the building capacity. This assures us that the growth is not just a spike, but a stable number that will support future buildings. We monitor enrollment and trends daily so that we can make a rational recommendation to the Board."

This strategy should be more than adequate to protect the tax dollars of residents in the district. What do you think? Will you vote FOR the bond referendum?

More information can be found at the CISD WEBSITE. 1. CISD Bond Update

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