Thursday, August 21, 2008

School Bond Issues and Investment in Public Schools

Round Rock ISD is proposing two bond issues in November "for for capital improvement projects totaling $293.9 million." (The bond issues will bump up the 0.31 tax rate debt load to 0.34, on top of 1.04 load for current operations.) They are not alone. Across Texas there's a lot of school-building going on, and it once again begs a question of whether these expenditures are prudent or not.

I've seen schools that are built that are beautiful schools, similar to those reported in Ennis schools: The “wow factor” was the phrase Dr. Mack Boyd used. Some of those taking tours simply settled on “Oh my gosh!” and “This is nice.”

RRISD certainly is expanding, but are we paying a lot for schools that are focussed on being high-priced beautiful architected masterpieces rather than focus on what's needed for learning? The multiple gyms in the RRISD elementary school hasn't hurt my kids but neither has it made them athletes. Whether we need a $30 million elementary school begs a question of whether the schools are teaching the children as they should. This Empower Texans video has a perspective on that wider question:

2 comments:

Randy A. Samuelson said...

We need spending caps now more than ever.

My rule of thumb is to vote "NO" on every bond package that comes up.

I'm also tired of hearing school board officials and teacher union belly-ache using the slogan "for the children" when they are really increasing taxes and spending for the bureaucracy and not for the children.

MJSamuelson said...

No on every tax increase proposal - no to ALL bonds (city, county, and school). There is never a good reason for a school district to enter into 30-year interest-collecting debt with our money.