Cypress-Fairbanks ISD Does Not Want Your Vote - So Much for Transparency and Accountability
by Bob Price on December 18, 2011 at 6:35 PM
FOLLOW UP: See the results of this meeting and a video of the discussion in my follow-up story.
Update: In an attempt to diffuse public attendance, the meeting has been changed to 6:00 PM. Since the meeting is still subject to change, call Superintendent Dr. Mark Henry at 281-897-4077 or email the Board at email@example.com for any questions.
It appears Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District (CFISD) is concerned you may have been paying just a little too much attention to what has been going on. You have questioned their spending habits, elected conservative board members and even stopped them from stealing your homestead property tax exemption. You have gone TOO far!
So... In an effort to slow down some of this community oversight of their activities, the Board of Trustees of CFISD has hurriedly (with the minimum time allowed by law, maybe) called a special meeting for Monday, December 19th. The meeting will be held in the Board Room of CFISD Instructional Support Center, located at 10300 Jones Road in Houston. It will begin at 3:00 p.m.
The agenda calls for some key objectives that are guaranteed to reduce voter oversight of the school board and limit participation by voters in the elections to choose new school board members. Here is what they have in mind for you...
- The Board seeks to change the length of terms of the Board's members from three to four years. (reducing the number of elections)
- The Board seeks to move the elections from November of even numbered years to November of odd numbered years. (reducing the number of voters who will come out for a non-even year election)
- The Board will consider adoption of a resolution to participate in a lawsuit against the State of Texas (YOU) regarding the school finance system and lack of funding.
Remember the runaway spending of the past that led to the building of an $80 million Berry Center, a multi-use facility designed to compete with commercial entertainment and meeting facilities that continues to lose over $1 million/year? Remember the school board that has twice threatened to cut your property tax homestead exemption? Do you want more of this?
CFISD Berry Center - A $80 million dollar loser for taxpayers
According to Kay Smith, Founder of School Board Watchdog Group, Texans-United.com, "Increasing the term of Board Members and moving the election date will guarantee the administration controls all Board elections since there is such low voter turnout in off-year elections."
Smith continued, "Joining this lawsuit will bring additional legal expense costing the taxpayers more money to sue the State of Texas." According to State Representative Debbie Riddle, "The State of Texas funded education 100%." This certainly makes me wonder, as a CFISD taxpayer, why we should spend money we don't have on a lawsuit we don't need?
When school board elections are moved to odd-numbered years, voter turnout is reduced. Reduced voter turnout means the election of board members is more greatly influenced by school employees and vendors (and their employees) who do business with the district. These self-serving interests could care less if your needs as taxpayers are fairly represented by the school board. In the past few years, these groups have had to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to keep conservative, grass-roots candidates from being elected.
The most important election we have as taxpayers and parents is the election of School Board Trustees. These people directly affect our property taxes AND the education of our children. This attempt to dilute the influence of voters and taxpayers into the oversight of this school board must not be allowed to pass. Contact the Board and tell them to VOTE NO! Come to the meeting and tell them to VOTE NO!
Stop Cy-Fair I.S.D. from stealing your elections!