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TISD is misleading voters about $189 million bond election in Texarkana, Texas

Sep 15, 2022

TISD is falsely embellishing safety and security measures that the district alleges will be provided by its $189 million bond election on November 8, 2022.

According to TISD's special bond proposal website, part of the bond proposal money will pay for a comprehensive "Safety and Security" package. It is included with Proposition A which also offers tens of millions in construction projects - for a grand total of $130 million. 

However, TISD is not telling citizens that they are promising the same list of "Safety and Security" measures that were already approved with $1.95 million allocated on June 29, 2022. (see photo below or click here for TISD press release). 

Supt. Doug Brubaker even confirmed the district already had the money for "Safety and Security" with a quote in a June 2022 news article. He said: "We're excited to be able to do these upgrades as soon as we can and to access those funds in order to do it."

More recently, the district seems to have added about $500k in spending on security. If true, that still means around 80% of the "Safety and Security" measures have already been fully funded and should not be falsely included as part of the bond election.

As proven by the photo of an early July 2022 TISD press release below, voters don't need to support the $189 million TISD bond election for the district to implement its "Safety and Security" projects. The measures will happen if the bond election passes or even if it fails. They include access control, security fences, electronic security devices, security glass film on all entrance doors, and additional cameras.

Why would TISD mislead voters?

The "Safety and Security" measures were passed by the Board of Trustees in the wake of the Uvalde, Texas school shooting as parents, community members, and staff all demanded action on school security.

The real news is that Superintendent Doug Brubaker and the Board of Trustees unashamedly want voters to "pay back" the district for securing campuses and kids.

According to a local news article on July 10: A successful bond package "would allow the district to be reimbursed for a large amount of the funds that came from TISD's fund balance for those improvements."

It's bad enough that TISD wants to be paid back for securing kids and campuses. But it's unconscionable to then mislead voters who will wrongly believe they need to vote for a $130 million bond proposition full of less popular projects to get $2 million of badly needed safety and security measures for Texarkana, Texas students.

A greedy move by the district

TISD's much-derided Long Range Planning Committee (chaired by Rendi Wiggins) asked the Board of Trustees to approve $187 million in spending. However, the Board raised the number to $189 million. And about $2 million of that is to pay themselves back for the aforementioned security measures.

So it is a huge misdirection effort for TISD to tell voters they are receiving the specific "Safety and Security" measures in the bond election when they have already been approved and the funds allocated.

Let's think about this: TISD wants voters to go into an extra $2 million in debt - along with an extra approx. $2 million in interest over 30 years (assuming around 4.35% interest rate) for "Safety and Security" measures for which TISD dollars have already been allocated and are ALREADY PAID FOR. So the total cost to taxpayers is about $4 million -or $5 million if the extra money comes to fruition.

"Safety and Security" is not even mentioned in TISD's election announcement

In TISD's official, nine-page "Notice of Election," which is required by law, the words "safety," "security," or "fencing" are not even mentioned. The words "safe" and "secure" are also not mentioned in the almost 4,500-word document. Click here to read the "Notice of Election."

However, another project which consists of buying more than a dozen new school buses (which will cost approximately $2 million) is mentioned, along with the construction projects.

Moreover, the "Notice of Election" from TISD also does not mention that the district wants to pay itself back around $2 million (about $4 million with amortized interest) for securing kids.

And it should be mentioned that as of August 2022, TISD already has outstanding debt totaling almost $32 million - and more than $56 million when amortized over 30 years.

What does this mean for TISD voters?

It is now less than 40 days before early voting starts on October 24 for the November 8 election. And in the next few weeks, TISD has some hard choices to make. 

In the meantime,  citizens will likely want to inform friends and neighbors that they don't have to vote in favor of the $189 million bond proposals to get "Safety and Security" for kids and campuses. That's because TISD taxpayers have already paid for it. 

A breach of trust

Are voters really supposed to have confidence that TISD and Supt. Doug Brubaker will be good caretakers of around $200 million if they bend the truth about $2 million?

Even if the prices of basic necessities had not risen dramatically and the country was not in a deep recession, citizens will have a hard time supporting a district that blatantly misled them.

Indeed, without full transparency, TISD and Supt. Brubaker will learn on election night that Texarkana, Texas, voters are not nearly as naive as they thought they were.

Dig deeper:

Click here to read: The secret history of the TISD bond issue
Click here to read: "Not counting nickels and dimes? Texarkana ISD massive $200 million bond proposal hits the wall with some voters after comments surface"
Click here to read: "Texarkana ISD wants two property tax increases for $200 million spending spree - as more live paycheck to paycheck"
Click here to read: "Are Texarkana voters prepared for a $100 million-plus TISD bond issue? Does the public even want it?"

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