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Texarkana ISD bond election is a DUMPSTER FIRE: Voters should reject TISD's dishonest, $365 million power play

Oct 20, 2022

Parents often tell kids that if someone lies to them about minor things, they will definitely lie about more significant issues.

This is a lesson voters should remember about Texarkana ISD's $189 million bond election - which the school district admits will cost Texarkana taxpayers an eye-watering $365 million amortized over 30 years at 4.35% interest.

TISD is misleading voters

Texarkana ISD has lied about its bond issue by telling voters on its campaign website that they must vote for the $130 million in spending on Proposition A to get security and fencing for campuses. This is simply not true.

In June 2022, a month following the Uvalde, Texas, school shooting, the TISD Board of Trustees passed and approved funding for almost $2 million of the same security features promised in the bond election. 

Read this entry from a July 11, 2022, press release from TISD: 

The Board approved $1.95 million dollars towards upgrading and installing additional school safety measures across TISD campuses. Items include: access control electronic security devices, security fencing, additional cameras and security glass film on all entrance doors.

The approx $2 million for safety and security is already funded and ready to go. But let's look at what TISD is promising in its $130 million bond proposal as the top feature of the funding on its campaign website -TXKISD2022BOND.com: 1) Access Control at Every School 2) Security Fencing at Every School 3) Enhanced Fencing at THS Security 4) Window Film at School Entries

These are the same things that were approved and funded by the Board at the June 29 meeting.

So the dirty little secret that Superintendent Doug Brubaker and the school district are not telling voters is that all the security features will happen even if the bond election fails - because the money has already been allocated.

Bad management 

After the Board allocated the approx. $2 million for security, the Board members and superintendent decided they wanted to nickel and dime taxpayers by getting the money back by tacking on an additional approx. $2 million to the bond issue, from $187 million to $189 million.

So not only does Supt. Doug Brubaker and the Board want to promise security features in the bond election you already paid for. TISD is asking you to PAY THEM BACK the original $1.95 million they spent from additional spending in the bond election.

Yes, you read that right. The superintendent and Board want taxpayers to go into debt for an additional approx. $2 million to give back the money they spent on security so they can spend it again. With the addition of the amortized interest over 30 years, that is an additional $2 million for a total spend of $4 million on security features that have already been paid for. 

This is irresponsible spending by any measure. 

School buses will happen even if the bond election fails

Taxable property for TISD increased this year by 16.7% or around $368 million for the 2022/23 calendar year. And TISD now collects taxes on approx. $2.6 billion in residential and commercial property. 

This means the school district can afford to pay for new school buses without any trouble - as the new buses promised in the bond election only cost approximately $2 million for all of them. And no one has made a compelling case that all of the 18 buses are actually needed right now. So they can be purchased as required.

Honesty is the best policy

Lying about the bond election on its campaign website and misleading voters was the wrong move for TISD. However, this seemingly small-ish lie is telling. Ironically, the school district may have done voters a favor by revealing its dishonesty with a lie that is so easy to disprove.

And that is why voters must reject Proposition A and Proposition B of the TISD bond election.

If TISD blatantly lies about $2 million in security spending, how can anyone believe it won't lie about spending $365 million of hard-earned, Texarkana, Texas taxpayer funds?

They can't, and voters cannot reward lies. 

And, by the way, TISD has never had a bond election over $29 million. So why is this "orgy of spending" happening right now - when construction costs are at an all-time high? 

It just doesn't make sense. 

In fact, the whole TISD bond election is a dumpster fire that isn't worth saving.

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