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Pro-AISD bond group raises $186,000 in campaign funds (Statesman.com)

As expected, Austin ISD is following the monopoly government school playbook — shakedown the corporate contractors who stand to profit hundreds of millions from the Bond tax increase for corporate contributions to fund the campaign of lies (e.g. “no tax increase”) to pass the Bond.

http://www.mystatesman.com/news/local-education/pro-aisd-bond-group-raises-186-000-campaign-funds/xlRMOmiHe10vBiIgPTP0rI/

 

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TCTU and local groups launch VOTE AGAINST AISD $Billion Tax Increase Campaigns!

TCTU and local groups kick off campaigns AGAINST AISD Unaffordable, Unsustainable, Unjustified $Billion TAX INCREASE.

Former Austin City Council candidate Pete Salazar makes opening remarks at TCTU Campaign Kick-off against AISD $Billion+ Tax Increase (Statesman.com photo)

http://www.statesman.com/news/local-education/diverse-group-opponents-rally-against-austin-isd-billion-bond/yU9NuT9MWpO6Xag6tCID2J/

 

http://www.fox7austin.com/news/local-news/group-gathers-at-lbj-high-school-to-oppose-aisd-bond

 

http://www.kvue.com/news/local/austin-residents-speak-in-opposition-to-1b-aisd-bond/482355266

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TCTU Press Conference against AISD $Billion Bond tax increase is OCT. 10th

Out of respect for the many victims from despicable evil attack in Las Vegas, Oct 3rd Press Conference has been   RESCHEDULED
to Tuesday, October 10th, LBJ High School, 7309 Lazy Creek
Drive, Austin, TX 78724
Please find an updated and revised press release below:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Austin, TX — The Travis County Taxpayer’s
Union (TCTU) is holding a public press conference announcing its opposition to Austin ISD’s $1 Billion Bond and its associated “without limit” tax increase. AISD, in the midst of a student population decline, wants to build new schools and expand capacity
as it loses students to Public Charter Schools who have waiting lists. AISD doesn’t have a growth problem, it has a distribution problem and they shortchange East Austin in their proposed spending. Most importantly, AISD has broken public trust by attempting
to conceal the bond’s cost on homeowners with a false “no tax rate increase” diversion. In stark contrast, Travis County, also with a bond on the November ballot, has provided the public with a truthful, accurate statement of the actual tax increase impact
for their borrowing, based on known fact giving voters a repayment cost per $100,000 for their bond. The TCTU plans to present Travis County our “Truth in Borrowing” award for their transparency and honesty.

TCTU invites other opposition grassroots
groups to attend the press conference:

WHAT: Public Press Conference announcing
AISD $Billion Bond opposition campaigns
WHERE: LBJ High School, 7309 Lazy Creek
Drive, Austin, TX 78724
WHEN: Tuesday, October 10 at 12 noon

TCTU agrees with former Travis County Judge
Bill Aleshire: “You can’t borrow a billion dollars without paying more in taxes than you would pay without this new debt”.

Karen Flanagan, Founder of Austinites Against
AISD’s 2017 Bond: “Voters should reject this expensive tax increase because it’s unjustified even based on AISD’s own projections. AISD should better manage utilized campuses instead of raising our taxes.”

Taxpayer Advocate John Goldstone: “We have
an epidemic of legal, unethical, deception going around. Hays, Round Rock, Lake Travis, Leander and AISD all avoid or avoided giving voters honest tax impact numbers”

Young Hispanic Advocate of Austin, Marco
Mancillas: “A voice of the people speaks a thousand words, and equality is a word that has not been transparent in AISD culture. Equality is a word that has to be understood in all 10 districts for the bond to be viable for East Austin. Without equality, the
bond will not help the students of AISD, and we are seeing it now as a community of East Austin.”

John Wood, Progressive Tax Examiners: “AISD
asking for a BILLION dollars in light of a decreasing student enrollment is completely out of touch with reality, and is indicative of their tendency to spend before they think.”

Mike Lee, Founding President of Austin Area
MLK Association: “The AISD community, and especially the east side, is being shortchanged and fleeced. We’re voting AGAINST”.

TCTU consulting analyst Roger Falk: “AISD’s
attempt to conceal this bond’s tax increase is deceptive. Voters are owed honesty before more debt.”

Gavino Fernandez, El Concilio de East Austin,
coalition of Mexican-American neighborhoods: “East and West should unite to defeat the $1Billion AISD Bond, which would further displace Latinos from East Austin.”

TCTU director, Don Zimmerman: “We ask voters
to READ THE BALLOT, which clearly states Bond taxes are, legally, WITHOUT LIMIT AS TO RATE OR AMOUNT. This ‘truth in lending’ statement, required by state law, is the result of a 2013 TCTU lawsuit against AISD’s illegal ballot language. Their ballot language
appears to violates the spirit of state rule with a list of items that is little more than a sales pitch.”

ACTUAL BALLOT LANGUAGE:
PROPOSITION A, AUSTIN ISD The issuance of
$1,050,984,000 school building bonds for the construction, acquisition, rehabilitation, renovation, expansion, improvement, modernization and equipment of school buildings in the district, including (i) technology systems and equipment, (ii) safety and security
systems and equipment, (iii) improvements to address overcrowding and safety concerns, (iv) improvements for students with special needs, and (v) reinvention programs for twenty-first century learning; the purchase of the necessary sites for school buildings;
and the purchase of new school buses, and the levy, pledge, assessment and collection of ad valorem taxes on all taxable property in the district, sufficient, without limit as to rate or amount, to pay the principal of and interest on the bonds and the costs
of credit agreements executed in connection with the bonds.

Source:

http://www.traviscountyclerk.org/eclerk/content/images/sample_ballots/2017.11.07/pdf_tc_elections_2017.11.07_CitiesAndSchools_SampleBallots.pdfhttp://www.traviscountyclerk.org/eclerk/content/images/sample_ballots/2017.11.07/pdf_tc_elections_2017.11.07_CitiesAndSchools_SampleBallots.pdf

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TCTU Announces Opposition to Austin ISD $Billion Bond — Public Press Conference

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

 

Austin, TX — The Travis County Taxpayer’s Union (TCTU)  is holding a public press conference to announce opposition to the Austin ISD’s $1 Billion Bond “without limit” tax increase, while the District continues to lose students to Public Charter Schools, and small business and families to tax-driven gentrification.

 

TCTU invites other opposition grassroots groups to attend the press conference:

 

WHAT:  Public Press Conference announcing AISD $Billion Bond opposition campaigns

WHERE:  Austin High School, 1715 Cesar Chavez St, Austin, TX 78703 (public road side)

WHEN:  Tuesday, October 3rd (2017) at 12 noon

 

TCTU agrees with former Travis County Judge Bill Aleshire:  “You can’t borrow a billion dollars without paying more in taxes than you would pay without this new debt”.

 

Karen Flanagan, Founder of Austinites Against AISD’s 2017 Bond:  “Voters should reject this expensive tax increase because it’s unjustified even based on AISD’s own projections. AISD should better manage utilized campuses instead of raising our taxes.”

 

Mike Lee, Founding President of Austin Area MLK Association:  “The AISD community, and especially the east side, is being shortchanged and fleeced. We’re voting AGAINST”.

 

TCTU lead analyst Roger Falk:  “AISD’s attempt to conceal this bond’s tax increase is deception. Voters are owed more honesty before more debt.”

 

TCTU director Don Zimmerman:  “We ask voters to READ THE BALLOT, which clearly states Bond taxes are, legally, WITHOUT LIMIT AS TO RATE OR AMOUNT.  This ‘truth in lending’ statement, required by state law, is the result of a 2013 TCTU lawsuit against AISD’s illegal ballot language.  The District employees are still violating the election code by illegally advocating FOR the Bond with official District website and other resources, because they’re deceiving voters about the cost.  They even illegally added advocacy to the ballot language.”

 

 

ACTUAL BALLOT LANGUAGE:

PROPOSITION A, AUSTIN ISD The issuance of $1,050,984,000 school building bonds for the construction, acquisition, rehabilitation, renovation, expansion, improvement, modernization and equipment of school buildings in the district, including (i) technology systems and equipment, (ii) safety and security systems and equipment, (iii) improvements to address overcrowding and safety concerns, (iv) improvements for students with special needs, and (v) reinvention programs for twenty-first century learning; the purchase of the necessary sites for school buildings; and the purchase of new school buses, and the levy, pledge, assessment and collection of ad valorem taxes on all taxable property in the district, sufficient, without limit as to rate or amount, to pay the principal of and interest on the bonds and the costs of credit agreements executed in connection with the bonds.

 

source: http://www.traviscountyclerk.org/eclerk/content/images/sample_ballots/2017.11.07/pdf_tc_elections_2017.11.07_CitiesAndSchools_SampleBallots.pdfhttp://www.traviscountyclerk.org/eclerk/content/images/sample_ballots/2017.11.07/pdf_tc_elections_2017.11.07_CitiesAndSchools_SampleBallots.pdf

 

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AISD still hiding from T.A. Brown Propaganda Scandal

Media Advisory

  • Austin ISD uses 2013 Bond money to pay non-AISD employees to slant T.A. Brown reports – to support $30M replacement, and ignores subcontract engineer’s request for structural foundation analysis.
  • TCTU asks AISD Trustees to fund a truly independent structural foundation analysis with Sparks Engineering from San Antonio.

 

 

17-Aug-2017

 

Austin, TX –  TCTU calls on Austin ISD Trustees to employ  Structural engineering experts at Sparks Engineering, a highly competent, independent company based in San Antonio, for a real “second opinion” of the November 2016 decision to demolish and rebuild T.A. Brown Elementary School.

 

In a MyStatesman.com report back in June, Austin ISD claimed a “second set of structural engineers validated the consultants work” relating to the executive decision to demolish the building.  Detailed e-mail exchanges received by TCTU in a Public Information Request contradict this claim.  The e-mails show a second engineer from the same single subcontract company (P.E. Structural Consultants) merely took additional photographs of additional foundation areas.  More importantly, the original Oct. 4th, 2016 structural report, under “Recommendations”, asked for a report which was never done:

1. Perform additional structural investigation work:

… b) Analyze Channel Capacity: Run analyses as needed to verify original channel sections have enough capacity to support current code loads.

 

TCTU has examined PIR requests which prove this recommended analysis WAS NEVER DONE, and instead, photographs were separated from the report and sensationalized on large posters for the “Press Conference” justifying the school closure.  The “second report” was a fourth draft of a similar “Facility Condition Assessment” (FCA) – a total of six FCA reports were produced.  The final report, issued in May 2017 and stamped with a P.E. seal, did NOT recommend demolishing the school, but rather recommended two repair options, followed a replacement option, depending on final cost analysis.

 

TCTU also has information from AISD Govalle foundation repairs that suggest AISD Contractors bloated T.A. Brown repair estimates from 5 to 10 times higher than the probable cost (based on known Govalle repair cost).

 

Sparks Engineering proposes a proper analysis of the T.A. Brown foundation, including:

 

*  Field measurements of representative structural elements.

  1. Materials testing & inspection:
  2. Insitu testing for the depth of carbonation in the concrete at up to 5 locations.

This will require several small diameter drill probes into the concrete.

  1. Laboratory testing of the concrete for the presence of damaging salts (chlorides,

nitrates and sulfates); 5 samples.

iii. Perform a comparative moisture survey at selective locations in the crawlspace.

* Structural analysis of representative framing elements, with an accurate estimate of the

deterioration, to identify the need for strengthening or additional support, as appropriate.

* A written report summarizing our observations, opinions, and recommendations.

* An opinion of cost for the identified structural repairs or strengthening.

 

TCTU has reviewed extensive public information requests which reveal remarkable conflicts in Austin ISD’s “Facility Condition Assessment” process for T.A. Brown Elementary, which support TCTU’s June 2017 accusation that AISD was deliberately exaggerating T.A. Brown foundation conditions to demolish a repairable school building, to run up the tab.  Additional information from “Govalle library” foundation repairs, cited as justification for exorbitant “estimates” for Brown repair, suggest Sunland and AECOM employees inflated repair costs by about 10 times to support a demolition decision.

 

TCTU Director Don Zimmerman adds, “Taxpayers, parents and teachers deserve to know the truth regarding the T.A. Brown school building, and to have diligence in lowering costs and taxes. 

TCTU calls on Austin ISD Trustees to move forward with an honest second opinion on T.A. Brown”.

 

TCTU Analyst Roger Falk adds, “AISD’s prevarication with respect to Brown Elementary, brings into question their crumbling infrastructure narrative; the AECOM work product highlights a deficit of trust.  It appears AISD is more concerned with selling bonds than efficiently maintaining the tax payers property”.

For more information on Sparks Engineering  structural analysis offer:

Info @  sparksengineering.com

210/ 229 – 0669

 

For more information on the PIR documentation analyzed by TCTU:

Don Zimmerman

512-577-8842

 

 

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Austin ISD creates political drama at T.A. Brown for Bond Votes

Reports show rebuilding TA brown cost effective for AISD; critics skeptical

http://cbsaustin.com/news/local/reports-show-rebuilding-ta-brown-cost-effective-for-aisd-critics-skeptical

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AISD wants to borrow hundreds of millions, TCTU’s Roger Falk alerts taxpayers

http://www.newsradioklbj.com/news/austin-local-news/aisd-finalize-proposal-borrow-hundreds-millions-you

[From 590AM KLBJ]

Austin Independent School District trustees should finalize their proposal to borrow just under a billion dollars from you for a laundry list of upgrades to schools throughout the city.  Bond Watchdog Roger Falk of the Travis County Taxpayers Union says schools don’t get to borrow money for free, so be leery of what AISD says the tax impact of this would be. “We estimate that that bond that’s shy of a billion dollars to cost taxpayers about six and a half cents per hundred thousand dollar valuation.” He continues “It will go up by about $65 per year. By Falk’s estimate, taxes on a three hundred thousand dollar home would go up $195 if the bond passes.

AISD has said there would be little to no impact on the tax rate but Falk says that doesn’t matter because your property appraisal values will undoubtedly go up no matter what the tax rate is on the loan they’re asking for.  “Which gives political cover for our leadership out here to claim they’re cutting taxes when in fact they are actually raising it.” Falk says the district could do what it needs to for a lot less than they’re proposing.

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TCTU asks the Austin ISD Board of Trustees to halt the demolition plans for T.A. Brown Elementary, makes new PIR

Media Advisory

June 15, 2017

AUSTIN, Tx —

The Travis County Taxpayers Union (TCTU) has asked the Austin ISD Board of Trustees to immediately halt the demolition plans for T.A. Brown Elementary pending a second opinion on the structural condition of the foundation.

“We have issued an extensive Public Information Request (PIR) for AECOM contractual obligations and detailed ‘engineering studies’ which AISD staff claims justifies demolition of the building”, says Don Zimmerman, Director of TCTU.  “We suspect there was political motivation behind the press conference and exaggerated claims of irreparable damage, and the sudden closure of the school, to build political support for the demolition and around $30 million dollar reconstruction of the school, as part of the exorbitant $986 million Bond this November”.

 

—–

June 15, 2017

TO:  Austin ISD Board of Trustees

FROM: Travis County Taxpayers Union

Greetings,

We have reason to suspect that “engineering studies”, generated by sole-source consultant group AECOM, exaggerated claims of structural deterioration at T.A. Brown Elementary, and possibly other facilities, for the political motivation of gaining voter sympathy and support for the exorbitant $1 billion Bond contemplated for Nov. 2017.

 

We ask the AISD Board to execute these steps immediately:

* Prioritize fulfillment of the Public Information Request for T.A. Brown School

* Immediately HALT demolition plans for T.A. Brown Elementary

* Request a separate structural inspection, from a separate structural engineering consultant (not affiliated with AECOM and its subcontractors), who answers solely to the AISD Board of Trustees.

Best regards,

Don Zimmerman

Director, TCTU

——

 

June 15, 2017

TO:  Austin ISD Public Information Office

FROM:  Don Zimmerman, Travis County Taxpayer’s Union

RE:  Six detailed Public Information Requests for AECOM contract origin and certain deliverables for T. A. Brown Elementary School

Dear Administrator:

  1. We request the Condition Assessment Reports for T.A. Brown Elementary School (School), which were produced by AECOM, and all subcontractors operating in conjunction with or under the direction of AECOM, and other consultants paid by Austin ISD in conjunction with the School assessment (collectively, “subcontractors”);
  2. We request the School Structural Investigation engineering reports provided to Austin ISD by AECOM and subcontractors, including Existing Conditions, Engineering Analysis, Recommendations, and Probable Cause, and especially, the “engineering report” which led to the sudden “cancellation” and removal of students from the school, per the media stories below (Nov-3, 2016):

http://kxan.com/2016/11/03/structural-concerns-force-friday-cancellation-at-brown-elementary/ http://www.fox7austin.com/news/local-news/215420399-story  http://www.kvue.com/news/education/classes-canceled-at-ta-brown-elementary-due-to-structural-issues/347482745

  1. We request e-mails and written communications between Austin ISD staff and AECOM (and subcontractors) staff which led to widespread media reports, and Austin ISD media announcements supporting statements like “ The supports that hold up the floor in classroom wings and the cafeteria have deteriorated so badly that structural engineers and district leaders fear a portion of the floor could collapse.”  Source: http://www.mystatesman.com/news/local/austin-brown-elementary-stay-shuttered-because-unstable-floor/q9lx8UTDyZT4GTBO2wY1SI/

 

  1. We request all e-mails and written communication between Austin ISD staff and the engineer “Anna Boenig”, who was publicly identified on TV news story, in a press conference organized and attended by Austin ISD staff, as making this statement:   “We do not recommend this be repaired at all. It would not be feasible. The damage is to every single beam in some areas affected. It would be a hazard for any contractor to work under there,” said Anna Boenig, P.E.   Source: http://www.fox7austin.com/news/local-news/215420399-story
  2. We request all e-mails and written communication between Austin ISD staff and AECOM engineers and consultants regarding the preparation of the press conference, including the decisions regarding which photos to publicly display, where the public presentation of the School structural issues were raised.
  3. We request a copy of the contract with AECOM, and billings and payments so far for work done on the School,
  4. We request electronic and written communications between Nicole Conley and AECOM staff regarding the School, for the 6 months prior to the November 2017 media reports listed above.
  5. We request copy of the School demolition permit, and the technical documentation supporting that demolition permit application.

# # #

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TCTU Vows to Unite Grassroots Against Wasteful, Unaffordable 2017 Austin ISD Bond

“They are not looking out for the taxpayer. They are looking out for themselves,” says Don Zimmerman with the Travis County Taxpayers Union. “The purpose of our school taxes is supposed to be to educate kids. Not to build buildings, and what we’ve seen out of the districts is exorbitant and wasteful expenditures on infrastructure and they starve the classrooms,” adds Zimmerman.

http://cbsaustin.com/news/local/aisd-nears-finalizing-bond-package

 

 

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Taxpayers Win! Round Rock ISD $572 million Bonds all defeated

In photo from left:  Pam Oldham, Paul Matthews, Patrick McGuinness, John Gordon, Don Zimmerman, Dave Schmidt.

A remarkable coalition of grass roots forces, from conservative-libertarian to progressive-democrat, (a fiscally conservative “Union” if you will) combined efforts to defeat not just Round Rock ISD District political forces but the Round Rock Chamber of Commerce (the Chamber contributed at least $10,000 to the pro-Bond PAC) and the usual subsidized-growth interests.  THANK YOU to activists and voters, and especially Patrick McGuinness and Ed Buckley of “Round Rock Parents and Taxpayers Association” – that is, “there’s a new PTA in District”.

http://kxan.com/2017/05/06/part-of-round-rock-isd-bond-fails-close-race-for-other-propositions/

Also thanks to Williamson County (John Gordon) GOP, and Travis County GOP (James Dickey) for getting Resolutions passed opposing the RR ISD Bonds.

OTHER STORIES:

http://www.fox7austin.com/news/local-news/253427599-story

http://keyetv.com/news/local/winners-losers-in-round-rock-isd-school-bond-election-mull-future