RRISD Bonds Deserve an “F”
The RRISD Bond Propositions contain many worthwhile projects, but as I have explained in previous posts, at least 40% of the $572 million is earmarked for projects of questionable need, that could bedeferred, or that have excessive price tags. RRISD may have gotten it 60% right, but that is still a failing grade.
Recognizing that most voters do not have time to peel back the layers of the onion, I have done a lot of research and posted multiple threads to explain why the 3 Bond Propositions should be voted down. For your convenience, I am summarizing them here and providing links to documents with more detail. The first document is a 5-page summary of reasons to vote “NO” on the bonds. It explains why some projects are not justified by RRISD’s own enrollment projections, how nice-to-have projects are bundled with other projects to force the hand of voters, how RRISD’s track poor track record of managing operating expense raises doubts about its ability to spend bond money efficiently, and why voters should focus on debt service payments rather than incremental tax rates.
The second document goes into more depth on why RRISD’s efforts to focus on incremental tax rates is like looking at the tip of an iceberg while ignoring what is below the surface.
The third document shows why High School #6 in Proposition #1 is not needed in the near future, especially after spending $64 million to expand Round Rock HS. Even if HS #6 is needed at some point, the $150 million price tag will make it the most expensive high school in the history of Texas, even after adjusting for inflation. By reducing its physical size to match Cedar Ridge, RRISD could reduce the cost by at least $33 million.
The fourth document shows why conversion of CD Fulkes Middle to a visual and performing arts center in Proposition #2 is not a wise decision. The total cost to build the academy is $51 million ($6 million from 2014 bonds + $45 million from 2017 bonds) versus $15.5 million to renovate/upgrade existing facilities at CD Fulkes. The $36 million premium will not result in higher enrollment, so it has nothing to do with growth.
The fifth document shows why the Indoor Aquatic Center ($22 million) in Proposition #3 is a project of questionable value, and if pursued at all, should be built and operated by the City of Round Rock, not RRISD.
The final document discusses RRISD’s elusive goal of becoming a “destination” school district and how this fuels its unending appetite for spending.
Marshall Sprigg 4-25-2017