Round Rock ISD Vote NO $572M Bond – Press Conference Success

KEYE TV on Taxpayer Groups Opposed to Round Rock ISD Bond

“I am just a citizen, father, taxpayer, veteran that’s fed up with this spending that’s out of control.” That’s all Round Rock resident David Schmidt had to say as taxpayer advocates gathered to oppose Round Rock ISD’s $572 million bond package.

Opponents complain this is Round Rock ISD’s biggest bond election ever. But supporters counter the district’s needs are also the biggest ever. And both sides have just a few weeks to win hearts and minds.

John Gordon doesn’t mince words when he talks about the upcoming bond election. The long-time Round Rock resident says, “This is an excessive, large, very wasteful inappropriate bonds. It’s going to hammer our community. It will make our community less financially successful.”

Today a coalition of local groups spoke out against the $572 million package and the burden they believe it will put on the taxpayers. Dr Pat McGuiness with Round Rock Parents & Taxpayers Association says, “There’s much more wrong with this bond package thank simply a huge price tag. Misplaced and questionable priorities, wasteful items priced excessively, lack of proper project planning and vetting and worse.”

But supporters counter the bond package was had plenty of input from the public and school principals. Ron Buffum, who chairs of the bond committee says, “All of the principals of the 54 campuses were approached and we asked them what do we need to do to your campus to improve it to benefit the students.”

They say the bonds address current crowding and prepare the district for the future. Catherine Hannah, a former school board president says, “The parents and the community members and the business folks who support the district want innovation and flexibility so the kids can have the ability to focus on fine arts and STEAM and engineering and health sciences.”

Early voting begins April 24 and election day is May 6. If you want to see what improvements the bonds might fund at your school, Round Rock ISD has put together an online bond guide. Follow the link below.



Live Press conference / campaign launch against $572 Round Rock ISD Bonds

Austin, TX,   10-Apr-2017:

The Travis County Taxpayers Union (TCTU) and other groups will have a live Press Conference launching the opposition campaign against Round Rock ISD’s “unaffordable, wasteful, Dishonest” Bond propositions.

What:  Groups opposed to Round Rock ISD Bond

When:  Wednesday, Apr. 12, 2017, 12 noon

Where:  1311 Round Rock in Round Rock (RR ISD admin headquarters on RR 620 across from Sonic)
Also, TCTU Analyst Roger Falk will compare Round Rock ISD and Hays ISD illegal and unethical pro-Bond marketing methods paid for at taxpayer’s expense.


TCTU Introduces Round Rock Parents and Taxpayers Association

Finally – a new kind of “PTA”!

TCTU is please to welcome more grass roots activists to the call for transparency, affordability, accountability in local government.


Round Rock Parents and Taxpayers Association

e.g. From FB postings:

My 2 cents to add to all the commentary….

This bond offering is dishonest, misleading and probably illegal! At the Westwood HS public hearing Tuesday, neither the Administration nor the Board of Trustees were able to satisfactorily answer basic questions such as actual bond/tax costs, new school boundaries, detail on any of the projects including the new proposed $150,000,000 High School #6 and $22,000,000 Natatorium. Furthermore, this is the LARGEST BOND OFFERING in the history of RRISD! This follows the $300,000,000 bond approved in 2014 and adds to the existing bond indebtedness of $800,000,000, thus generating a potential total district debt of nearly $1.4 BILLION!!

There are no definitive plans for any of these projects….they are just ideas and concepts. What the Board is really asking the taxpayers for is a $572,100,000 “blank check”!

I am always supportive of our children and teachers with sound educational disciplines and initiatives…but, this bond does not remotely achieve that. As responsible citizens, we must say NO to THIS bond!!


Travis County Taxpayer’s Union Opposes $720M Prop 1 Austin Bond

The rain fell at City Hall Monday morning ahead of Election Day. But those adamantly against the mobility bond on the ballot came out anyway to make one last plea to voters to just say “no.”

Roger Falk with the Travis County Taxpayers’ Union and “Honest Transportation Solutions” says the $720 million bond is not well-defined.


TCTU Prophetic – Travis Comm. Court takes TCTU advice to sell land!

Travis County commissioners voted Tuesday to move toward selling a downtown lot at 300 Guadalupe Street, according to an Austin American-Statesman report. The lot was purchased to be site of a new county courthouse, but last year voters defeated a $287 million bond package that would have paid for the new building—some of them reasoning that the value of the land would be better realized through private development.

On Tuesday, the Commissioners Court voted to request proposals from developers wanting to lease or purchase the site, the Statesman reported.

The county also continued in its attempt to to acquire the old federal courthouse at 200 West Eighth Street. The Depression-era building is on the National Register of Historic Places, the paper reported, noting that the General Services Administration is expected to release it as surplus property—which would mean it could be given to a governmental entity a no cost.



TCTU leads numerous small groups and voters to victory against Bond

Nov 4th, 2015

The Travis County Taxpayers Union (TCTU) believes voters made a prudent decision in rejecting the courthouse bond.  We postulate several principal issues influenced its defeat; fatigue with ever increasing downtown-focused development subsidies and congestion, frustration with unabated increases in un-affordable property taxes, a convoluted public-private real estate investment scheme that deviated from county government’s core mission, and a rejection of the influence of special interest money on our local elections.  The counties own master plan calls for a total of 126,350 sq. ft. of civil courtroom space by 2035.  The $287m courthouse scheme was for 520,000 sq. ft., the size of the Frost Bank building.  It was a perfect storm of exorbitant size, astronomical price per square foot, unpopular location and financial hocus-pocus.  We also perceive a rejection of the local, “Citizens United/Koch Brothers” style, special interest cash fueled PACs.  The “Community for Civil and Family Courthouse PAC” collected over $320,000, much of it from outside Travis county, compared to the TCTU SPAC who spent around $3,000.  Voters are tired of being manipulated by the same old politically connected consultants and ‘rubber stamp’ endorsers who have been eroding Austin affordability for two decades.  The people have spoken.  We now hope to see a more affordable plan that includes less expensive east Austin sites.



RECA joins opposition to $287M downtown Travis courthouse Bond


Travis County Taxpayers Union (plus other groups) are holding press conference against downtown courthouse Bond:
Wed. Oct 14th 
11:30 AM
Austin City Hall outdoor plaza 
TCTU analyst Bill Worsham is leading the conference


NOTE — 22-Oct-2015 —  RECA has joined opposition groups:

DRAFT Resolution TCTU has proposed against Bond, submitted to Travis GOP:

Whereas the $287 million Bond election for the proposed new downtown civil
courthouse on the November 3rd, 2015 ballot, is in addition to the $22 million
of non-voter approved debt used to acquire the downtown courthouse property
site, and;

Whereas, the most recent courthouse site selection analysis was performed in
1999-2001 by a committee consisting of Travis County and other government
employees (Sheriff, Dist. Att’y, Co. purchasing agent, Dist. Judge, Co. Att’y,
tax assessor, exec. mgrs. of other county agencies), and A Guiding Principal of
the Travis County Central Campus Study initiated in 2010 was to keep the
facilities downtown, meaning no other locations were considered or evaluated,

Whereas, over 1,000 daily individual visits are now made to the current
courthouse facility, not including 275 employees or an unspecified number of
credentialed (frequent user) attorneys, with all three numbers forecast to rise,
while only 500 combined parking spaces are pledged, and crucial parking demand
is not part of the estimated project cost, and;

Whereas, Travis County is $695 million in debt with another $91 million of
additional debt issuance already planned for 2016, and;

Whereas, the additional $287 million courthouse debt proposal is less than
one-fourth of the eventual $1.2 Billion need identified by the Central Campus
Study within 25 years, meaning a projected need of at least two additional
rounds of similar magnitude of debt issuance during the life of the currently
proposed (20-year) bonds, and;

Whereas Travis County and Austin taxpayers already suffer the highest taxes and
fees of any major metro area in Texas, and;

Whereas Travis County and Austin residents have some of the highest electric
(PEC and Austin Energy) and water bills of any major metro area in Texas, and;

Whereas the new $287 million of Bond debt would cause an increase of at least
$13 per year for the ‘average’ property owner and an unknown increase to the
‘average’ renter, and;

Whereas real estate experts predict that the proposed downtown courthouse
property could be sold for at least $30 million, and could provide desperately
needed downtown residences remitting at least $120 million in new tax levy over
the next 20 years, and;

Whereas developers predict that a low rise civil courthouse project in
non-congested east Austin could provide many acres of free surface parking and
construction costs 25% to 50% lower than the downtown project, and;

Whereas at least three Austin City Council members (Houston, Troxclair,
Zimmerman) have supported a Resolution asking the Austin City Manager to
cooperate with Travis County on locating government owned land in east Austin
suitable for the new civil courthouse, and could possibly include a combined
city/county justice center, and;

Whereas Travis County has indicated they will not consider alternatives to the
current plan unless the Bond is defeated, then,

BE IT RESOLVED that the Travis County Republican Party urges voters to vote
AGAINST the Travis County civil courthouse Bond on the November 3rd, 2015



TCTU Releases 2014 Austin Congestion Relief Suggestions in Opposition to Urban Rail

Austin has a growing gridlock issue, principally between the hours of 7 – 10 a.m. and 4 – 7 p.m.   The intensity and duration of this gridlock will likely grow with population.  There’s no end-game solution in a growing city; however intelligent upgrades and keeping up with demand controls the problem.  Austin’s the only large city in Texas with no loop connecting its urban core arterials.  San Antonio has two (IH-410 and 1604), Houston has two (IH-610 and 8), Dallas has IH-635/20, Ft Worth has 820/20 and El Paso has 375/54.

Our city has a number of urban core intersections that could be optimized to improve traffic flow.   They’re contributors to lost time, higher emissions and congestion.  Our traffic control system needs a major overhaul.  Some progress has been made by programs like the Advanced Transportation Management System (ATMS), however we need more robust efforts to fund, design and implement a next generation traffic management system.




TCTU 2014 Austin Transportation and Mobility Report, by TCTU Analyst Roger Falk



Press Conference: OPPOSITION to Austin’s Urban Rail Plans Speaks Out

For immediate release:
Austin, TX — Leaders of three diverse groups, COST, TCTU, and Affordability Austin, announce opposition to a November urban light rail proposal.
Jim Skaggs, Roger Falk, and Bill Oakey, in that order, will each speak for about 3 minutes; all will be available for follow up questions from the media.  Opposition leaders are still awaiting details of the urban rail plan; important details have still not emerged after years of “planning”.
If the Austin City Council approves an urban rail resolution June 26th, it’s likely that within 6 weeks more urban rail details will be released from the City; these individuals will have additional comments on those future developments.
Says Jim Skaggs, Director of Austin’s Coalition On Sustainable Transportation:

“The frequent reporting of surprises and bad news regarding urban rail (increasing costs, taxes and congestion) to serve low ridership, and the fact that many key rail questions proposed by the Mayor and others are still unanswered after three years, make it irresponsible to place urban rail on this November’s ballot.”

Says Roger Falk, Transportation Analyst for Travis County Taxpayer’s Union,
Even if recent ideas like homestead exemptions to lower local taxes were implemented, the ‘relief’ could be wiped out by tax increases for the proposed Urban Rail system.  Commissioner Daugherty had the only sustainable solution for escalating property taxes: Limit spending.  Voting for every ‘want’ (affordable housing, boardwalk, library, etc.) has made Austins’ per-citizen tax burden 50% higher than San Antonio’s (adjusted for the utilities).  TCTU asks voters to reject rail in November.”
Bill Worsham, TCTU Analyst and Austin City Council District 10 Candidate, has also expressed urban rail opposition points and is available via cell phone at 512-422-0998.
Says Bill Oakey of Austin Affordability,
“The route from Highland Mall to East Riverside is not a densely populated area, and would do more to help land speculators and developers hoping to attract newcomers than current residents.  The $1 billion price tag could land you a property tax increase of $160 per year within five years on a $200,000 home.  That would come on top of a multitude of other tax increases between now and then. 
WHAT: Initial announcement of Light Rail Bond opposition
WHEN: 26th June (2014),  10:00 AM
WHERE: Austin City Hall 1st floor lobby
WHY: Austin’s Coalition On Sustainable Transporation (COST), Travis County Taxpayers Union (TCTU), and Affordability Austin, enumerate reasons to vote against possible November (2014) rail bond.
For questions or more information, contact Don Zimmerman at 512-577-8842



Travis County Taxpayers Union Urges Austin Voters to Reject Unlimited Taxes and Unsustainable Debt from School Bond Propositions

Press Advisory – Travis County Taxpayers Union Urges Austin Voters to Reject Unlimited Taxes and Unsustainable Debt from School Bond Propositions
Thurs., May 1, 2014

Austin, TX —
TCTU asks voters to reject Austin area school bonds in another attempt to reign in unaffordable debt and taxes.
As a probable consequence of the TCTU lawsuit against AISD last year, the Round Rock ISD heeded a demand letter from TCTU and complied with Texas Education Code — the subject of a drawn-out legal challenge presented by TCTU attorney Stephen Casey against AISD in 2013.
Texas law (Texas Education Code Chapter 45.003)  mandates the words “…the levying of a tax sufficient, without limit as to rate or amount…”, and for the first time in more than a decade, those words appear on a school bond ballot.
TCTU Founder and Treasurer Don Zimmerman adds, “We are pleased that the Travis County GOP Executive Committee unanimously passed a Resolution against the unlimited taxes of the Round Rock ISD Bond, and also opposed other Bonds.  We note that affordability is now a non-partisan issue in the Austin area.
Parents cannot afford unlimited spending on their kids, in spite of loving them far more than the government school does.
The government school must reign in debt and taxes, pay teachers more, pay bureaucrats less, and learn to live within a reasonable budget which doesn’t demand ‘unlimited taxes’.
TCTU urges renters, home owners, and small businesses to vote AGAINST increased taxes and debt; higher rents and taxes are driving many people out of the city.”
REFERENCE:  Travis County sample ballot:
“Round Rock ISD Proposition No. 1
The issuance of $234,155,000 of school
building bonds for acquiring, constructing and
equipping school buildings and purchasing
necessary sites therefor, including acquiring,
constructing, renovating, improving and
equipping school buildings, constructing a
middle school and an elementary school,
acquiring technology replacements, upgrades
and improvements and acquiring school buses;
and the levying of a tax sufficient, without limit 
as to rate or amount, to pay the principal of and 
interest on the bonds and to pay the costs of
any credit agreements executed or authorized
in anticipation of, in relation to or in connection
with the bonds”
Don Zimmerman