San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas


STAFF REPORT

San Marcos school district voters will decide in May whether to authorize $76,980,000 in bonds to pay for new, renovated and expanded facilities. Trustees voted unanimously to put two measures on the ballot:


dotted line for web

Proposition 1

smcisd icon

New facilities

  • $12,700,000: Pre-Kindergarten campus
  • $5,070,000: Phoenix Learning Center
  • $13,600,000: Student activity complex

Renovations and additions

  • $4,100,000: Mendez Elementary
  • $7,600,000: Miller Middle
  • $5,860,000: Goodnight Middle
  • $800,000: Support Services

Renovations

  • $5,500,000: Hernandez Elementary
  • $1,700,000: De Zavala Elementary
  • $1,650,000: Districtwide security upgrades

Prop 1 total: $58,580,000

Proposition 2

  • $18,400,000: Football stadium

Prop 2 total: $18.4 million

Grand total: $76,980,000

dotted line for web

A swimming center at the high school was scrubbed from the proposals completely. It was originally recommended to the board as an $11.4 million natatorium then scaled down last week to a $4.4 million indoor, six-lane swimming pool. Superintendent Mark Eads told trustees he wants to work on finding different funding — “beg, borrow or steal” if necessary, he said — to pay for the full competition-sized facility instead of settling for a shrunken measure.

Trustees Lupe Costilla and John Crowley voiced reservations about the proposals and their relative fast-track to the ballot but ultimately voted in favor. Both had their favored projects, however. Costilla said she strongly supports the proposed pre-K facility. Crowley not only spoke in favor of a new stadium but advocated its expansion beyond the 8,000 seats called for in current plans.

Trustee Judy Allen, meanwhile, wanted to move the student activity center — an indoor facility for athletics, band, drill team, ROTC and other extracurricular activities — to the second proposition. Her amendment failed 5-2 with trustee Paul Mayhew’s support after Eads and athletics director Mark Soto said they opposed packaging the activity center with the stadium.

Earlier in the meeting, Eads and board president Margie Villalpando caused a stir when they limited the public comment portion of the meeting to 30 minutes, preventing about a half-dozen residents from speaking. Eads urged them to speak instead at the next meeting.

Activist Lisa Marie Coppoletta loudly protested before storming out of the meeting, saying district administrators had made a mockery of the public input process. She said later in a comment on the San Marcos Mercury that administrators stacked the speaker list to give school bond proponents more time to address the board.

Update

1:20 p.m. FEB. 26: When Coppoletta called the school district to sign up to speak at Monday’s board meeting, she told the superintendent’s secretary that she supported construction of a new administration building, Superintendent Mark Eads said. She consequently was marked down as a pro-bond speaker, he said. All opponents of the bond package were allowed to speak at the meeting; the six people who did not speak before time expired were listed as favoring the bond proposals.


CORRECTION: The total for Prop 2 is $18.4 million, not $19.3 million.

Email Email | Print Print

--

83 thoughts on “SMCISD trustees put $77M bond props on May ballot

  1. Public comments at a government meeting are sometimes illuminating, thoughtful and elevating. They are just as often — if not more so — tedious, redundant, self-serving, contradictory, ill-informed, mean-spirited, etc.

    I think I understand why someone in Ead’s position would want to limit the public comment time period. Public leaders in the trenches — leaders, as opposed to merely elected officials — live and breathe their work. They synchronize countless priorities and perspective to move something forward. They handle a crisis a day and often a different one at night. They are sometimes still working when most Joe and Josephine Sixpacks are at home with their kids, watching Parks & Rec on FOX and wondering why they can’t have a local government just as committed to the welfare of the people. In other words, they fight long odds to get important work done.

    Then people come along and try to blow it all up, sometimes just because they like to hear themselves talk. Sometimes the loudest people in the room are the ones who know the least and the ones least willing to do the endless work it takes make things work for the community. Reminds me of something George Burns said: “Too bad that all the people who know how to run [San Marcos] are busy driving taxicabs and cutting hair.” (Forgive me if I am painting with too broad a brush. I’m trying to work on my tendency to do that.)

    Having said that:

    We have a problem as a city with the breakdown of trust in the institutions that handle the gritty and messy business of governing. Turning the public away at a public meeting isn’t going to help correct that problem. I respectfully suggest it would have been better to extend the public comment period to accommodate all takers.

  2. Update (see above):

    When Coppoletta called the school district to sign up to speak at Monday’s board meeting, she told the superintendent’s secretary that she supported construction of a new administration building, Superintendent Mark Eads said. She consequently was marked down as a pro-bond package speaker, he said. All opponents of the bond package were allowed to speak at the meeting; the six people who did not speak before time expired were listed as favoring the bond proposals.

  3. Funny thing is, is that Joe and Josephine Sixpack will be the ones paying for it unless they are on our payroll. And didnt Eads grad from Texas A&M University? If yes, well Mr. Eads , your ring is tarnished! Turn it back in because at TAMU , you are taught that an Aggie never lies, steals or cheats! And since you have been at the helm of our district, there has been talk of you doing all three!

  4. Brad,

    As a member of the media, developing your own “soap box”, I would think that you would appreciate the right of citizens to speak to their elected officials, and to try to affect the decisions made. This is one of the few arenas (public comment) where people still feel they may be able to “make a difference”. I am disappointed in your comments.
    The citizens advisory panel was not open to all citizens, but I appreciate the work that was done by this group. There was dissent on that group, but that never came out in any reporting.
    There were only two instances in this process for public comment. The structuring of the bond in order to get it to pass was one of the critical issues, and many members of the board were not satisfied with the choices put forward by one person. Public inputs to give support to these elected officials so that the right choices arrived on the ballot were worth the time spent.
    Lastly, the issues with public comment were not just amount of time, but that the order of speaking was determined not by who signed up in order, but by the choice of a school district employee. But, stacking the speakers at a public meeting deciding millions of dollars more of local debt is not noted in your reporting as being “out-of-line”.
    So please, go back to your art studio, and choose your brushes more carefully. Have some respect for those in the community who choose to be active, set through meetings, and work to inform others in the local neighborhoods of decisions that affect them.

  5. And WHY did you have to reveal if you were for or against the bond before you spoke? This school board is broken and broken badly! The whole bunch of them need to be replaced!!

  6. In case anyone needs a brief synopsis of “who” the San Marcos CISD is, here you go:

    Our school district currently has about 7,332 students. Our students perform below the state average in passing TAKS scores. Fewer than half of San Marcos High School graduates are prepared for college in both English Language Arts and Math. Our teachers have roughly the same experience as the state average and are paid about the same as the state average too. Our school district spends around $4,986 per student for academic programs and $8,698 per student for all school functions.

 I will not include demographic or economic data because it is proven that regardless of race, ethnicity, or family income, all students can and should be able to learn. The time for making excuses is over.

    Further investigation leads us to information like:

    The 2011-2012 Texas Education Agency AEIS report for the San Marcos CISD that states less than 40% of San Marcos High School graduates are “college-ready.” So that means about 6 out of 10 students are not college ready when they graduate from San Marcos High School.

    (We can debate about “whether of not everyone is ‘meant’ to go to college” later. My point is that we aren’t getting a good return on your tax dollars.)

    The most recent statistics released by the Texas Higher Educating Coordinating Board tells us that only 36 percent of San Marcos High School’s 2011 graduating class matriculated to a community college or university. Once again, of the students who do graduate from San Marcos High School only 4 out of 10 students from the class of 2011 went on to pursue some type of post-secondary education.

    The Texas Tribune has also released data related to individual school district’s and STAAR test scores. In the 2011-2012 school year, 73.6% of students who took the English III End-of-Course Exam scored unsatisfactory. 



    I cannot in good conscience support the proposed bond election for a number of reasons. The most significant being that a majority of our students are not being educated. Organizations have been formed to “dismiss” these “rumors” and those “negative perceptions” but PERCEPTION IS REALITY.

    Our school board needs to focus on academics.

    Instead the school board (excluding one or two trustees) and district administration (excluding a handful of motivated campus administrators) has ignored the issues affecting our schools and instead focused their energy and time and your tax dollars on identifying capital improvement projects.

    Our students need to be put first. It won’t matter how nice a school looks or how new their iPad is when they are not prepared for life after high school.

    During the last year our school board voted to increase class sizes again this year and they are projecting a 1.5 million dollar budget deficit for the next fiscal year.

    We obviously aren’t getting the job done now and I do not believe a new “Student Activities Complex” or “Phoenix Learning Center” are going to change that.

    Our school district and it’s students has so much unrealized potential. The City of San Marcos and Texas State University are finally trying to get involved and the superintendent is going to piss that away by approaching them to help build a swimming facility. Pathetic.

  7. One way to keep the focus on academics would be to suppress the chaos and background noise of disparate policies. For example, at the junior high and high school level the choice to allow food and/or personal electronics is left up to the teacher. Some teachers allow kids to eat in class and keep their ear-buds in during class. If another teacher would rather not allow those behaviors she is fighting the pattern set by more permissive teachers. There should be no eating in class and no personal electronics PERIOD. Both those things are disruptive and disrespectful to the teacher. At every level we must free up the teachers to teach.

  8. What percentage of student statewide are considered “college ready”? How about nationally?

    I have no doubt that our school is not performing up to par…but if we had some context into the percentages, it might highlight just how far below the bar we are falling.

  9. Not sure why one of my comments is hung up in moderation, but 68% of graduates go on to college nationally (vs. our 36%).

  10. For those wary of random links:

    68% nationally
    55% in Texas
    52% for Hispanic graduate in Texas (in case that terrible excuse is offered up)
    36% in San Marcos (If that is correct. I don’t have that link)

  11. I have lived in San Marcos for 10 yrs . Before that lived in 4 cities in 3 states. Have read the Mercury’s comments for past few years. Not any of the previous places of residence have encountered a more negative group of people that seem to hate any and everything that is done by any govt entity.
    Can you be positive about anything that is going on in San Marcos? As the kids say” don’t be a hater” If San Marcos sucks so much. One word- MOVE

  12. I appreciate your remarks Juan, and your passion. If building one student housing project can fund 15 new teachers (per a recent cc meeting) then what can 77 million do to support actual education.

    As a parent of two I can tell you first hand that class sizes are too large already, inclusion classes rarely have a fully trained special ed teacher or an aid past the 4th or 5th grade, and other than field trips to the University or Natural Bridge caverns our students are not offered programs which encourage curiosity and a want/need to learn more. I wish we had a strong mentoring programs, and a stronger gifted and talented program after elementary. I have seen first-hand a lot of potential going down the drain that could have been prevented by just these two things, but I know there are many more that could be added to that list.

    I just have to shake my head when I hear the arguments that our school system is getting a bad rap, it speaks for itself. Others don’t need to try to improve on the truth to suit the perception they would like to float. As I said at the last cc meeting, transparency also means telling the truth ~ I’m glad you are willing to Juan, because an educated workforce is also one of the primary reasons touted for our inability to attract “game changing” industry. The health of our city and it’s children rely on sound decisions.

    Thank goodness for now, until things can be improved, there are free alternative High School options ~ I wish there were for Junior High as well. Juan would you be willing to share your vast knowledge and put out a list of things you feel should take priority over the stadium etc.. I’d love to see what you have to say on the matter b/c I know how much you really care.

  13. Melissa, thank you for your comments. I’m in class until later on this evening. But I’d be happy to provide a list of alternative projects or alternative programs that I believe would address the issues affecting our schools. I would have liked all projects to be seperate propositions – we as a community would then be able to discuss the merits of each project.

    On a previous thread I argued that an enormous amount of issues could be addressed if we invested early on with students who start school reading below grade level, etc. and if we invested in gifted and talented and special education. But we have to realize that it would be irresponsible to pay for academic programs (yearly reoccurring costs) with bonds. Bond elections should be used for facilities and although I might support the proposed projects in theory – when I was at SMHS I would have loved to watch the Rattlers at a stadium we called our own – I would also have liked my peers to be prepared for college and life after high school.

    I hope other members of our community will get involved in this conversation too. There is no single individual, school board trustee, superintendent, or “silver bullet” curriculum that will address all of our challenges. But I do believe we’d address a lot of these challenges if we actually talked about them.

  14. I had a wonderful conversation with the school district today and they apologized. Also a rocking conversation with Brad today too (i guess you filed the report before we spoke, but its all good in my book). I love our town, when phone calls help us get to the truth.

    It was presumptuous to assume taxpayers are either Pro or Con, they can be both. My card had “air quality, transparency, bonds” on it as reason to speak.

    I am personally in favor of the new administration building and NOTHING MORE. I challenge the Superintendent to publically release the indoor air quality report. I also challenge him to request the baseline data of the external readings of these particulates they paid a company to generate a report. The analytical notes do not give the mold external readings. If you have the external readings one can ascertain how many TIMES over the indoor mold particulate counts are in the analytical notes from the indoor air quality report.

    Why can’t citizens sign up early like we do at city hall? Why can’t the school board amend the rules to allow for full public participation for residents who race from work to attend? What … we all have to stand in line like band ticket sales to be the first one to speak or get turned away. Or, get re-shuffled in the speaker order for PRO vs. CON? Even the Dias amends these rules. Remember when the Mayor allowed EVER SINGLE SOLITARY PERSON SPEAK on a big development issue that hit the City Council “any more speakers, any more speakers.” I’d love to see this sort of leadership from the school board. Their behavior last night was embarrassing, what sort of civics lesson does this teach our students?

    It is also presumptuous to assume that we can all afford the extra tax burden in this economy. Have they checked out the medium income of this community and the price of gas? That extra money goes to my basic necessities, why am I paying for an indoor football stadium when the debate team is hosting fund raisers.

    God Bless San Marcos!!!

    Best Regards, LMC
    PS im thrilled we will have an indoor football stadium but can’t live stream the meetings for those who cannot attend to be informed – but, that’s river city for ya! This is 2013 we do have lap tops and video cameras, Show me the transparency San Marcos School District. But, that might cost us 500 million to do by your fiscal responsibility paradigm.

  15. Paulydee, I can name lots of great things going on in the city.

    The university is improving by leaps and bounds. They are putting in some great facilities that will benefit the whole community. They are also restoring a lot of green space.

    The research and commercialization center has the potential to be awesome.

    The city is taking a serious look at economic development and people are getting serious about improving the schools.

    A lot of roads are getting redone.

    The concerts in the park, as always, are awesome.

    The decision to allow the food trailers was awesome.

    Zelick’s and the B&B reached an agreement, which was partly due to the city pushing for one.

    The neighborhood commission appears to be a positive force.

    We’ve stopped offering incentives for minimum wage jobs.

    There is a push for greater transparency at City Hall.

    Railroad quiet zones will be awesome.

    The Wonder World extension and overpass are awesome.

    I could go on and on, but that wouldn’t change a thing about our schools and the numbers I posted.

  16. Sadly, these spending proposals do not address the problems in public education. Activity centers, football stadiums…and what is a Phoenix Learning Center? How will this better prepare our children for college OR jobs that pay a living wage? “OR” is capitalized for a reason. We need educational alternatives. Not all children want or need to go to university. They all need to be prepared for the next step, be it in a trade, the arts, or university. I can’t vote for this. I want to vote for education, for children, and for our future…but not this.

  17. Ted, thanks for the positive post. Agree with all are
    great. Build em up, don’t tear em down. Where is link
    to 36%, Gary’s link has totally different picture of
    district ???

  18. The Texas Education Agency releases annual Academic Excellence Indicator System reports and that is where I usually find a majority of the data I share via comment on the Mercury. If you follow the link, choose “pdf,” “district,” and then search “San Marcos,” it should pull up the most recent data compiled by the State of Texas.

    http://ritter.tea.state.tx.us/perfreport/aeis/2012/index.html

  19. I have to correct a misstatement I made earlier when citing my statistics. The 2011-2012 AEIS report compiled by the Texas Education Agency states that 38% of San Marcos High School graduates (2011) were deemed “college-ready.” Last year (the class of 2010) 50% of San Marcos High School graduates were deemed “college-ready.” That’s a twelve percent drop during one school year. Compare those numbers to the state average of 52% “college-readiness” for both years.

  20. I raced to San Marcos from Round Rock thru a wild fire on the toll road, so did not have my regular gear…via iphone – footage we uploaded last night on youtube
    http://youtu.be/femoMHI88os – School Board interpretation of state law at top of the meeting
    http://youtu.be/iJi3o4A_NkE
    http://youtu.be/69BSIgdfdpU – Shawn Blakeley
    http://youtu.be/Q1o96nINRew – Rob Roark
    http://youtu.be/5l19aBw-20w – Griffin Spell
    http://youtu.be/-lthqa7-m40 – my taking issue of the process

  21. I believe this is the link. Based on how the numbers work, and based on the inclusion of “other 4-yr” and “other 2-yr,” I’d say the “not found” and “not trackable” is largely “not in college.” Someone else may know the report better.

    http://www.txhighereddata.org/index.cfm?objectid=4BB95F16-E5BF-AF8A-CF4C46B0CF2D8185

    Some numbers from the report:

    Hays ISD 21% ACC
    9% TXST
    3% UT
    2% A&M
    48% not found/not trackable

    Dripping Springs 13% ACC
    7% TXST
    7% UT
    5% A&M
    36% not found/not trackable

    Wimberley 17% ACC
    12% TXST
    5% A&M
    3% UT
    40% not found/not trackable

    San Marcos 16% TXST
    7% ACC
    2% A&M
    2% UT
    65% not found/not trackable

  22. Looking back at past reports, there hasn’t been much movement in either direction.

    2010 43% enrolled in some kind of college
    2009 39% enrolled
    2008 42% enrolled
    2007 36% enrolled
    2006 34% enrolled
    2005 41% enrolled
    2004 45% enrolled
    2003 34% enrolled
    2002 34% enrolled

  23. In response to Melissa’s questions:

    During the last 10 years I spent more time in the schools of the San Marcos CISD than any other current school board trustee and both my peers and I were affected by the decisions made by our school board. I had the privilege of attending many of the new and or renovated schools because of the successful 2004 bond election. I want to support this bond but I cannot because I believe the process was and continues to be broken.

    As I said before, there is no silver bullet, no magic potion, and no school board trustee that can fix public education in San Marcos. It is always going to require this entire community’s involvement and participation to move our schools forward. But we as a community must realize that there is much work to be done. (The statistics offered by a number of individuals on this thread are just the tip of the iceberg. We aren’t even talking about our retention rates, graduation rates, SAT/ACT scores, or the number of students who are enrolled in AP classes and receive no college credit due to their low scores on their AP exams.)

    I personally believe that public education is responsible for creating a strong foundation of basic knowledge and skills that allows for every student to make “choices.” Whether they chose to go directly into the workforce, a four-year university, a two-year community college, or some type of trade school directly after high school is completely up to them. The school board’s responsibility should be to ensure that student’s can make that “choice” and ultimately find success.

    Like I said earlier, we might disagree on the “college-ready” argument but at the end of the day if we set the bar lower because of “demographics” or “economics” not only are hurting our community’s future economic development opportunities but we are also selling our students (your children!) short.

    In regards to the proposed bond, I wish the renovations would have been one proposition and each new facility would have been it’s own. We could have then discussed the pros and cons and the reported “benefits” of each project.

    The Phoenix Academy is our district’s alternative high school. When I graduated in 2010, 1 out of 4 graduates in my class had received their credits from the alternative high school but were and still are considered graduates of San Marcos High School. I was told that Superintendent Eads stated at the last bond workshop that if it wasn’t for the Phoenix Academy our district would be rated academically unacceptable by TEA. We could talk for hours about the reasoning for having this program and I agree, a safety net is needed, but I have seen this program abused by too many people to support a proposition that proposes we spend millions of dollars to build a new building. I would even argue that this program artificially inflates our graduation rates.

    I don’t doubt that an aquatic facility and a PreK program would both be great assets to the San Marcos CISD but the statistics that have been shared tonight clearly show we aren’t even getting this stuff right so far. I’ve said it before and I will say it again, I am tired of people being vilified for saying that things need to improve in our local school district. Is the San Marcos CISD failing our students? No. Should the San Marcos CISD and our community be doing more? Absolutely.

    The problems affecting the SMCISD are not simple ones. My solution, if you can even call it that, and some might just see this as more “platitudes” is simple. There are many ways to address our problems that do not involve debt or buildings.

    The bond hurts our student’s because it doesn’t change what is happening in the classrooms. It might change what the classrooms look like or where their classes are located but it doesn’t improve the level or quality of education they are receiving.

    I cannot tell you that I have a “solution” because I honestly don’t. But we aren’t even close to a solution because we can’t even agree on the “problem.” But obviously something isn’t working.

    My solution for now is holding our school board accountable. A majority of them have all served more than one term (three years) and there are only marginal academic improvements that can be identified.

    I am sorry for not really answering your question Melissa but if I had “the answer” I would have already shared it with the two school board trustees that actually acknowledge things aren’t working in our school district.

  24. New facilities

    $12,700,000: Pre-Kindergarten campus

    Have they identified exactly where the operations budget for this campus will come from and how much annually?

  25. Juan,

    While I appreciate your passion and your interest in college readiness, you have one gaping flaw in your argument. College readiness does not occur in high school…it starts in Pre-K. Almost half of our student arrive to kindergarten, and they are not socially or academically ready.
    They lack knowledge of letters, numbers, and colors. Any kindergarten teacher in the district will tell you they are far behind when they start SMCISD. If you talk with the kindergarten teachers or the principals at a pre-k, they can give you the supporting data that shows they are behind.

    A kindergarten student who is behind soon becomes a third grader who cannot pass a STAAR test. Many children start to experience academic failure before they are even in middle school. If you really care about “academics” as you say, it is difficult to understand how you could not support a building that would allow the district to begin to put in motion a universal pre-k. The brain research and research on the benefits of early childhood programs is very strong.

    Secondly, the building infrastructure that you are against, helps to support physical activities. I don’t know if you heard Council woman Porterfield talk about the many benefits of an activity center, but it might help you to talk with her about it. The more students we can keep students positively involved in their free time, the better.
    Otherwise, they may start making bad choices (experimenting with recreational drugs) during their free time.

    It is not my intention to poke holes in your argument. However,I do think you need to think more broadly about the needs of our students. Our problems are not quick fix solutions. The problems require looking at the entire education continuum, not just what happens in the high school.

    I am just saying…

  26. Concerned,

    I, unlike many current school board trustees and school administration, appreciate your comments whether they support my argument or not. I use “college readiness” in my comments because I believe that is our only indicator for true success. If a student is college ready but chooses a trade by choice, I am fine with that. I doubt Westlake or Lake Travis gauges success by the number of students who just pass TAKS or graduate from high school.

    My biggest argument is we haven’t identified all the problems we need to fix in our education system. We should talk about student achievemnt all year long not just when a bond election is happening.

  27. paulydee,

    Thank you for taking notice that the Making the Grade! San Marcos link has totally different picture of district. It better. The data and comparisons in the Making there Grade! San Marcos web site come directly from the TEA AEIS reports. I took the time to actually compare our district to a neighboring district and to the state, something that most don’t bother to do. Numbers don’t lie and it is plain to see what SMCISD is holding their own.

    The district is not perfect (none are) and we don’t claim it is. We however do choose to focus on the positive and promote the district as a qualified and viable institution of primary education. Is there room fro improvement? Of course. Has there been improvement? You bet. Will improvement continue? Yes. Are we better off than we were five or ten years ago? Definitely.

    Mark Eads and his teams are doing a very respectable job with educating the youth of San Marcos, and their efforts are reflected in the steady increase in test scores, graduation rates, attendance, etc.

  28. UPDATE / REALITY CHECK. I attended my first ever school board meeting Monday night, partially anyway. I showed up early and signed up to speak at what I thought would be my oppurtunity to share my support, and reservations in regards to the looming bond election proposal. I was asked, ” Are you pro or are you con” when I signed in to speak. I replied that I could not say, that I was both in support of some needs, and staunchly opposed to others. Just before the public comment period commenced, the hopeful speakers were called together and it was explained that only X amount would be allowed to speak. Seeing that if I spoke, others would not be able to, I chose to yield my place to a parent and highly informed resident that would not of been able to speak otherwise. The pro speakers were well polished orators, sold to the bone on the failed federal Head Start/Pre-K fiasco that will be forced on local taxpayers should this bond proposal somehow survive public opposition. And then, to add injury to insult, a lengthy sales-pitch was then presented by representatives of the Core-4 agenda. As I sat and listened to Kim Porterfield mime the present federally inspired agenda on the statistically failed Head-Start/ Pre-K debacle ( See many good studies at the Heritage Foundation, etc ) my stomach began to get nausiated, and I realized what special interest groups were attempting to dictate the outcome of the meeting. It was at this time that I chose to leave the meeting, realizing that my presence would be of no consequence,and that my voice would not have an oppurtunity to be heard. I find it truly sad that public input was so limited, and that the structure of this bond package will be the very undoing of it. When the real and definitive needs of our school system are bundled with the socialist desires of our elected and appointed officials, what is one to do? I , for one, will stand in staunch opposition to this quagmire, exercising my right to resist being forced to pay for something that has been proven a failure since the LBJ administration dreamed it up to buy votes over 47 years ago. America is not now ( despite the present efforts nationally ) and never shall be a socialist government, and I reserve the right to say so and do all that I can to ascertain this fact! VOTE NO TO THIS POORLY PACKAGED BOND PROPOSAL!!! 🙂 jlb

  29. Oh, being in touch with many local issues related to land use, etc, I wonder, is any new land being aquired as a result of this bond package??? Follow the trail, ya know 🙂 jlb

  30. I am seeing a lot of conversations about “college readiness.” If I would to ask every person on this post to define college readiness, every person would have a different definition. I am also seeing that about 40 percent of SMHS graduates are entering a post-secondary institution. We need to look at the bigger picture, 70 percent of SMCISD students are Hispanic and about 65 percent of all students are economically disadvantage. Nationally, in 2011 about 76 percent of Hispanics graduated high school; of that number about 20% attended a post-secondary institution with only 9 percent graduating from college. As stakeholders of the SMCISD, what can we do to help improve these numbers in our community, that’s conversation we should be having?

  31. Jaun, you make a lot of very good points. I wish that the admn could quit being salesmen and look at the needs through the eyes of an educator.

  32. 52% of Hispanic graduates in Texas go on to college.

    You are correct though, that we should be asking how we can help these students. It’s just not as much fun as marketing.

  33. Joe,

    The conversation we should be having now is why is Making the Grade ¦ San Marcos only reporting half of the story. Let’s compare ourselves to districts other than Hays ISD or Austin ISD. If we compare ourselves to Comal ISD, Wimberley ISD, or Eanes ISD things aren’t so pretty.

    Another conversation we should be having is why does the superintendent lead the board meeting? We elected seven school board trustees but from what I’ve heard about Monday’s meeting…there are eight school board trustees in the San Marcos CISD. Limiting the number of speakers, regardless of board policy, and the fact that no trustee had the character or backbone to demand to hear from the citizenry proves that our board is dysfunctional.

    Another conversation we should be having is that not only are Hispanic students not being educated in the San Marcos CISD but white students aren’t either. I will post the statistics later from AEIS but college readiness has decreased and SAT/ACT scores have decreased. And it isn’t just the “economically disadvantaged” or “minority students.” Every student is being impacted by the problems in our schools.

  34. ‘And it isn’t just the “economically disadvantaged” or “minority students.” Every student is being impacted by the problems in our schools.”

    I can attest to this and have seen it my children’s peers and in my youngest child. School is boring, teachers don’t have freedom to veer from the course of teaching to the test and ignite real excitement and curiosity that leads to critical thinking skills and passion in our students. This is a nation-wide problem though, and it’s like beating your head against a wall if you think that should change.

    Why not have a bond election on getting some experts in who have turned around inner city schools that face the same problems that we do in demographics. Consultants who have a proven track record of taking schools where the bar has been set way too low for way too many reasons to come in and give us a game plan for success in turning our schools around. It has been done successfully elsewhere and in much more dire circumstances than we find ourselves in here.

    We hired professionals to assist with our Master Plan that is currently being revamped, why not put the same time and effort into SMCISD?

  35. Juan Miguel,

    If you are so down in the mouth about there Making the Grade! San Marcos campaign, why did you send a request to become an ambassador? I get the feeling that you’re nothing more than a sore loser who didn’t get elected to the school board and now you’re doing anything and everything to throw fuel on the fire to make yourself look better in the public eye in hopes of winning in the next election. Keep in mind that had you been elected, you would have been at that school board meeting last week and thus would have been a part of that very same group that you call dysfunctional.

    Juan Miguel, I’ve met you and listened to you speak when you ran for trustee. You certainly have more smarts and class than to lower yourself to petty name calling attempts to discredit a grassroots campaign aimed at spreading positive information about SMCISD.

  36. Mr. Gannon,

    I believe that although we should support our schools and share their accomplishments with the community, we do our students a disservice when we ignore the challenges they are facing on a daily basis. The “praise publicly, criticize privately” philosophy has gotten us to where we are today.

    We cannot just compare ourselves to “similar” districts because when our students enter college or the workforce nobody cares if our school district was “just as good” as a neighboring school district. I’ve attended board meetings prior to my campaign and I continue to attend board meetings because I do believe in our students and our schools. But it should be obvious that I’ve lost faith in a majority of our elected officials and school district leadership. I’m not going to get into the “what I would have done’s” but I will say that if I had been up there on that school board I would have let the people speak. (Could you imagine what would have happened at the city council meeting if only six people were allowed to talk the night of the Capes Camp vote? There would have been a riot…)

    I understand that the business community and real estate community have a vested interest in our schools but we will always have “perception” problems until we actually address the issues that cause these “perceptions.”

    I did in fact attend the kick-off of the Making the Grade Campaign and signed up to be an ambassador because I had hoped this group would have been a grassroots campaign to support and improve our schools but all I have seen is an elaborate marketing strategy.

    Some people might see my comments as nothing more than a sore loser venting but I currently do not pay property taxes, I do not have children within the school district, and I am a moderately successful student at Texas State University. The only reason why I keep spending my time at school board meetings and commenting on the Mercury is because I do care. I’m not trying to improve the image of the school district to sell property.

  37. Ted,

    I understand you stated that 52 percent of high school Hispanics go to college, you know this how many of them continue after the their freshman year? This is a major concern for ALL students. The number of Hispanic students actually graduating with a bachelors degree is in the 9-12 percent range (U.S. Census).

    Joe,

    You are right, when comparing schools you must compare to similar school district in size and demographics, that is the way the state does it. You would have to compare SMCISD to districts like Hays CISD, Del Valle ISD, Manor ISD, or Seguin ISD. As for the school board, I have no opinion, all I can say is that we elect our school board members and it seems every election the numbers have been low in people actually voting and candidates running in the school board elections.

  38. $12,700,000: Pre-Kindergarten campus

    Have they identified exactly where the operations budget for this campus will come from and how much annually?

    The reason I asked is the presentation made at city council by the University Provost put a annual price tag of $2 million. I sensed he wanted the city taxpayers to pick up the cost although he did not say for sure. A annual expense like that would surely require a tax increase of the city tax rate on top of the school tax rate increase if passed.

  39. Precisely Watson! Many social programs being pushed from the federal, state level, mostly federal, are unfunded down the road, after perhaps a teaser period to get you hooked! This is my fear, in 10 or 15 years if I decide to retire( yea right) I certainly don’t want to be faced paying the bill for this statiscally failed ideology. Many older retired people simply can’t be burdened with over-taxation, their incomes are fixed, etc. Programs to deal with irresponsible parents would get my vote, ending the kiddie mills and subsequent public funded daycares, at taxpayers expense, is tantamount to our country recovering from the ” Great Society” failures…just saying. 🙂 jlb

  40. Joe, I don’t have those numbers, but I would love to see us get more kids all the way through college. Getting them in is the first step, and we are behind in that regard.

  41. Watson,why would the Pre-K be funded out of the city budget and not the school budget? Also, at age 65 your property tax amount is frozen.

  42. From the “Making the Grade! San Marcos website: Question: Why is the campaign being conducted by a volunteer group of marketing/communications professionals instead of the school district?

    Answer: It is one thing for the SMCISD to bang their own drum, but it is quite another for a volunteer group of business professionals to do so. The school district could easily disseminate the same information, but it would likely be viewed with a high level of skepticism. For a group of business professionals to promote the school district and put their names behind it creates greater believability.

    I disagree. Follow the money…..

    From Juan Miguel, above: “I’m not trying to improve the image of the school district to sell property.” “I believe that although we should support our schools and share their accomplishments with the community, we do our students a disservice when we ignore the challenges they are facing on a daily basis. The “praise publicly, criticize privately” philosophy has gotten us to where we are today”.
    Although I’ve only met him once, I do not doubt his absolute sincerity, as a recent (exceptional)product of SMCISD, unlike the “testimonials” of SMHS gradutes on the Making the Grade!San Marcos website, who haven’t been in these schools in 20-40 years…..

    To Gary Gannon: How typical in today’s political climate to attack the messenger to spin a message. It doesn’t help the image your group is trying to project. If your position is defensible, then you should be able to defend it without personal attacks.

    And would someone please edit/proof read/spell-check the Making the Grade!San Marcos website. The mistakes are glaring and embarrassing,and don’t speak well of the “education” of those in the district.

  43. Wow!

    It seems as if so many people on this website are so quick to criticize our schools, but so few want to step up to the plate and provide the schools with the support they need to become better.

    The bond issue as written will require very little from taxpayers. In fact most people’s taxes will go up less than $12.00 a month. In my opinion, that will help our schools tremendously. Some of the people who are complaining will also qualify for exemption if they are over the age of 65.

    The proposed package would alleviate the drain on the maintenance and operation budget that the school needs to address all of the building issues. In other words, when the maintenance and operations budget is not drained, the school district can spend money on other programs that help students become more successful. Programs like tutoring, AP and dual placement courses that support college readiness, after school programs, etc. (I think that you support those programs, Juan)

    It other words, if we keep draining our budget for maintenance issues on buildings, we will never get ahead on providing supportive programs for our students. It is simple math…really!!!

    It works the same for individual households. If every month you are spending money fixing an old house up, you will have less discretionary funds for your family for enrichment.

    We can all complain about how things should have been done by earlier architects and contracts…but the bottom line is that we are not getting any better by complaining about what should have been accomplished 5 years ago!

  44. WOW, now I know why SM are the Rattlers- alot of Venom in this town. Something in that river water? Build it up, don’t tear it down.

  45. I think it is naive to suggest that by adding more facilities, the maintenance costs to the district will go down. The district fed us that same line when they passed the last bond which tore down old schools and build new ones in their place. I remember “curb appeal” was pitched as the answer to improve results and lower maintenance costs. It did neither. And minimizing the tax impact by focusing on an “average home” or senior exemptions ignores the fact that the district is proposing that $77 million come out of the private economy and into the public sector — that will cost jobs and eat up money that could be more effectively used in other ways. And for what? The positive bump of universal pre-k goes away completely by the third grade; Phoenix cheapens a degree to the point it is of little value; and the proposed football field will be far inferior to the one we use for practically free.

    The Juan Miguel/Making the Grade performance wrestling match and Jaimy’s regrettable rhetoric about some of our poorer neighbors obscure the real argument — the helpful proposals for renovation and needed expansion are buried so deep in a pile of crap that I have to oppose something I would otherwise support. No and No.

  46. JLB,

    I suggest you read multiple sources of data and information on Pre-K. If you had spent any time at all in a pre-k classroom in the last ten years, you would realize all of the quality learning that occurs in the classroom.

    I am hoping that you don’t confuse early childhood education and day care…because the two are very different.
    There are so many studies that show time and time again that early childhood education programs make a difference. All teachers of our pre-k programs in San Marcos have a college degree. They provide developmentally appropriate curriculum that promotes the development of language and help to instill behaviors that will help children be successful.

    Why is that important? Because standards for operating a day care or a home are very minimal in Texas. To operate a licensed day care home in Texas, you need only 8 hours of certification. In fact to operate a licensed daycare home, you need less hours than you would to cut hair in Texas. That is not to say that there are not some good day cares in San Marcos, however, only two meet the highest standards for accreditation.

    A quality pre-k would allow all of our children to be on the same level when they start school. It would erase the fact that children don’t
    all have a wonderful and enriching environment at home before they start school.

    Not your problem? Don’t count on it. You pay for the educational
    inequities in many ways through your tax dollars. You pay for them when students have to have remedial education, special education, or they drop out of school. Often students don’t catch up…they get further behind.

    I am not clear why you wouldn’t be for supporting young children and giving them every chance they can to be successful. I hope it is not to punish them because they don’t have parents that have economic circumstances that resemble your own.

    By saying all of this, I understand you won’t change your position. I would hope that your counter arguments come from factual information on not rely on your own personal bias.

  47. I’d never even heard of the Making The Grade San Marcos organization until this thread of posts. Imagine my appalled surprise when I visited the website and found that I was at the top of the list of testimonials.. Disgusting. Whomever copied and pasted my comment from a prior Mercury article and thought it was OK skim the nice parts in order to further the Making the Grade agenda lacks considerable professional ethics. You absolutely had no right to re-post my comment – out of context – from this website as a testimonial for your campaign.

    It’s true, my kids teachers have for the most part been great. For the most part. If you want to contact me directly, I will tell you what the other “part” is. I’ll tip my hand a bit and tell you that my kids excel in school because my husband and I spend A LOT of time working with them on homework. I know this is NOT commonplace among other parents in the district – per the teachers hushed laments. I will tell you that my son was repeatedly bullied, punched, and threatened while in elementary school and despite telling both the school and transportation department about it, the only way we got resolution was by pressing charges – WITH THE POLICE – for a 5th grader! That is just the tip of my 3.5 year experience with the SMCISD.

    The TEACHERS at my kid’s elementary school have been great. However, dealing with district administration has been an extremely unpleasant experience. We have no plans on sending our kids to SMHS at this point in time. Post that on your Making the Grade website.

  48. Advocate for SMCISD:

    “A quality pre-k would allow all of our children to be on the same level when they start school. It would erase the fact that children don’t
    all have a wonderful and enriching environment at home before they start school.”

    This is such a ridiculous statement! I can equate your statement to taking all puppies to Pet Smart for their training classes. Each puppy gets the same amount of quality training (teaching), but does each puppy “graduate” from class at the same level? No, they don’t.

    I’ll take it a step further, why wait to enroll the children in Pre-K? Why not just let the parents have the child for about a month after birth and then enroll the child in a government program?

    If your statement were true, there would be no need for testing in schools, as all children would be at the same level at all times (of coarse, after the bond passage).

    No two children (or puppies) are the same, nor do they learn at the same rate. If the child doesn’t have a “wonderful and enriching environment at home” by your standards, is your next bond proposal going to be inspecting, evaluating and judging each child’s home situation to determine whether the child needs more governmental schooling and less parenting?

  49. Just a couple of things.

    Not all school taxes are frozen when one reaches 65-yrs. Senior citizens are taxed at the normal rate to pay off bond issues. Ask your board member or the Supt. for a more complete explanation.

    There should not even be talk about the city of San Marcos being involved in public school funding. In case you haven’t noticed, school districts are “indedpendent,” as in SMISD. They have their own taxing system and administration. And the SMISD takes in a considerable amount of territory outside the SM city limits, such as Martindale. Taxes raised under the auspices of the city can not be used to pay for any school system debt, or even simple expenses. In fact, it would probably be illegal. Any city council member who supported funding public schools through the city should be removed for ignorance of the powers of their position.

  50. I mentioned earlier that the challenges in our school district are impacting all students and not just the “economically disadvantaged” or “minority students.” Here is the the 2011-2012 AEIS report released by the Texas Education Agency that addresses my comments. Here is the link, select “AEIS report,” “PDF,” “Campus Name,” and search “San Marcos.” http://ritter.tea.state.tx.us/perfreport/aeis/2012/campus.srch.html

    SAT/ACT Scores:

    In 2011 of the students that took the SAT or ACT test only 13.8% were deemed “at/above criterion.” Demographically, Hispanic students (9.4%) and White students (23.5%)

    In 2010 of the students who took the SAT or ACT test only 22.1% were deemed “at/above criterion.” Demographically, Hispanic students (12%) and White students (43.1%)

    SAT Scores:

    In 2011 the average SAT score for a student at San Marcos High School was a 932. Demographically, Hispanic students (886) and White students (1013).

    In 2010 the average SAT score for a student at San Marcos High School was an 973. Demographically, Hispanic students (905) and White students (1092)

    ACT Scores:

    In 2011 the average ACT score for a student at San Marcos High School was 18.4. Demographically, Hispanic students (17.6) and White students (20.5)

    In 2010 the average ACT score for a student at San Marcos High School was 18.9. Demographically, Hispanic students (17.4) and White students (22.1)

    College-Ready Graduates:

    English Language Arts:

    Class of 2011: All Students (50%), Hispanic students (44%), and White students (63%)

    Class of 2010: All Students (61%), Hispanic students (54%), and White students (78%)

    Mathematics:

    Class of 2011: All Students (58%), Hispanic students (54%), and White students (70%)

    Class of 2010: All Students (61%), Hispanic students (53%), and White students (81%)

    Both Subjects:

    Class of 2011: All Students (38%), Hispanic students (31%), and White students (53%)

    Class of 2010: All Students (50%), Hispanic students (39%), and White students (73%)

    There have been a number of times when members of the school board have been called racist because they advocated for only a certain population within the school district. An example of this could be…

    “Well we need to help the economically disadvantaged students” or “we have to help Hispanic students because they make up a majority of our school district.” I can agree partially with both previous statements because at least someone is trying to help some students in our district. But the numbers do not lie. It doesn’t matter if you are red, white, blue or green and it doesn’t matter if you live in a $40,000 house or a $400,000 house. Your students are being impacted by the challenges in our schools.

    For a school district that is very marginal in academic accomplishment for at least 10 years, verifiable by TEA data, I am disturbed that a significant amount of new debt will be dedicated to things other than academics.

    Once again, I support athletics, I support Rattler Football, Diamond Line, Band, Basketball, Track, Cross Country, Tennis, Soccer, Volleyball, Weight Lifting, ROTC, Student Council, etc. etc. But I also support our students enough to realize that a new swimming pool, in-door practice facility, and stadium is not going to change the dynamics of the SMCISD in a positive way that will impact students beyond high school. If we are trying to address “obesity” and other health related issues then I want the superintendent to explain how the student activities complex is going to do that. I haven’t heard his plan. All i’ve heard is “assumptions.”

    In regards to PreK, most positive data related to PreK is based on Head Start. The PreK program proposed by SMCISD is a vastly reduced scale of Head Start – more students per teacher, no parental component, no health care component, no dental component, no free immunizations, no community development, etc. Head Start has had major problems implementing the theory and principles of their own program – i.e. quality control is a major problem. SMCISD has similar issues – we have great ideas but terrible implementation and quality control. Since we are mediocre (average to below average per AEIS reports from TEA going back 10 years) for grades K-12, why on earth do we think we can do a great job with PreK? Financial success (as proposed by district administration) depends on about 30% of the kids paying $4,000 tuition each year – what data supports this forecast? How many years of financial losses can the budget tolerate? (We are already projected to have a 1.5 million dollar deficit next year!) Every parent who pays to send their child/children to some other type of PreK already, in my opinion, is not going to be interested in the SMCISD PreK program.

    The renovations I can support but as stated earlier there is just too many strings attached to them that I cannot support proposition one. Ladies and gentlemen, we need to break the cycle of hoping that if we build new schools the quality of education will improve. We need to support our teachers, students, and parents. It was said in 2004 that if we renovate our schools they could invest in the classrooms and here we are almost a decade later and we are still an average/sometimes below average school district and that’s during a good year.

  51. @ Advocate For SMCISD….You are right, no matter how many baseless ” Pro-Government” doctrinal speeches you orate to me, I refuse to buy your bill of goods. There are too many substantive surveys that shoot your socialist dribble boat completely out of the proverbial water! 47 years of failure demonstrated by vote-pandering policies can not validate your argument, however, sets mine firmly in stone. Yes, you would be happier if you could derive, or provide others with, a craddle to grave socialist mandate that forces productive, sensible, responsible citizens to pay for the care of those that deliberately game the system to avoid personal responsibility. I am sorry, BenFranlin had it right, paraphrased, simply.. ” The more you hand the poor without requirement of accountability, the greater their poverty will become” and ” The only way for the poorto escape their poverty is to force them from it”. Ben was a brilliant inventor, statesman and valuable founding father of great country. I suggest we look to those that get it right, and away from those that do not! Happy Trails Folks 🙂 JUST SAY NO TO THE RIDICULOUS BOND PROPOSAL- VOTE NO!! jlb

  52. Juan Miguel, bond issue aside, I appreciate you bringing those numbers to light and advocating for all of our students. We’ve needed more of that for a long time now.

  53. @ SKEPITICAL….I HAVE NO REGRETS, REGRET IS AN EMPTY AND MEANINGLESS WASTE OF OTHERWISE VALUABLE TIME. I do have empathy for my less fortunate brothers and sisters in the world,however, I simply choose to pursue accountability rather than failed entitlement solutions. Example, our failed president has made it his mission to remove the work requirement from welfare recipients, ascertaining that they will be rewarded with taxpayer entitlements for yet more and more fatherless children that you feel I should be responsible for! Sorry, I want you to pickup the tab on this one, I choose to refrain, for different reasons than you apparently choose to. 🙂 jlb

  54. Jim

    Not sure if I am for or against funding Pre-K from my city taxes but I’m quite sure you are wrong that it would be illegal. Other cities are doing it (San Antonio). What I would love to know however from anybody who has followed this bond discussion closely is if there are sufficient resources (money) in the school district budget to fund the operation of the $12 million Pre-K campus proposal or are they hoping the city will fund that. Please Brad or someone help us find out.

  55. Quite unfortunate that real infrastructure needs were bundled with the federal education push for the craddle to university machine that is on its way to dysfunctional status. Please read the report issued by Moodys recently in the Huffington post, an overall downgrade of not only the real value of university degrees verses costs, and the actual universities soundness as well. I sense a strong push from Texas State University, vicariously orchestrated through the Core 4 group, Kim Porterfield, etc, and smell a rat in the room. If you want to truly help our young citizens, it would be a good time to begin supporting programs like career education, etc. Gary Job Corp program is failing, like many other federal programs intended to help train or educate citizens. We have always supported GJC in my business and tried to help these youth find a productive place in society, however, the astronomical cost burdens are outweighing the benefits. Bringing our tax dollars back to the local arena, where we can oversee and disseminate the viable programs from those that are failing is truly tantamount to the healing process of our country. The Department of Education is failed and needs to be downsized and restructured, in order to place the decision making authority and funds back into the hands of those that best understand the specific needs, etc. This bond election has for me exemplified this well known truth being discussed in our country now. It is time for change, real change that produces real results. 🙂 jlb

  56. This is going to sound glib, but is it possible that the class of 2011 was just not as smart (relatively speaking – numbers are poor in both years) as the class of 2010? It’s startling to see the numbers drop from one year to the next across the board in such radical amounts.

    As to the question of publicly funded pre-k, I oppose the concept on one basic principal – as Juan Miguel noted, our school system has our kids for 13 years now and can’t do anything with them. What makes us think that giving them one more year at age 4 will change *anything* about that.

    Let’s not throw more good money after bad. Instead of publicly funded daycares for our 4 year olds, let’s find ways to improve the education levels of grades 1-12.

  57. $32 million for sports? Seriously? $12.7 million for Pre-Kindergarten campus? No way.
    Put our efforts into proven academic programs and into increasing teacher’s salaries and you’ll have my vote. Otherwise, I ain’t buying.

  58. Exactly Patrick! Apparently though, bond monies can’t be used for operation expenses (salaries, cost of programs and additional staff) ~ I believe Juan mentioned that and a former city planner that has worked in several different cities during his career told me the same thing last night when discussing another topic.

    So if these things can’t be obtained by bond, then how? Anyone?

  59. Melissa,

    I can say with about 99.9% certainty that you cannot pay for reoccurring costs with bond monies. For example, if we spent 10 million dollars in bond money to pay for teachers, how would we pay for them after that 10 million dollars is spent.

    However, I do believe we are off to a good start in regards to “addressing,” “fixing,” and “supporting” our schools. We must first identify the problems within our schools. Student Achievement, District Administration, and Fiscal Responsibility have already been mentioned in this thread. I personally would also like to add Community Engagement to our list of priorities. Not only should parents or guardians be more involved in their child’s education but our community must also be advocate for student achievement and fiscal responsibility.

    There is a school board election coming up this May. The filing deadline is tomorrow evening at 5:00 p.m. Candidate filing packets can be picked up at the San Marcos CISD Central Administration Building located on 501 South LBJ Drive.

    The term for our District Four (Kathy Hansen) and District Five (John Crowley) trustees are about to expire. I am attaching a link to the map that shows in which area we all reside in. I am also attaching a list of who the current trustees are and which district they represent.

    http://www.smcisd.net/files/filesystem/SMCISD%202012%20At-Large%20Polling%20Places.pdf

    District One, David Castillo
    District Two, Margie Villalpado
    District Three, Lupe Costilla
    District Four, Kathy Hansen
    District Five, John Crowley
    At-Large, Judy Allen
    At-Large, Paul Mayhew

    As far as how to we address our student achievement issues. We need to talk about them. Not just on this thread but out in the community. Educate your friends and neighbors and have them get involved and contact their representatives on the school board. As one of the highest (I need to check my numbers but maybe even THE highest) taxing entity in Hays County, we have to demand a higher return on our investment. These are you kids, literally.

  60. Melissa,

    I don’t know anything about it, but my guess is increasing the tax rate and electing a school board that is committed to doing those things.

  61. To: Watson.

    You mention that the city of San Antonio is funding Pre-K programs. I suspect that the districts in question operate within the city boundaries. SMISD operates within and outside the San Marcos city limits. That is a big difference.

    Oh, and just because SA is funding Pre-K doesn’t necessarily mean it’s legal. Their mayor is a radical much like our President. Neither has much respect for law or custom.

  62. I think Comrade Castro created a special tax to fund the Pre-K “publicly funded” daycare system in S.A. Big push from his leader at 1600 Penn to get school districts nationwide hooked into this new expansion of the failed Head Start entitlement program…..growing guberment is all that they understand. Mr Duncan at the Dept. Of Education probably has his hands all over it, as do the teachers unions, where they exist, to expand their workforce, etc. Yep~! jlb 🙂

  63. I know that bond monies cannot be used for operating expenses. My point is that $50 million spent on publicly-funded daycare and athletic monuments is way, way over the top, even in the best of times.
    I wonder, do our city leaders know that there’s an economic crisis underway and that it was caused by wildly irresponsible spending and unsustainable public debt? Do they understand that our money is being devalued? Do they know that every employed person is paying more in federal taxes now than on December 31? Small businesses are suffering. New business startups are at a record low. Do they understand that wages are stagnant and have been since 2008? Tax-payers have had to cut back. I know I have. But none of this matters. Do you know why? Because we want a multi-million dollar football stadium and “free” daycare for all, that’s why.

  64. As someone who has taught numerous adults and children how to read, completely disagree with all this pre-K funding. We need to focus on preparing today’s high school students for tomorrow’s jobs. There is no linkage between an indoor football stadium and obtaining jobs. Is the administration building in the package? I don’t see it. Shift happens http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=emx92kBKads Again, in this economy who can afford the extra tax burden? It only takes one good teacher or citizen to turn an “at risk youth” student around. We used to work with the kids before the Phoenix school was even a twinkle in the district’s eye. GO HOME SCHOOL!!!

  65. Juan,

    While you have proved that you can read an AEIS report, you don’t seem to be advocating for any policies that will actually help kids. Put more money into Dual credits and AP courses and close down Phoenix? Really?

    So I guess you are in favor of having more students in our community drop out of school and increasing the drop out rate? Because that is exactly what would happen if you don’t have an alternative education experience.

    I am sorry, but I think you need to study Educational issues a bit more closely.

    I think you are taking a position just to support your candidacy and not supporting what is best for children in San Marcos!

  66. Alternative schools are (IMO) a big part of the problem. When our education system was strong, you didn’t see them everywhere – you went to school, period. Then, somewhere along the line we started lowering expectations. Then we started catering to the lowest denominator. Now, districts expend an incredible amount of resources on alternative schools, mainstreaming, no child left behind, etc…..then we wonder why there aren’t sufficient resources to provide quality educations for our youth.

    Like so many other areas in our society, we’ve become so engrossed in saving those on the fringes from themselves that we’ve practically forgotten about the rest of the kids altogether.

  67. Sad State of Affairs,

    If I learned anything from when I ran in 2012 it was that talking about our test scores, demanding more accountability, and asking that we have honest conversation hurts any school board candidates chances at winning a seat on our local school board.

    I am an advocate of raising our expectations. Anytime I hear someone say we have to compare ourselves to “similar school districts” I take that as “we need to lower our expectations.”

    I don’t have the answers and I never claimed that I did. All I’ve said in the hundreds of words I’ve posted on dozen of threads is that we need to raise our expectations and stop supporting the status quo in our school district.

    We obviously do not agree on the educational issues impacting our schools and maybe you don’t think there are any but I’d love to hear your thoughts and I’d like to talk with you and others about our schools. If anyone can disapprove the “perception” I have about a majority of our students not being ready for life after high school I welcome and encourage your comments.

  68. Dano,

    When our education system was strong? Our school system might not be strong, but it never was. It sounds like you’re making up an imaginary golden era of education.

  69. Football and free daycare!
    Meanwhile, a fresh reality check:
    March 1, 2013: Income tumbled 3.6 percent, the largest drop since January 1993. Part of the decline was payback for a 2.6 percent surge in December as businesses, anxious about higher taxes, rushed to pay dividends and bonuses before the new year.
    Taking into account the higher taxes that went into effect at the start of the year, the squeeze on households was even greater. The income at the disposal of households after inflation and taxes plunged a 4.0 percent in January after advancing 2.7 percent in December.
    http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/03/01/us-consumer-spending-idUSBRE9200K520130301

  70. As our nation moves towards a place of accountability, what will we do might I ask with the buildings ( Pre-K / Head Start ) that will no longer have a purpose once the failed LBJ programs finally go away???? Perhaps it is time to start teaching parents to be accountable for their actions, I and many others refuse to do it for them… 🙂 jlb

  71. I am really bothered by this line :Trustees Lupe Costilla and John Crowley voiced reservations about the proposals ” and they still voted for them. This way if it goes well, they were supporters and if it doesn’t then they have “reservations” They should have either made proposals that they could support or voted against those they can’t support.

    John Crowley is up for re-election in May. Please remember that John Crowley voted to spend money on an election that would have been better spent int he classroom. http://smmercury.com/2011/10/27/san-marcos-cisd-trustees-opt-to-keep-may-elections/

  72. I was talking to one of the citizen members of the bond committee yesterday and learned that the stadium and other sports building will be next to the school, which seems like a good idea, until you hear that they are going to tear up some of the fields and track that are just getting established to put the stadium there and then move other fields further away from the building. I don’t agree with destroying what we just paid for. The football stadium should be put in back of the school or perhaps even across the street from the school – but not on top of what is already there.

    Also, if you have ever been to an outdoor sporting event – there is already no parking. Where will football fans park?

    So much of this money seems to be to fix buildings that are not even paid for – how do I know that this money will be spent on quality projects?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

:)