by Bob & Janelle Shepard, April 5, 2013 – I would like to express my opposition to the proposed $107.32 million Weatherford ISD bond package. While this bond does address some needed issues, it is packaged with overpriced, unneeded construction projects. Why the WISD Board of Trustees and administration have chosen to offer a general bond over a specific-use bond should not be lost on those who are looking only at the positives within the package.
This bond is grouped together so as to encourage those who see the benefits will ignore all of the glaring problems contained within. In a time where our population has declined 16 percent over the last two years, personal income has fallen 32 percent during the same time, our unemployment rate is at one of the highest it’s been in 10 years at 6 percent and our per capita income is $24,622, we need to understand that economics do play a vital role in this bond election. The WISD wants us to give more while we make less money. Many people simply cannot afford the extra expense.
Furthermore, the WISD Board of Trustees should be held accountable for encumbering so much bond debt. We paid $2,675,625 in interest payments alone last year. Their 1999 bond of $97 million is still being paid off with the district owing $73,665,046 at the end of 2012. They have also allowed another $1,895,000 to be encumbered in the form of maintenance bonds. That totals $75,560,046 in current bond debt the WISD will still be paying on until 2035.
It is obvious that the board of trustees and administration have not thought this bond through. Only a little more than 12 years ago, they decided to break out the ninth grade students from the rest of the high school knowing full well there would be transportation issues. Now they want another $107 million to fix this and many other issues that should have been contemplated well before the 1999 bond. Why would we think that we will not be re-addressing the mistakes from this bond in the next 10 years?
I wrote to the WISD with questions in hopes of getting answers so I may understand and better inform my family and friends as to the true needs and necessities of the district. They did not reply. Next, I followed up with a phone call that has, to date, not been returned. These and the above actions have proven to me that the WISD board of trustees and administration are not willing to compromise on the issue of necessity over grandeur. They are not willing to accept the fact that we should not have extravagant construction projects lumped into the true necessities of the district. It is an all-or-nothing concept for them and, unfortunately, it must be nothing that we offer in return.
The WISD leadership should be held accountable. Liberal spending must stop. Conservative money management is an absolute that we must demand from our elected officials.
I ask everyone to vote against the WISD bond.