TISD bond package...down to the wire
With most electoral races decided in our area, the big issue on the Tuesday ballot is the TISD bond issue.
It totals nearly $90-million and has generated a lot of heat. But whatever the arguments for or against the school bonds, the biggest issue may just be timing.
Both sides in this fight have been holding meetings, and making their pitches.
The bonds will pay for construction of two new elementary schools and a new middle school. There are some arguments over moving or rebuilding Rice Elementary on the same site.
“The Rice community continue to be bondholders, stakeholders for us and we’re not going to do anything to upset them,” says School Board President Ron Vickery.
Even though the pro forces have explained that the bonds will not raise the current tax rate, the problem they face is perception.
And that perception is…not now, maybe later…can’t this wait.
“We as a group have been asking Dr. Reid and the Board of Trustees for more information and details about this particular election, this particular proposal for at least 6 months,” says Rick Eisenback of Grassroots America, We the People.
“ The specifics are there, they absolutely are,” Vicker counters. “We’ve answered lots of questions, we’ve had lots of bond presentations. It’s a very clear plan.”
“Basically, what we’re saying is, if taxpayers have all the facts laid on the table, they can say no to this proposal and so they can say yes to a better proposal later,” Eisenbach maintains.
“Construction costs are at an all time low,” Vickery explained. “Bond interest rates are at an all time low for us. So there are lots of good reasons for us to put this on the ballot for us to consider.”
“Most economists say we’re looking at at least another two years of the recessionary period,” Eisenbach assured us. “If that’s the case, interest rates are going to be low in another two years, construction costs are still going to be low in one or two years.”
“Well, I’ve heard people say that,” Vickery concludes, “and I’ve heard people have a very optimistic outlook about what the next two years holds. It’s very simple. We’ve answered a lot of questions. It’s a very clear plan and we’re excited to put it in front of the voters.”
The Board says that 2008 was a tough election year as well, and voters still approved the last Bond issue.
But with the recovery barely perceptible, the economic picture is much gloomier this time around.
In the end, that may be the highest hurdle TISD must clear on Tuesday.