Tyler Says No to the School District

by admin on November 3, 2010

in Tyler Businesses

Tyler Texas School Bond

Tyler Texas School Bond

I’ve been teaching in private schools for a fairly long time now. In fact, of the four different private schools I’ve taught at, three were start up schools when I was hired. I have worked these small schools with small budgets and small student bodies for a lot of years, all the while watching students receive great educations. We’ve never had the most advanced audio- video classrooms, the fullest, most well stocked kitchens, and more often as not we would share the facility with a church or other entity.

But each of these private institutions provided their students with an education that was well above average without spending a dime of other people’s money. I’m not about to suggest that public schools can or should try to survive on the same shoe string budget as private schools do, but what I am suggesting is that our esteemed school district could stand to learn lesson from private institutions about doing more with less.

In 2004 and 2008 the Tyler Independent School District (TISD) descended from on high just long enough to announce their intention to fix or rebuild fourteen area schools at a cost of two hundred twenty million dollars. This marked the completion of the first two phases of a revitalization program that was approved by the Tyler community. Yesterday however Tylerites dared to frustrate the august school district by saying no to another eighty- nine million for the rebuilding of three more area schools. Now I don’t dismiss public schools, or public school teachers.

They are doing a tough job, often in less than ideal circumstances. But as a voter, I pay enough property tax for institutions that I don’t even use. Telling me and voters like me that the money is “for the children” is simply not enough to persuade me to vote away my income in these tough financial times. I realize that proponents of the bond claim that a raise in property taxes won’t be necessary this time around, to which I reply “famous last words…”

I know I’m just a naive private school teacher, but three hundred million dollars is a lot of money to me. And while I also understand that some schools are overcrowded TISD has a lot of problems that can’t simply be solved by dumping students into a posh new building. Cutting local and school bureaucracy might afford an avenue to finding unorthodox, and or cost effective solutions.

Unfortunately, local educational bureaucrats had already decided how they wanted to spend our money, and didn’t feel like it was necessary to explain it to us. I have a couple of suggestions: first off build it cheaper. I’m sure there some places to cut back somewhere in that nearly ninety million dollar project. Next sell us on it. Don’t assume we’re going to rubberstamp your multi- million dollar boondoggle on the basis that it’s for the children. Spend our money wisely and we’ll eventually build your school.

For more on TISD and the bonds visit their website at http://www.tylerisd.org. Also, see the article entitled Tyler School Bond Vote located elsewhere on this page.

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