I have learned so much creating the page “It’s OKAY to Vote NO, Mabank!” and, for the first time in my life, taking an interest in looking into these local matters that I vote for.

I started this because I simply couldn’t find enough information on local issues. So, I thought I would try to bring others on the journey as I checked into the school bond and learned how everything worked.

I’m beginning to understand that this bond is not just a local matter. In fact, the more I understand how the entire system works, the more helpless I’m beginning to feel.

It’s a monstrous system. It’s so far beyond Mabank ISD.

I still don’t understand everything, but I’m beginning to understand this: There are people out there who make a lot of money pushing these bonds on ISDs. They’re salesmen.

Local companies and local citizens will not be awarded the contract to build the schools and facilities. They come in from out of the area, help the ISD push a bond, build and make money off of the local taxpayers, and swoop that money right out of the area.

These bond experts, these people who will make the money off the bond, these vultures, come in and sell the ISD a plan.

These folks will come in and advise the ISD. They sell them these big, beautiful, overdone buildings that we don’t need.

Yes, we need buildings. We need space for our kids. We don’t need, as some have called it, a Taj Mahal for a pre-K.

Think about the price on that building. Think about how overdone that is.

The people who will make money building these buildings convince the ISD that this is the way to go.

They also say: Don’t start with what you really need. You have to start with what you want first and get that built. And then come in with those things that you have to have later, because you have to have them and the taxpayers will recognize that.

I’ve been banging my head up against the wall trying to understand why our board would not start with the junior high—the obvious place to start because it’s falling apart and because the population will eventually end up there anyway, and we will still be out of space.

Now I understand the scheme. And the scheme doesn’t even belong to our board; it belongs to people who are very good at scheming. This is what they do. This is how they make so much money.

Understand, this is not a neighbor-against-neighbor issue. This is a David-versus-Goliath issue. And no, our school board is not Goliath.

Goliath is the outside influences that come to the ISDs to make their millions on the backs of taxpayers. They bring in their slick designs, their overdone buildings, their plans and schemes so that they can get the most out of every ISD that they can. They invest hundreds of thousands of dollars to push bonds across Texas.

Again, I don’t really understand the whole thing. but I do get this: They’ve learned to game the system, and now they’re here pushing this.

The question becomes: Will we let them win? Will we be the next suckers on their victory list?

I hope not.

We don’t need these overdone buildings. We simply don’t.

Yes, we need the space. Yes, we need to be very smart with which project we start with because I don’t believe the taxpayers will have it the next time around.

We have to keep voting no. We have to keep voting these things down over and over again, even though the last thing we want to do is keep talking about this. That’s the only way.

The way this goes is we keep voting it down and then eventually common sense will have to enter the equation, and we will get designs for buildings that are not quite as glamorous but exactly what we need. And we’ll get the project we need first. It’s exhausting and it’s necessary.

Just know that it goes beyond our ISD. This is not a struggle between neighbors. This is a struggle between a small town and a behemoth machine that knows how to get every penny off our backs to enrich themselves.

This is a commentary published with the author’s permission. If you wish to submit a commentary to Texas Scorecard, please submit your article to submission@texasscorecard.com.

Cindy Hinds

Cindy Hinds is a Mabank mom and creator of the school bond information page titled "It's OKAY to Vote NO, Mabank!"