Not only did Keller ISD conduct a pre-bond campaign research poll specifically designed to manipulate November’s voters in potential conflict with state law, but the crony contractors they will hire if the proposition passes are also funding the pro-bond PAC operating the “Vote YES” campaign.
According to campaign finance reports, over 96% of the $25,890 in contributions to “Vote Yes for Keller Schools” came from either employees of contractors who will be hired by KISD, or directly from the companies themselves.
VLK Architects, Pogue Construction, TNP, Corgan Associates, Northstar Builders Group and Eric Hanfield were the largest contributors, with each contributing $1000 to $5000. The United Education Association, Inc. also gave $500 to the cause.
We’ve previously reported on the collusive relationship between the Fast Growth School Coalition (FGSC), school board trustees, the “educrat” establishment, and the construction industry who all profit off bonds filled with over-priced projects.
In fact, Keller ISD Superintendent Dr. Reid, is Vice President of the FGSC, a voluntary association of ISDs who’ve organized for the explicit purpose of lobbying legislators to raise your property taxes and eliminate existing borrowing limits. And yes, the lending, investing, design and construction firms like Pogue who stand to profit are also FGSC’s “Corporate Partners”, according to their own website.
Due to excessive debt, districts like KISD are near the current $0.50 property tax limit, with a total taxpayer liability of over $1.4 billion (including principal & interest), or over $42,000 per student. That’s nearly three times the state average in a state with the second highest, per capita local debt.
Without property tax limits, districts like KISD will be able to continue their endless borrowing binge, providing plenty of capital to contractors who then turn around and finance future “Vote YES” PACs to pressure voters into approving even more.
It’s a vicious cycle…but the corruption has much deeper roots.
At this year’s Texas Association of School Boards (TASB) Convention, companies like VLK Architects schmoozed school board trustees at Pappas Brothers’ Steakhouse with wildly expensive steak dinners…and unlimited bar tabs.
Even worse, since each district pays for their own officials and bureaucrats to attend the convention, hard-working taxpayers are on the hook for both event admission and a four-night stay at luxurious hotels, which can total over $1400 per attendee.
Not only do voters need to see the total cost of bond propositions on the actual ballot (which Keller ISD refused to do), they should understand that ominous bond projects largely benefit crony contractors, not kids.
Next time you see a “Vote YES” sign, remember, an architectural firm likely paid for it.
On November 4th, help kids and their tax-paying parents, not contractors.