— Roo sophomore asks voters to back WISD bond
I am writing as a concerned student of Weatherford High School. I would like to ask each of you to take a moment to understand the severity of this bond and the long-term effect it will have on students. I am pleading with you all to have an open mind for a moment.
Many community members enjoy watching their children and grandchildren participate in activities like dance, baseball and softball, track, choir; these are some of the many activities in which students must board a bus each day in order to participate in these activities. Our district has done its very best to make this work efficiently, but unfortunately the time missed by leaving one class early and then the time missed by arriving to a class late has taken a major toll on both teachers and students.
Not only is it a matter of lost time in the classroom, it is also a matter of safety and energy. The amount of gas used for buses to be running all day long could be better utilized in other areas, but until we have a centralized high school we must continue to run buses. Also, by exiting and leaving schools so often we come to an issue of safety. The constant exiting and entering of campuses means that no school is ever secure; there must be doors unlocked and available at all times.
As a 10th grader, I realize that the majority of changes the bond would bring to the district will not greatly affect me; however, as an informed student and member of society who hopes to see WISD students flourish I realize that the passing of the WISD bond is absolutely imperative for progress in our schools. Creating a centralized high school is inevitable so it is just a matter of time before we act, and there is no better time than now.
I am pleading with you to vote yes to the WISD bond, to vote yes to the bettering of safety and education throughout our district, and to vote yes to the future, to our kids.
Emma Beaird, WHS sophomore
Writer backs Carter for WC board
I strongly encourage Parker County voters to re-elect Elaine Carter to the Weatherford College Board of Trustees. She has served in that capacity since being appointed in 2009 and then elected in 2011.
She has supported the college with her thoughtful ideas, honest opinions and firm direction. She provides guidance with her expertise in fire science, library science, overall community affairs and education and experience with students.
Elaine is a 1972 graduate of Weatherford High School and 1987 graduate of WC and is a former employee of the college, having served as the Streib Computer Center director. She is an experienced firefighter and EMT, having graduated from numerous Texas A&M courses. She also volunteered many years as a local volunteer firefighter. Elaine was also instrumental in creating, implementing and presenting fire prevention programs, along with Lt. David Brown and Fire Marshal Kurt Harris for various grades in WISD as well as area Parker County schools.
Elaine also serves and supports the college by serving on the WC Foundation Board of Trustees to help provide opportunities that can be afforded to the students of all ages in Parker County.
Along with her late husband, Ronnie, and family she helped establish the Willie and Hubert Bennett Endowed Scholarship Fund in the WC Foundation.
She recently received one of the highest honors that can be bestowed by Weatherford College when in 2012 she was recognized as a Distinguished Alumnus.
In addition to all her other duties, Elaine also serves as FRGL (Family Readiness Group Leader) for her active duty son’s U.S Army unit.
Vote for Elaine Carter to continue excellence and success at Weatherford College.
Brenda Hall, Weatherford
Bond package seeks too much
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.
Bob and Janelle Shepard, Weatherford
School bond needs came from citizens
In a civil society one would expect that citizens could engage in spirited but polite conversation about important issues.
Such has not been the case with respect to the Weatherford ISD 2013 bond election. The district, at a significant cost in time and money, has been overwhelmed with legitimate requests for information and has complied in accordance with the law. Unfortunately, some of information has been misinterpreted and misrepresented in an effort to defeat the bond in spite of overwhelming evidence that all of the proposals in the bond are needed.
Some of our friends and neighbors who have been active in the community responded to an invitation to participate in committees that would visit facilities, study needs, analyze data and make recommendations to the district. It is my understanding that some members wanted to build a new high school and a new stadium, but the majority did not agree and compromises were made. The committee met regularly beginning March 20, 2012, and made its final report to the WISD board on Jan. 10.
It is insulting to question the integrity of our friends and neighbors who worked so hard on behalf of the Weatherford Independent School District. It is astonishing to assert that the administration has pushed this bond election when it was citizens who were involved in the process of determining the need for new facilities, improvements in technology for the most efficient delivery of instructional and administrative services and security. We have students in Weatherford schools who have better computers, laptops and smart phones than are found in our schools.
With respect to security, different boards and administrations have addressed the issue of security for several years.
In the most recent Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas, the district earned a rating of 70 that reflects Superior Achievement. For several years the firm of George Morgan and Sneed performed audits of the district’s financial records. More recently, the same services have been performed by the firm of Snow Garrett Williams. Surely, rational people can not question the professionalism and integrity of these firms.
All the items proposed in the 1999 bond program were completed after following the same process used in the 2013 bond proposal. In addition, since 1999 there have been at least five times when the board has approved refinancing the debt. I served on the board for 21 years in various capacities, and I can assure taxpayers that board action was guided by three principles: responsible use of taxpayers money; a sound academic program; and concern for staff and faculty. Furthermore, board members are taxpayers and have been students in the WISD, have children who have graduated from WISD, or who have grandchildren attending school now.
Study the facts and do not be misguided or duped by people whose identify is not transparent. If you want the district to remain stuck in old ways, vote against the bond. Remember that one generation builds upon the foundation of the previous one and bears responsibility for securing that foundation for the next generation.
I urge you to vote for the 2013 bond after you study the information that is readily available to you and that you remember one does not move forward when sliding backwards.
Rachel Johnson, Weatherford