SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT ON FACILITIES
Senate IGR Hearing Highlighted Incorrect Information on Alvin ISD
AUSTIN, TEXAS (Aug. 19, 2016)—The following statement may be attributed to Dr. Michelle Smith, Executive Director of the Fast Growth School Coalition:
“During Monday’s Senate Intergovernmental Relations Committee hearing, a witness inaccurately cited an Alvin ISD junior high school cost as being over $42 million. Further, a resource witness mistakenly confirmed the price tag when the actual cost of the campus was $17,807,160 as stated in this 2014 study by the Texas Comptroller: http://www.texastransparency.org/Special_Features/Reports/School_Construction/Lookup_Tool.php.
“The origin of the inflated school construction cost is part of a PowerPoint presentation shared by Alvin ISD with their taxpayers and school community regarding the district’s seventh junior high that is soon to be built. The PowerPoint and the figures cited in the presentation are part of a ‘worst case scenario’ projection that is common practice for school districts and includes everything from possible infrastructure, site and civil work to desks in the classrooms as well as potential inflation.
“As with previous Alvin ISD construction projects, actual costs of Alvin’s junior high #7 are likely to be significantly less and rank among the most fiscally responsible school constructions in the state as previously recognized by the Comptroller’s facilities reports.
“It is our understanding that the Comptroller has provided clarification to the members of the Senate Intergovernmental Relations Committee on Alvin’s facilities projects and other data requested by the Committee during the hearing.
“Ironically, the witness’ misrepresentation of the final cost for Alvin’s junior high does highlight an example of the breadth and depth of the information that school districts provide to communities before, during and after bond elections. That PowerPoint presentation was part of the district’s nearly yearlong effort to educate and inform taxpayers and the community.
“School districts develop robust communications plans and public forums to ensure voters are well informed about every scenario and the proposed and actual costs for new facilities throughout the lifespan of the projects. The ballot is and should always be a point of decision, not a point of education. And, school districts’ ongoing transparency and communications regarding bond initiatives reflect that belief.”
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The Fast Growth School Coalition (FGSC) is a grassroots organization of school districts interested in finding legislative solutions that help districts cope with the financial and structural demands of their rapidly expanding populations. Learn more online at www.fastgrowthtexas.org or follow on Twitter, @FastGrowthTexas.
Media Contact: Jennifer Harris
512-773-7168, jharris (at) jwhcommunications.com