HISD: No To Prop 1
by: Pat Hernandez, October 7, 2010 10:10:00 pm
Proposition 1, also known as the Renew Houston Initiative, calls for a fee to pay for a 20 year, 8-billion dollar infrastructure and drainage program for the city. Houston School Board President Greg Meyers says a resolution
opposing Proposition 1 was signed by every member of the board.
"This was a vote that truly set the stage as far as the board's continual unified vision -- this laser like focus on what truly matters -- and that is our children. We tried to allocate the funds in the most prudent way possible, to increase the quality education that we know we're set here to do. Also on the other side, we have a responsibility to be fiduciary agents of the tax dollars that we collect from the tax payers of the city of Houston, which are those within HISD."
Meyers says they're concerned that the estimated 3.5-million dollar fee the HISD would pay each year could mean teacher layoffs.
"And what that does mean, up to about 70 teachers that we would have to release. We release teachers, it creates a snowball effect, which means higher class sizes and even more reduction in services that we can offer. That's HISD."
Theldon Branch: "I think we were somewhat disappointed that the board didn't spend more time voting the issue more properly and decided to use teachers as a pawn in this process."
Theldon Branch serves on the committee for Renew Houston.
"I think the position that we're taking is that with a billion and a half dollar budget, that HISD can certainly find number of other ways to make cuts without immediately going to laying off teachers."
Mayor Annise Parker has acknowledged the troubled waters the issue is going through, even after she laid out the principles outlining how the measure would be implemented if passed. Parker says she will do what she can to follow the wishes of over 35-thousand petitioners who urged something be done about improving the city's infrastructure.
"I want to go stand with them, and we may not be victorious, but we are at least gonna force the debate out into the public is. 'What do you want?' And everybody I've heard said, 'well, we want better streets and we want our houses and streets not to flood.' This gets us to a productive discussion on how we pay for it, and I'm going to take that out to the public."