EPISD–something is in the air

January 15, 2018

Word on the street is that the Tuesday, January 16, 2018 EPISD board of trustees meeting (or special meeting–they will have both) will be heated.

Fireworks may be a better term.

We deserve better

Brutus


EPISD–payments

January 12, 2018
This came in from a reader: 
 
Checks written by the EPISD to Temple Mount Sinai.  These checks were supposed to be paying for a rental room at the Temple for EPISD staff development.  From Check register EPISD web site.
 
Question:  Why in the world would the EPISD need to rent a room, they have more space than they could ever use.
 
1030032
5/17/2013
Temple Mount Sinai
$2,000.00
1045010
5/22/2014
Temple Mount Sinai
$2,000.00
1057980
6/5/2015
Temple Mount Sinai
$2,000.00
1071214
5/26/2016
Temple Mount Sinai
$2,000.00
1084642
5/12/2017
Temple Mount Sinai
$2,000.00
Paper Check

****************************************

Brutus


EPISD–public facility corporation

January 9, 2018

These minutes from the EPISD administrative public facility corporation show that the district still intends to use the corporation to build the new central office:

The public facility corporation was created by the board of managers which was then headed by our current mayor.

Don’t worry about the cost–we can’t do anything about it.  The corporation has the power to issue bonds without voter approval.

If you are curious about the “summary of the project” that was presented, don’t bother to look.  The district does not post the agenda material for this special group’s meetings.

We deserve better

Brutus


School districts encouraged not to maintain buildings

January 7, 2018

Unfortunately state law encourages school districts to avoid maintenance on buildings until they reach the point where they have to be replaced.

Locally the districts have had us  paying for the new buildings by taking on debt through bond issuances.

School districts are allowed to set two different property tax rates.

The first is known as M&O (maintenance and operations) with the second commonly called I&S (interest and sinking fund).  Bonds are paid for out of I&S taxes.

If our numbers are correct the state has placed a cap (maximum) on the M&O rate at $1.50 per hundred dollars of property valuation and has capped the I&S rate at fifty cents per hundred dollars of property valuation.

If the districts were to properly maintain our buildings the costs would have to come out of the M&O funds.  When they ignore maintenance and end up having to build a new building they get to use I&S funds.

Last year EPISD’s M&O rate was $1.07 per hundred and their I&S rate was twenty-four cents per hundred.  Remember that this was before the new bonds have been issued.  The I&S rate will go up when they are issued.

We deserve better

Brutus


EPISD–bidding

January 5, 2018

In the middle of the EPISD construction bidding mess is an unfortunate fact.

The district had to bring in a lawyer to clean up the district’s bidding process.

What does that tell us about what has been going on now for years?

We deserve better

Brutus


EPISD–jerking the contractors around

December 28, 2017

Incredibly the EPISD board in their Tuesday, December 19, 2017 meeting took what appears to have been contradictory actions within minutes.

They had previously gone out for bids to find construction managers at risk for Burges, Coronado, and Jefferson high schools.  The board voted to reject those bids and instead issue requests for competitive sealed proposals once the architects have finalized their designs.  The problem here is that the bidders had to spend time and money to come up with their bids and then the board decided that using a different approach would be better.

The very next thing that the board did was to allow district staff to go out to bids for a construction manager at risk for Irvin high school.

Why did the board drop the construction manager at risk approach for the three schools and then go ahead and use it for a fourth?  It appears that EPISD staff might have conducted an unfair process on the first three schools .  The district has brought in yet another out of town lawyer to straighten out the district’s bid process.  Their only way out of awarding the original bid was to reject all bids.  Going to competitive sealed proposals will potentially add costs to the projects, but going out for bids a second time for construction managers at risk would expose the district to legal claims from the original winner.  The district still feels that the construction manager at risk process is more cost effective–that is why they used it for Irvin high.

This could have been avoided if the district had been fair with their evaluation of the original bids.  It looks like they  tried to pull a fast one here but  got caught.

This costs the contractors and the  community money and will result in fewer bidders in the future.

We deserve better

Brutus


EPISD–construction bids rejected

December 27, 2017

Trouble is here.

EPISD went out to bids for construction manager at risk contracts for Burges, Coronado, and Jefferson high schools.

Maybe the district did not like the amounts that were bid or they didn’t like the bidders.  Then again maybe they did not follow the rules and were caught.  If you watch the video of the board meeting where you did this you won’t learn why.

It looks like this is going to get messy.

We deserve better

Brutus


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