Friday, February 24, 2012

Matt Powell for Mayor of Cedar Park

Today Cedar Park City Councilman Matt Powell announced his candidacy for Mayor.  Named "Man of the Year" by the Texas Young Republican Foundation in 2004, Powell is well-known for his activism and commitment to the community and will be an outstanding leader for Cedar Park.

The election will be May 12, 2012.

Press Release - Powell - 24 Feb 12

Friday, February 17, 2012

Round Rock School District Approves Administration Boundary Proposal, Rejects Vertical Alignment

Last night the Round Rock School Board voted to implement the RRISD Administration's boundary proposal plan. The vote was 5-2, with Trustees Terri Romere and Bobby Seiferman voting against.

After impassioned testimony during the public comments session, members of the board made some rather interesting comments of their own.  Regarding the allegations that the boundary determination process was broken, Brian Sellers stated that the purpose of the Boundary Committee and public hearings was to present the (administration created) proposal and allow everyone "to shoot holes in it."  Well, they did shoot holesLots of themHUGE holes.

But in the end, the holes didn't matter.

The only change that was permitted by the administration was in an  elementary school zone.  That change was made at one of the public hearings during a dialogue that lasted about 2 minutes and did not involve any members of the boundary committee.  With one sentence uttered by Super Jesus Chavez, a small group of students was magnanimously granted permission to move to the new Elsa England Elementary School.

So what was the purpose of the Citizen's Boundary Committee?  

One Trustee comment was particularly disturbing.  He expressed indignation that "minority report would come out of the [boundary] committee."

Seriously?  So the Board and administration expectation was that the committee vote would be unanimous? (It wasn't.)   That none would dare question their proposal?  Is that why the Administration appoints 8 of the 15 committee members?  A guaranteed stamp of approval?

What parents and the majority of the community took away from last night's meeting,  is that the Citizens Boundary Committee was not established to create options based on input from the community.  Nor was it to make any changes to the administration's proposals.  (Remember, the only change was made by a wave of the Superintendent's magic wand.)  The administration did not allow the committee to consider any other plan.  It seems the committee only existed to present the the administration plan and sell it to the community. 

Many parents are terribly upset this morning, and rightly so.  Their children's education is not controlled by them, but by a group of government officials.  Although their children are shuffled around schools like pawns on a chessboard, and although their school district's academic status has been steadily falling, they have few options.  Should they find the situation so intolerable that they remove their children from the RRISD, they will still be forced to surrender the lion's share of their property taxes to Superintendent Chavez to spend as he sees fit.  Furthermore, they will have to come up with their own means to provide their child's education; no tax credit, no support from the community.  Many families simply cannot manage the financial penalties for opting out.

Given the state of affairs in the Round Rock School system, perhaps it is time to allow some charter schools into the district.  Or perhaps the 2013 legislature will pass Taxpayer Savings Grants,  but of course that possibility is at least two years away.  And of course, there are elections;  Trustee Chad Chadwell is up for re-election this year.  In the meantime, Round Rock parents are stuck with what an elitist administration has deemed appropriate.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Tere McCann's Signed Pledge: $10,000 for RRISD Education Foundation

As I noted earlier, Round Rock School District Boundary Committee member Tere McCann, a Chief Financial Officer and a Certified Public Accountant, has pledged up to $10,000 in donations to the Round Rock ISD Education Foundation in challenge to the Superintendent's 'fuzzy math.' The offer is contingent upon someone supporting the RRISD Administration's enrollment projections with the same generosity. Will Superintendent Jesus Chavez or one of his supporters express such confidence in their own calculations? We'll see! Below is McCann's signed pledge form. McCann Challenge to RRISD Education Foundation

RRISD Boundary Committee Member Pledges $10,000 to Challenge School District's Fuzzy Math

On Tuesday, I wrote about how the Round Rock School District's Boundary determination process had become a fiasco.  One aspect of the whole mess has been the enrollment projections created by staffers in Superintendent Jesus Chavez' administration, versus projections created by boundary committeeman Tere McCann, a Certified Public Account and Chief Financial Officer.  While some employees of the school district have dismissed McCann's data differences as "insignificant," apparently, McCann has great confidence in his own numbers.

$10,000 worth of confidence.

Yesterday McCann sent the following press release to local media, in which he pledges donations to the Round Rock Education Foundation based on the accuracy of his projections, so long as supporters of the administration's proposals will do the same. 

Talk about putting your money where your mouth is.  

Of course this is how things work in the business world:  accuracy and results matter.  If folks like Tere McCann do not perform due diligence, they are soon unemployed.  Unfortunately, such standards are practically non-existent in the public sector.  Maybe that explains the RRISD administration's lack of concern for accurate predictions.  

McCann's release:

February, 15, 2012 -- In response to the ongoing school boundary controversy at Round Rock ISD, district resident Tere McCann has issued a fundraising challenge to benefit the Round Rock Education Foundation.  To raise the awareness of the importance of enrollment projections, Mr. McCann has issued a matching pledge based on the discrepancy in enrollment projections provided by the district administration and enrollment projections compiled by Mr. McCann.

McCann, who serves as Chief Financial Officer of a local financial services company, challenges the data presented in the final boundary committee report and has projected a more modest increase in high school students for the fall of 2012.

“After serving on the 2011 Boundary Committee, I recognized that the district administration regularly projects inaccurate information, which leads to bad forecasting and bad decision-making on behalf of our students. I have attempted to help the administration improve upon its current projection methodology and in a last-ditch effort to effect change, I decided to put my money where my mouth is, and issue this challenge so that kids will win no matter who is more accurate.”

“For example, the inaccurate projections in 2008 for the new Cedar Ridge High School set off a series of unnecessary boundary changes that split communities and students from their classmates and cost the district thousands of dollars in added transportation cost.  A short three years later, the district administration is forced to move some of these students back resulting in the Wells Branch neighborhood being assigned their third high school zone in three years.”

Specifically, Mr. McCann’s challenge includes:

·         He has pledged up to $20 per high school student (up to maximum of $10,000) enrolled at the district’s five traditional high schools (not alternative schools) in the fall of 2012 (week ending September 21, 2012) that exceeds his projected total traditional high school projection of 12,903 students.
·         His challenge is contingent upon supporters of the administration’s projections to agree to provide a pledge per student enrolled at the district’s five traditional high schools for every student below the administration’s projection of 13,214 students less 200 students (13,014). 

Anyone interested in participating can email Mr.McCann at to get a pledge form.  
 The Round Rock ISD Board Meeting is tonight, February 16.  The Board is scheduled to vote on whether or not to accept the Administration's Boundary proposal.  However, in light of the many grievances filed, and the allegations that the District has violated its own policies during the process, the best move would be to table the issue until due diligence is done.

If you would like to help encourage the Board to do the right thing, plan to attend tonight at 7:00pm at the Round Rock High School lecture hall.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

School Zone Disaster Zone in Round Rock ISD: Updated

Last week I described what appears to be an attempt to silence and intimidate Round Rock School Board Trustee Terri Romere and possibly other members of the board. However, there is another important aspect to the story; that of a RRISD boundary determination process that has been seriously compromised and has led the community to lose faith in a fair outcome.

The Saga of the RRISD Boundary Process is rather lengthy, but worth the read. The evidence shows that:

  1. The RRISD Administration has used insufficient methodology to predict enrollment trends resulting in inaccurate projections..
  2. The RRISD Administration's boundary proposal ignores the needs and desires of most of the community.
  3. The RRISD Administration has controlled the Boundary Committee agenda, refused to allow presentation of a second viable boundary proposal to the committee, and misrepresented the details of the second boundary proposal.
  4. The RRISD Administration allowed the Boundary Committee chairman to inappropriately poll select committee members in a non-open setting without the knowledge of the other committee members, and with incorrect data.
  5. The RRISD Administration and Boundary Committee have not followed procedure and policy as outlined in the Boundary Committee charter.

Insufficient Methodology and a Brief History

The problems with the RRISD boundary determination process actually date back to 2008-09. At that time, the district was preparing to bring online a new 5th High School, Cedar Ridge. As is inevitable with any rezoning process, some parents were unhappy with having to move their children, but there was more to it than that. First of all, at that time the district plan did not consider parental demand for 'Vertical Alignment,' that is, keeping neighborhood students together through elementary, middle, and high school.

Secondly, several members of the community noticed that the district was using unreliable methods to project enrollment growth. (More on that later.) Erik Okerholm, a business intelligence professional who holds three Masters Degrees, worked to formulate accurate projections and create a boundary proposal that would maintain Vertical Alignment. Furthermore, the Okerholm plan was designed to serve the district for 12 years or more.

Unfortunately, despite some very controversial hearings and impassioned pleas from the community, the Board voted to implement the proposal created by the RRISD administration. The decision became a factor in the subsequent school board elections as both trustees Bobby Seiferman and Terri Romere campaigned that they would have voted for Vertical Alignment, that is, the Okerholm plan.

Unfortunately for the families of the District, the administration's projections were inaccurate, and by 2011 the administration was forced to call for yet another boundary determination process to relieve over-crowding at the new Cedar Ridge High School. The RRISD Board and Administration drew up a new Boundary Committee charter and appointed new committee members, including Tere McCann, a CFO and CPA.

Since the 2009 plan did prove to be problematic, one would think the RRISD Administration would try to improve the process. A few changes were made, but again not enough to provide accurate projections. For starters, according to Tere McCann and Erik Okerholm, the Administration is still not using reliable methods to project enrollment growth. For example, Okerholm notes that while the Administration's boundary proposal bases growth projections on a 3 year trend, Okerholm's Vertical Alignment proposal (VA) relies on 5 years of growth trends. Also, the administration's analyst does not seem to understand the importance of basing calculations for high school enrollment growth on real numbers of students in the system's lower grades. (McCann and Okerholm refer to these as 'kids in seats,' and this kind of data has provided a far more accurate methodology.)

In addition, the Administration projections are based on spreading projected growth across the entire district, when in actuality, the 'land-locked zone for Westwood High School will not grow as much as the zone for Stony Point High School due to new housing/population growth there. Also, historically growth in the area is not spread evenly across grade level. Elementary grades tend to grow at a higher pace than Middle School grades, and High School growth drops off further. (For a more in-depth explanation of cohort survival ratio read here, and see paragraph “How are new housing developments taken into account?”)

How significant are these differences? Very. According to Okerholm, the RRISD Administration's 2008 projections for 2012 were off by nearly 500 students, while his own methodology was accurate to within 21 students. Regarding the 2012 projections, although enrollment growth over the past 5 years averages at only 1.63% with the highest year at 3.8%, the Administration claims that student growth next year will be a whopping 6.1%. (View graph here, Detailed data here.)

Needs and Desires of the Community: Vertical Alignment, Real Children, and Fiscal Responsibility

There are several other important differences between the Administration's boundary proposal and Erik Okerholm's VA proposal, more of the most significant being Vertical Alignment for Round Rock families. While the Okerholm plan considers the human aspect of the equation and creates a district-wide Vertical Alignment, the Administration plan only protects Vertical Alignment for students in the Westwood High School zone. Even more disturbing is the Administration proposal's requirement that Wells Branch neighborhood would move to their third High School zone in three years.

The utter disregard for the families of Wells Branch is difficult to fathom. One explanation might be the socio-economic status of Wells Branch as compared to say, Great Oaks. Since in many Wells Branch families both parents work, they have less time for activism and have been less vocal. There is also lower voter participation in Wells Branch, and consequently certain Board members may not be as interested in that community. (The only RRISD Board Member who appears to have reached out to that part of the district is Terri Romere.)

And as always, there are fiscal aspects to the two proposals. The Administration proposal will require 58 portable buildings spread across the 5 High Schools, while the Okerholm VA plan only requires 18 portables, and only where needed. Fewer portables means better facility utilization, and under the Okerholm VA plan, the district would save approximately $540,000 next year alone. Furthermore, while the Okerholm/VA plan is designed to serve the community until 2020, the Administration proposal will only maintain manageable enrollments through 2015, forcing yet another set of boundary changes in 2016 with all the associated costs.

How do we know the community supports a Vertical Alignment boundary plan? Every Boundary Committee hearing has been overwhelmed by parents opposing the Administration proposal. They have been vocal, impassioned, and pleading, but for the most part ignored.

And by the way, the ONLY RRISD Board Member who has attended every single hearing held by the Boundary Committee is Terri Romere. Only two other Board members bothered to attend, and they only went to two hearings.

Third World Politics: “Everyone Gets to Vote, But There's Only One Candidate”

Probably one of the most troubling aspects of this story is the Administration's handling of the Boundary Committee. The Committee consists of 15 individuals, 7 appointed by the respective members of the elected School Board, and 8 appointed by the Administration. They held their first meeting back on November 16 and have held 4 hearings since then.

Although the public perception and expectation was that the Boundary Committee would solicit and act on input from the community and adjust proposed boundaries accordingly, that is not what occurred. From the beginning, the Administration controlled the agenda of said meetings, and even after repeated requests from the public, and even after the Committee agreed to consider the Okerholm VA Proposal, the Administration refused to allow Okerholm to make a presentation to the Boundary Committee.

Even worse, the Administration only allowed the Boundary Committee to use its own Administration comparison numbers between the two plans, and those numbers were incorrect. As both Tere McCann and Erik Okerholm pointed out in a January 13 meeting with the RRISD superintendent and demographer, (as well as in official grievances filed, ) in the last communication prior to the Boundary Committee's recommendation on January 19, the Administration plan numbers were incorrect due to a spreadsheet error, but the Okerholm/VA plan numbers were also, inexplicably, incorrect.

Improper Polling of Select Committee Members

The final meeting of the Boundary Committee took place on January 11. As the district's data was provided to the boundary committee a mere 87 minutes prior to the start of the final committee meeting, Tere McCann did not notice the errors in the data provided by the Administration to the committee. Consequently, the Committee took a vote on the boundary proposals without corrected data. McCann had been in frequent email communication with the Administration and Committee President Tom McDonald on these errors after the final committee meeting and before the board meeting.

In response to McCann's protest, after the meeting and vote, Boundary Committee President Tom McDonald sent an email ONLY to members of the committee who had voted for the Administration's plan: He presents a “quick comparison” of the 'corrected' numbers, and then states:

The basic comparison looks the same to me, with the district plan relieving Cedar Ridge better than the EO plan. The revised numbers don't change my opinion that the district plan is better.
ut I want to hear what you think - please let me know.”

What's more is that the 'corrected' information Tom McDonald sent to the select members of the committee still misrepresented the Okerholm/VA Proposal, and possibly inappropriately swayed the votes taken by those committee members.

Intentional Misrepresentation?

Prior to the Board meeting on January 19, McCann continued to discuss the errors with the Administration and Committee President McDonald. He had hoped that in light of the errors, the Administration would recommend a postponement of the vote. In his grievance filed with the district he states:

“I made my second of the two biggest mistakes as a boundary committee member; I trusted Mr. McDonald and the administration to present my views and contributions accurately and fairly.”

He was wrong. McCann notes in his grievance that although he was out of town on business he turned on the televised RRISD meeting and “was surprised to see Dr. Chavez and other board members commenting on my efforts in a false and misleading manner.” In addition, he was further surprised to receive the final committee report at 10:35pm after the boundary committee presentation to the board. The final Boundary Committee report as submitted to the Board of Trustees on January 19, contained multiple misrepresentations of his both his data and his stance, but according to McCann, the Administration and Committee President have refused to amend the report.

District Violates Own Policy

Regardless of which proposal one prefers, all residents should be disturbed by the district's apparent violations of its own policies. In her email to Dr. Chavez and President Chadwell, Board Member Terri Romere outlines these alleged violations of policies in which the ISD has chosen not to address. 

Romere notes that:

*the District did not hold the required hearings at each affected school,
*The district ignored input from the majority of participants at the hearings,
*The District gave less than 24 hours notice to communities affected (Policy requires 5 days)
*The District only provided notice via one channel of communication.

Additionally, although the charter says that the Boundary Committee “shall look at all high school campuses to relieve the projected growth at Cedar Ridge High School,” the Administration has refused to consider any proposal that considered enrollments at Westwood or Round Rock High Schools.

The established policy guidelines along with Romere's comments can be viewed here

Treating All RRISD Children Equally

To be fair, there are a vocal few who wholeheartedly support the Administration's plan. A handful of parents from the Great Oaks neighborhood have been especially vitriolic in attacking the Okerholm/VA proposal because it would return Great Oaks to its 2009 zone, that is, to McNeil High School. These parents have been circulating emails containing various mischaracterizations of the VA plan. (And even some rather far-fetched conspiracy theories about diabolical football coaches contriving to steal star football players.) Those emails led to the email chain to which I referred last week.  Sadly, the emails sent out by this group of Great Oaks parents reveal a shocking lack of compassion or concern for any other children of the district, including the students of the Wells Branch area (who will be sent to their 3rd High School in 3 years).

It should be noted however, that the Great Oaks neighborhood is far from unified in support for the Administration proposal. In fact, Great Oaks resident Whitney Loitz is one of several parents who have now filed a grievance over the District's alleged policy violations and disregard for community input. You may read her grievance here.

There is one other difference in the two proposals. The Administration's plan does not allow younger siblings to attend the same high school as their older siblings; only those who apply and are approved by a subjective administration review will be allowed to transfer. On the other hand, the Okerholm/VA proposal allows for something about which this administration has never been comfortable: a good measure of parental choice. The VA plan allows current high school students and their siblings to voluntarily move to the newly assigned zones. If they wish to remain at their current high school, they may do so.

Since the Wells Branch students moved from Round Rock High School last year, they are very enthusiastic to move back-allowed only under the Okerholm VA plan. The Administration plan takes volunteers too; but only allows the Wells Branch students to move to McNeil High School, their third high school in three years. Wells Branch parents vow they will not voluntarily move to McNeil, and this is part of the reason that the Administration's proposal will not relieve over-crowding at Cedar Ridge High School next year.

Other neighborhoods are equally unhappy with the Administration plan; pleas from parents in Stone Oak and Mayfield Ranch to return to Round Rock High School have fallen on deaf ears, as have the requests from Great Oaks parents wishing to return their students to McNeil. To all appearances, it seems the Administration plan ignores the vast majority of parents in the district.

Final Comments

Special kudos to those who've read through all of this. I would like to note that I have received a vast quantity of documents, statements, and email evidence from concerned members of the community, in fact, there is much more than I can possibly upload for you. I have linked to the most significant documents, but I can assure you that I have source material for the statements in this article.

The series of events I've outlined here indicate that the boundary determination process has been seriously compromised. Consequently, the most prudent course of action for the RRISD Board would be to postpone the boundary proposal vote until these issues can be properly vetted and remedied. The ISD's own local policy FC states a decision needs to be finalized by May 15th -plenty of time to reconcile the mass amounts of grievances and perform due diligence on both plans.

If you agree, please contact the respective members of the Board, and please plan to attend the meeting at the Round Rock High School Lecture Hall on February 16, at 7pm. I hope to see you there.

Please email members of the Round Rock School Board:

UPDATE:  Apparently Tere McCann has issued a challenge to the Round Rock Administration numbers;  McCann will donate up to $10,000 to challenge.  Read more.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Rotten Politics in Round Rock ISD

Something is rotten in Round Rock ISD. Last week the school board voted to ask the Williamson County Attorney's office to investigate Board Trustee Terri Romere. The Austin-American Statesman happily lapped up the narrative of an elected official engaging in illegal behavior. Of course, few print newspapers engage in investigative journalism anymore, and as expected, the Statesman's story completely missed the big picture.

But there is oh, so much more to this story.

The backdrop for this drama involves an ISD Boundary determination process that has been so riddled with mistakes, misunderstandings, and deliberate mis-characterizations from the beginning, that the community has lost all faith in a fair outcome. But the tale of a boundary process gone wrong will have to wait; to begin with, I would like to address specific aspects of the allegations against Trustee Terri Romere.

The flap regards an email sent by a RRISD parent, Craig Zawadzki, to all RRISD Board members, RRISD Superintendent Jesus Chavez, and RRISD Director of Communications Joy Lynn Occhiuzzi. Mr. Zawadzki had heard some rather fantastic rumors about one of the Boundary proposals under consideration by the board, and he rightly expressed his concerns. Romere then forwarded Zawadzki's email, not to just a 'parent activist,' but the author of the proposal in question, Erik Okerholm, so that Okerholm could address the specific concerns over his plan. Okerholm then sent an email to numerous residents with questions, including Mr. Zawadzki, correcting the mis-characterizations circulating about his plan.

The alleged 'crime' committed by Romere is that she did not redact Zawadzki's email address. However, the communications were not part of an open records request, but part of a chain of communications about the two boundary proposals.

Here things get pretty interesting. On January 10, Zawadzki sent an email complaining about having his email forwarded. He did not file a grievance, nor ask for an investigation. Unfortunately for Mr. Zawadzki, he now finds himself being used as a pawn by the Administration and some trustees.

On January 12, Superintendent Chavez sent a rather curious communication to the Board that never mentions Romere by name, but insinuates that forwarding an email without redacting the sender's email address would be a violation of Section 552.137 of the public information act, and that the offense is a “misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not more than $1,000; confinement in the county jail for not more than six months or both the fine and confinement. In addition, the violation constitutes official misconduct.” Dr. Chavez adds to the January 19 Board meeting agenda a call for a Closed Session to “discuss duties of public officers and employees.”

On January 19, Ross Fischer, attorney for Terri Romere, sent a letter to the RRISD attorney questioning Dr. Chavez's email. (I have obtained copies of Fischer's letters; you can read the full text of this letter here.)

Fischer writes:

It does not appear that Mr. Zawadzki is alleging a violation of the RRISD's policy on Board Email Communication (which does not appear to prohibit the forwarding of an electronic message), nor does it appear that Mr. Zawadzki is alleging a violation of state law. In fact, it appears that the message is a simple inquiry by a member of the public directed to RRISD officials (and dozens of other members of the public). It appears that Dr. Chavez has taken a simple inquiry and somehow construed it as a complaint against a member of his governing board. “

Fischer sure seems to smell something fishy here, and he also notes that Dr. Chavez has significantly misrepresented the statute in question. He quotes Chavez' message, and follows with this:

This is a misrepresentation of the law, which actually states:

Section 552.137 of the public information act states, “An e-mail address of a member of the public that is provided for the purpose of communicating electronically with a governmental body is confidential and not subject to disclosure under this chapter [emphasis added].

This omission by Dr. Chavez is significant. The statue states that an e-mail address of a member of the public is not subject to disclosure under Chapter 552 of the Government Code. Therefore, had someone sought copies of Mr. Zawadzki's e-mail via the Public Information Act, the RRISD would have had to treat his e-mail address as confidential. However, our client knows of no such request filed pursuant to Chapter 552.

The RRISD attorney, Bill Bingham did not respond until 2 weeks later. His response, dated February 2, states, ”I do not believe that there is a pending “complaint or charge” involving a Board member.”

Even more disturbing are the revelations in Ross Fischer's next letter to the RRISD. (Full text here) Fischer asks for the following:

*First, please confirm whether our client Ms. Romere is the subject of any complaint or investigation that has been commenced by the Round Rock ISD. 
*Second, please provide a copy of any complaint alleging misconduct by our client Ms. Romere.
*Third, Please provide a copy of the standard of conduct which our client Ms. Romere has allegedly violated.
*Fourth, please provide the legal authority authorizing the Board of Trustees to sanction, reprimand, or otherwise discipline our client Ms. Romere.
*Fifth, it has come to our attention that certain documents have been provided to the Austin American-Statesman pursuant to a Public Information Act request. On the tenth page of the documents provided, certain private emails are clearly visible. Therefore, we would like to know the name of the Round Rock ISD employee who released these email addresses, those employees or officers that approved the release, and whether the owners of the following email accounts consented to the release of their email addresses: ...

Wait, what? Somebody in the RRISD Administration is determined to convict Romere of a crime she didn't commit, but their own personnel did?

Fischer goes on to note that while the ISD seems to be stonewalling his client, they are sure eager to give the media select documents.

It is unfortunate that the District seems more willing to provide detailed information to the Austin American Statesman, as evidenced by the article in today's newspaper, than to one of its own Trustees.  We hope that you will point out to the District's officials that, in its rush to ambush our client, it is subjecting its own Trustees to possible criminal liability.  

Yesterday the RRISD sent its request to have Romere investigated by the Williamson County Attorney's office, but they have yet to respond to Ross Fischer's information requests.

All of these factors seem to point to some kind of desperate attempt to either embarrass or punish Romere, with the explicit threat of jail, fine, and removal from office. So what is all this intended to accomplish? Well, for one thing, on December 15, many interpreted the Board's reaction to Chavez's performance review as a prelude to his contract not being renewed and ultimately his dismissal. In fact, the Board could have taken action that evening but for a technicality in the meeting posting that was controlled by Chavez. The official vote has been re-scheduled for February 28th. Absent Romere, the Board could easily split evenly in a 3-3 tie on Chavez's dismissal or, worse yet, others could be intimidated into submission. The tactics against Romere are clearly designed to intimidate her and others willing to stand up for what they believe is right.

Of even more concern to RRISD parents anguished over the corrupted boundary process, the vote on a boundary plan is scheduled for next Thursday, February 16. Judging by past history (Trustees Colby and Sellers wisely opposed similar boundary alignment changes in 2009; Trustees Romere and Seiferman ran their campaigns on opposition to that plan), a 4-3 vote against the Administration’s proposal is a real possibility unless intimidation and manipulation are allowed to rule the day, and ultimately the District. One has to wonder how the Administration has lost sight of its most important duty – educating the children in RRISD classrooms. 

This is local politics at its worst. And, I hope you will not let it stand.

I will be writing more about the RRISD boundary fiasco next week, but residents should be aware that numerous grievances have been filed about the process. It seems that the ISD has violated its own policies regarding the procedure. I strongly encourage RRISD parents to attend the February 16 RRISD meeting to demand a delay until these errors have been remedied. RRISD needs to hear your voices telling them loudly to follow their own procedures, respect the public and parental input, and make the right decision for Round Rock children’s education.

Please email members of the Round Rock School Board:

Please attend the February 16th meeting:  6:30 pm at the Round Rock High School Lecture Hall.

Update:  New article posted today:  School Boundary Zone Disaster