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 holes. Lots of them. HUGE 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.