Thursday, February 16, 2012

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.

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