Is LISD Rushing the New LHS Construction?

Date 2010/3/7 20:00:00 | Topic: Lewisville ISD Notes

The Lewisville ISD School Board will meet this Monday Night to discuss and possibly approve the plans for reconstruction of Lewisville High School.

Remember the $700 billion “Bailout Bill” that Congress rushed to pass back in 2008, when the financial sector was snowballing towards hell? Just for perspective, let’s look at a bit of the timeline. The markets first reacted to rumors of a bailout on September 18th, 2008. On Saturday, September 20th, Congress first got the proposed legislation, and Secretary Paulson was on the Sunday talk shows pushing the proposal. By September 25th, lawmakers had reached a tenuous agreement in principle, but the first attempt to pass the bill had failed on September 29th, causing the Dow to plummet 778 points. In that case, the bill hadn’t been widely available to the public to read, and Members of Congress were rushed, as changes were made until the last minute. WhosPlayin did post a draft of the bill on September 29th. On October 1st, H.R. 1424 passed the Senate. We posted the text of that bill.

That bill passed on October 3rd, 2008 by a 263 to 171 vote, and was signed into law by President Bush that very day.

As rushed as that bill was, as crappy of a situation as it was, and for as much as Congress felt their hands tied, it was still at least 14 days from proposal to final vote, and the text was available online with wide discussion in the media.
Contrast this with Lewisville ISD’s decision regarding the rebuilding of Lewisville High School, an endeavor expected to cost up to $48 million – quite a sum, considering the size of our district. In choosing to build smaller, the board is effectively locking in the decision to move to an unproven 9-10 / 11-12 campus concept for Lewisville.

Although the rushed timeframe is similar, the amount of public information on this has been less. The district first published a meeting notice on February 24th, mentioning only “renovations”. Over the next couple of days, we got some additional info confirmed. On March 2nd, the Board of Trustees met in joint session with Lewisville City Council, and were shown a presentation, of which WhosPlayin was supposed to receive a copy on March 3rd. We have yet to receive the presentation. Now the Board of Trustees is scheduled to vote for approval of the plan on Monday March 8th, barely 6 days after the initial presentation, and only 13 days after the existence of the proposal was made public. The board agenda packet contains NO backup material for the item.

Please don’t get us wrong; we very much favor Lewisville students having new buildings that meet modern fire codes, and allow for new technology and lower maintenance costs. We know that LISD has very capable and dedicated staff recommending the new facility. But we find it hard to believe that board members could have possibly done full due diligence on this project, double-checking costs per square foot, and relative marginal values of options included in the new construction. And because the deal has not yet had a lot of time for public scrutiny, and the board has not explained why it wants to use the 9-10 / 11-12 split option, we say “What’s the rush?”

We think the most prudent and fiscally responsible thing to do would be to take another month to get the plans and contracts out into the public’s hands for review and discussion. Have a good discussion on Monday, March 8th, but defer a decision until April’s meeting.

Read the Dallas Morning News article about LHS reconstruction
Read the Lewisville Leader article about LHS reconstruction.
See video of the LISD / City of Lewisville joint meeting

This article comes from The Lewisville Texan Journal

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