Letter to the Editor: Italy Bond Issue

Italy Bond Issue — What they’re not telling you . . .

Phase I Phase II
Stafford Elementary additions - $5 million Cafetorium - $3.0 million
Football field, track, bleachers,
Concession stand and restrooms -
$2.3 million Contingency – $500,000
Agriculture Building – $700,000

Contingency – $500,000

Phase I subtotal – $8.5 million Phase II subtotal – $3.5 million
  • Contingency plans consistent of monies not planned for a specific use or a “slush fund” to be use
 at the discretion of the school board and superintendent. Note: There is one $500,000 plan for
 each phase for a total of $1.0 million.
  • For Phase I Football stadium there are no plans for a press box, parking lot or drive ways to the
 stadium and the planned amount will not cover these upgrades.
  • The $12 million for 35 years is 0.4030 per $100 evaluation, not 35 cents as stated by the school
 district, (information obtained from school info by Jeff Roberts, First Southwest)
  • Interest over 35 years will be over $13 million – First 2 years of interest is paid solely by Italy ISD.
  • School Board priorities as stated on school information 12/4/14 and at the first community
 bond meeting were;
    • Education, Security, Technology, Science and Agriculture (no athletics facility, except for
a track was discussed.)
      This bond does not meet these priorities in both schools.
  • Student enrollment has declined from 2003 at a high of 696 to a low of 513 in 2014. Today our
 student enrollment is 548. If there is a reduction of student enrollment by as much as 25 kids 
could mean a devastating hardship to the finances of the school district. (Information obtained
 from Jeff Roberts, First Southwest.) Superintendent Velasco has stated that the purpose of the 
bond is to “increase building capacity to meet increased current enrollment and provide space
for future growth,” Currently statistics contradict this statement.
  • No funding at junior and high school in the bond for American with Disabilities Act issues.
  • To date, the school district general funds total nearly $3 million. This money can be used to
 fund several projects currently on the bond (track, agriculture building.)
  • In recent years, a roll back election was passed which gave the school district another several 
hundred thousand dollars annually to be used for repairs, updates and improvements. Some
projects were completed (roofs, A/C units and animal barn) and others were not. This re-
occurring money has been absorbed into the everyday budget.
  • The bond will not impact citizens that are 65 years or older and/or disabled leaving the balance
 of the Italy population and their heirs to pay off the debt this bond will create.

Failure to pass this bond does not mean we are failing our children. This plan can be revisited in 6
 months with a better plan to better serve our community, our children and our tax payers.
Please vote NO on Saturday. May 9, 2015