This is it folks. The dreaded Wylie News announcement of yet another Wylie ISD bond, this time $94.2 million. Here we go again.
But is everything as dark and dreary as it seems? Long-time residents of Wylie vividly recall how bond package after bond package was rammed at us by former Superintendent John Fuller. With each bond package worse than the last, it became crystal clear that Fuller was a football whore. That was his baby and that is where the money went.
In the yesteryear of multiple and repeating bond requests, they included things like new turf, new football lockers, new turf, upgrades to their building, and did I say new turf? Everything was about upgrades for the sports kids and oh, they tossed in a couple broken door lock replacements and culinary arts improvements for the 'others'.
As taxpayers watched their tax bill increase with each bond we were snookered into passing, to the tune of becoming second highest school district tax rate in all of Collin County, the football program became pretty much the main event.
Oh then there is that messy little business of bonds being passed and not used for the items they were approved for, such as purchasing $16 million dollars worth land for a 3rd high school right across the street from Superintendent Fuller's Seis Lagos house, where to this day there are still not enough students in the area to support such a location. There was also that dirty business of trustee and administration pals being awarded every project even though they were not the lowest or best bid. Oh and let's not forget the caravan of shame Fuller took citizens on, heels clicking down the hall as he showed off broken door locks and chipped lockers like a flight attendant. As if taxpayers were stupid enough to believe those things needed a bond. Later news spread that he purposely asked maintenance not to repair these items, as part of their normal maintenance, so that the buildings would look worse and he could tug at their little tax-paying heartstrings. People were outraged.
Signs were printed and a massive campaign started to say 'no' to more bonds. Our taxes were high enough, thank you, and we were not getting what we were promised. We successfully suppressed those bonds several years in a row as they were worded and reworded, and mere regurgitations of the original requests.
Fast forward to a couple years ago. The new Superintendent Dr. David Vinson inherited a veritable bond mess. Taxpayers were extremely distrustful of the administration and were intent on voting out the trustee ilk that supported all of that nonsense. And of course you guessed it, Vinson came at them with yet another bond request. It wasn't looking good for him.
Though a bond committee had been formed by Dr. Fuller yeas before, it was evident they were allowed no teeth as ridiculous bond after bond was jimmy-rigged year after year each more perverse than the previous.
At the beginning of Vinson's WISD stint he started talking bond package again but this time he made certain the citizen group had real oversight and transparency. He had to prove to Wylie that he would spend the funds on what was promised. Though the same old football related items were mixed in with other items, he craftily knew at least one bond would pass. One with some football accoutrement as well as completing Wylie East High School which was a necessity. Who could turn down completing the much needed school? Smart.
However over the years that Dr. Vinson has been at the helm, he has proven that he truly cares about the students. He is far more hands-on than Dr. Fuller ever was, and the bond money was spent where promised. Though he is a lot more slick, I will have to give him the benefit of the doubt until he proves me wrong.
Vinson has assured us in this $94.2 million bond that no increase in taxes will be needed, and I believe him. As a Wylie High School parent last year who worked on Hairspray the Musical, I got to see first hand some of the repairs and upgrades needed as we worked in a frigid 60 degree auditorium building the set over the holidays. We had to turn on the spotlights in order to gain some heat.
From the laundry list of items needed, I feel these items are very necessary for the safety, health, and well-being of our students. These are tenets of a prosperous school district. We want to be competitive with those in the surrounding areas because school districts are one of the top reasons people buy homes.
With State Farm and Toyota moving their headquarters to the immediate area, and the massive influx of more than 27K jobs, this growth will be a boon for us as new housing developments are already planned, and some are already being built.
Most important, these homes are nice expensive ones that will help with our city property tax burden as well. Those homes will be filled with lots of new purchases, those children will be going to our schools, and those parents will be paying taxes as they shop here. This great burst of activity will likely be our last tango in Wylie. This is truly win-win folks.
If our taxes will not increase which is the promise of this bond, and our schools will be made more attractive to prospective home-buyers and ultimately high-dollar home taxpayers, I cannot imagine why anyone would not support this bond.
Now if this bond request is just a slick bait and switch, and our taxes go up next year or the following because they still have that nifty little .03 cents approved by an overly trusting population years ago, and they make a grab for an increase because that .03 has not been used yet, then the days of trust will be over for Dr. Vinson.
So there you have it, the voice of reason.