Don’t Kid Yourself: The DISD Bond Fails, You Probably Won’t Get a 2nd Chance To Help Kids

The odds are less than 50-50 we'd get another timely bond passed

Joker_Burns

Between now and the Dallas ISD bond election Nov. 3, I’m going to write often about why you should support the bond and why the honking clown show of anti-bond folks are wrong on nearly every claim they make. But today, let’s look one more time at the DMN bond story from this weekend, and the quote from it that addresses what will happen if the clowns carry the day.

Here is a quote from DISD school board president Eric Cowan at the article’s end:

“It is the voters who are going to tell us if they support these projects or they want us to go back to the drawing table,” he said. “We’re asking the public.”

Cowan is, I like to say, moderate to the extreme. He is calm, takes all opinions seriously (no matter how ludicrous), and believes reasonable people can disagree. (And that everyone is for the most part reasonable.) He is an optimist. He has much more faith in people than I do. Which is why he truly believes that, if this bond doesn’t pass, well, we’ll just go back and try to get a better one through.

Ignore my feelings about the anti-bond/anti-everything group, led by trustee Joyce Foreman. Ignore that I believe the clown show is made up of capital-J jokers who will find reason to be against anything positive for the district. Their seemingly specific concerns are just a cover. They don’t want a better bond for kids. They just want to watch the world burn.

Okay, let’s ignore all that and assume the anti-bond forces can get on board with a revised bond. Has anyone bothered to ask whether a revised bond is likely to happen even if I’m wrong about the opposition? Specifically: If voters vote no on this bond program, will the district really go back to the drawing board and ask the voters to approve some different version of a bond? And, just as relevant, how long will this take (while the disrepair and capacity problems continue)?

Here’s what results from districts around the state tell us (some of this is admittedly complicated, as parts of a bond may pass, or part passes later but another part doesn’t; I had to make some calls, but you can check my math here):

  • 26 school districts conducted bond elections that failed between May 2013 and Nov 2014 and haven’t bothered trying again.
  • 25 other school districts also had a failed bond election during that time period, but tried again and the voters subsequently approved it. (Some have tried more than once since the initial failure.)
  • 11 other school districts also had a failed bond election during that time period, tried again, and it failed again. (Some with more than one repeat failure.)

So if I am a concerned citizen who has suspicions about the bond for legitimate reasons (there are a few, which I will address in a later post), you need to understand that your thought process should lead you to this inner dialogue:

I like kids and want to see them in better schools, I just don’t like this particular plan. But if I vote against it hoping that a “better” plan comes along, then I should recognize that my odds of subsequent victory (in a reasonable period of time) with a current no vote are 25 out of 62, or 40 percent. Not great.

Even more important, because it gets to the money of the matter: For those who ignore the odds and assert this line of reasoning, the odds that we can find enough money to promote another bond to citizens and give it a chance of passing are next to nil. Do you think that the wealthy pro-DISD folks in town who have donated more than $200K to this effort are going to pony up again? Why? To be called evil by the clown show? To hope that people who refuse to do even the most basic homework to guide their votes will suddenly get smart? Not gonna happen, folks.

That doesn’t even address the fact that a beaten, tired DISD administration, volunteer group, and board would have to find the political will to resist watering this bond down to appease the handful of loud naysayers whose entire self-identity rests on screwing over kids to feed their delusions. They’re braying idiot zombies, sure, but like the undead they never leave, they never stop, and they have only one desire.

Let’s not kid ourselves with the idea that you are actually interested in helping kids but are voting against this plan because you have problems with some of the plan’s specifics. It is highly likely that people will suddenly find problems with a subsequent version, too, because I have yet to see a concern spoken that in any way squares with reality.

So if you’re going to vote no, please say to yourself the following:

I oppose this current bond because I don’t want kids in Dallas to get any more money for facilities because I just don’t like DISD.

At least you’re being honest with yourself.

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