In today’s FWST Article:

Should bond money be used to pay for school district projects with short life spans, such as vehicles and gym floor resurfacing?

That’s a question for Keller school district voters, who are being asked to authorize a $167.9 million bond package Tuesday. Nearly 21,600 school district voters had cast early ballots through Monday, Tarrant County election officials said.

Bond money has traditionally been used for buildings and other capital improvements.

But Keller’s two-proposition bond package includes several items that otherwise would have been funded by the district’s maintenance and operations budget, which covers day-to-day expenses such as teacher salaries and utility bills.

The strategy is akin to paying for something with credit instead of cash.

I think someone else made that same statement a couple of months ago in a LTTE in the Citizen.  Wonder who that would be?

But, on to the reason for my post.

A group of parents and other residents supporting the bond initiative has reported donations of $30,000 from Oct. 3 through Monday, according to reports filed with the district. Citizens for Great Schools received $5,000 from VLK Architects of Arlington and $25,000 from Steele & Freeman construction managers/general contractors of Fort Worth. Both companies have done previous projects for Keller school district, including the new Caprock Elementary and Timber Creek High School, opening in August.

The citizens group has paid $27,330 to Ward Consulting of Grapevine, the report said. The group is sending mailers to voters this week and has ordered signs, said Smith, chairman and treasurer of the pro-bond group.

There is no organized opposition.

VLK and Steele Freeman are the two largest vendors the School District has.  Steele Freeman has done hundreds of millions of dollars worth of work for the district…and guess what?  It was no bid.  Negotiated.  VLK also has received millions of dollars worth of work from the district, also non bid.

The School District will bid out its office supplies, but refuses to take bids on hundreds of millions of dollars worth of construction projects.  Jason Wylie explained his support for Construction Manager at Risk during our podcast, but I am still a huge opponent of this practice.  Over the past decade, it has probably cost the district millions of dollars.

This isn’t the first time Steele Freeman and VLK have donated tens of thousands of dollars to get a bond passed, but the School Board needs to pass an ethics policy to make sure it is the last.