By Randy Keck, Editor
Here at The Community News, I believe it is safe to say we are fans of the Aledo Independent School District. The district is full of dedicated educators, parents, and coaches who strive for excellence in all endeavors of the students who go the school here.
The AISD is probably the single biggest driving force behind the economic development and maintenance of property values in this area.
In the past, there have been issues where we felt that the powers that be probably shot themselves in the foot, so to speak. Some bond issues were not handled in the best way possible. In at least one instance, bond monies were used for a construction project that was not approved by the voters. Bang! There went a bullet to the feet. All that said, we feel that overall the district has handled bond money in an appropriate fashion.
But every time there is a hitch – whether using bond money for additional unapproved projects or locating a school where there are no students – it chips away a the credibility of the district and hampers the people who are, overall, trying to do good things for the students of the district. And it’s another shot to the feet.
Because of the incredible growth the district is experiencing, and the urgent need to provide adequate facilities for an ever-growing number of students, it is incumbent on the district to involve the community in every step of its decision making, and to go the extra mile in being transparent with the community in its decision making.
We were under the impression that the formation of a bond steering committee, made up of campus representatives and members of the public, was a step in that direction.
We know another bond is coming, and we know it is necessary, and we are willing, as taxpayers in the district, to support it. However, we also need to know that there is trust established between us and the board/administration of the school district.
In a previous bond election, a consulting firm was hired, and a Political Action Committee (PAC) was formed to pass it. The bond went down in flames.
Therefore, we are literally astounded that the bond committee met last night (Thursday, Aug. 3) with no advance notice to the public or the media. Our astonishment is compounded that a political consultant was invited to the meeting, presumably to coach in the formation of a PAC. And our astonishment is on high alert that the meeting was held in the Aledo ISD Administration Building, a facility bought and paid for by the taxpayers of the district.
Bang! Bang! Bang!
If bringing in a political consultant was not illegal, it certainly violates the spirit of the law. Beyond that, it a monumentally stupid action that further serves to erode public trust in the process.
In fairness, we reached out to Aledo ISD Superintendent Derek Citty with these concerns, and he acknowledged on behalf of the school district that the meeting of the bond steering committee should have been announced.
Regarding the political consultant at the meeting, Dr. Citty explained that the consultant worked for a contractor with the district. According to Dr. Citty, the contractor knew that there should not have been a discussion regarding the formation of a pro-bond PAC. Both Dr. Citty and the contractor said the consultant went beyond the boundaries that were set, and has been fired.
While we hate to see anyone fired, we agree that the firing was appropriate. Even so, the actions taken Thursday night did irreparable harm to our school district, and need to be corrected before the district’s bullet-riddled feet can no longer take it where it needs to go.