If you live within the confines of the LISD school district you are probably aware of the $737.5 million bond proposition that will be on the ballot in the May 6 election. Voters will have the chance to vote for or against the bond which is expected to be used to fund about 30 projects, among which are renovating existing schools, building new ones and updating technology.
Two schools, Hedrick Elementary and Hedrick Middle, will be torn down, but only the middle school will be rebuilt. Students from the elementary school will be bused to other schools in the area.
Shannon Richardson, whose three children have, or are, attending Hedrick Elementary, is a stay-at-home mom who has lived in Lewisville since 2002. For more than 10 years she’s been an active volunteer at Hedrick. In the accompanying video below, Ms. Richardson talks about her objections to the bond proposal.
The following information was provided to me by Ms. Richardson:
“I live in the development just to the east of the Hedrick schools. I am at Hedrick quite often helping out with things for the school like copying, lunch monitoring, field trip chaperones and more. I consider the staff at Hedrick elementary my friends. In late May of last year, I was nominated to be the Hedrick Elementary campus representative for a committee LISD was getting together to work on the bond. I was told each school was allowed a representative to take part in the process. I was nominated because I had spoken up and advocated for Hedrick in the past when it came to the district. I was excited because I was hoping to be part of the reconstruction of our school since we’d been bypassed in the 2008 bond with promises made that we’d be given fair treatment at the next bond.
“In mid-August, just before the start of school, I received a polite yet brief letter from LISD in effect telling me ‘Thank you, but your services are not needed’ for the committee and given no reason for such a decision. I mentioned the letter to our principal who was surprised because Hedrick elementary now had no representation whatsoever on the committee. She evidently contacted the district, which contacted me by phone and invited me to join the committee. My name was never placed on any Facilities Assessment Committee (FAC) roster. I thought that was strange but never thought to question. I had been on several other LISD committees and groups so I felt that it was no big deal.
“As a part of the committee, I was given a binder and a letter from Michelle Hughes, the facilitator explaining what we were doing. A line on the letter says ‘In addition, Dr Rogers and the district are aligned with you regarding the value of neighborhood schools; and though hard decisions may have to be considered sometime in the future, this committee will not look at any closings or consolidations in your schools.’ The next day, the water main at our school broke and all our children went without water for the entire day. No toilets, no water fountains, no hand washing, and with temperatures in the upper 90s. Any child needing to use the toilet, wash their hands or get a drink had to go to the middle school next door to do their business. I was livid. I called the district, requesting that they fix it right away.
“I am no stranger to contacting the district over problems at Hedrick. I have written letters, called and spoken before the district about this school in the past and I went again before the Board of Trustees that following Monday to implore them to rebuild this school. I voted in favor of that bond because we had been promised in 2008 that the NEXT bond (meaning this one) our school would be rebuilt. I had a friend on that committee and she was assured that if we passed the bond in 2008, we would get our rebuild in the next bond. I trusted LISD to be true to their word. In my speech to the Board on September 12, I mentioned the problems we had been having – asbestos, black mold, water leaking on to the expensive technology that LISD had just installed in our classes. I asked the district to rebuild the school as they’d told us in 2008 that they would. My speech is on the LISD Board website for anyone would like to see it.
“Two weeks to the day after my speech, Dr. Rogers came to our school and called a meeting for all the staff. Many staff members were excited as they believed we were finally getting the announcement to rebuild that we had waited on for so long, that we were getting the new building they promised. Everybody was stunned when, instead, Dr. Rogers told all the staff that there was a ‘proposal’ on the table to destroy the school, disperse all the children to other schools and not rebuild, ever. Teachers burst into tears. We were crushed and angry. All the promises we’d been told were broken. We felt like we’d been lied to, betrayed. I was devastated!”
Ms. Richardson and several others in the area started a group called “Lewisville CARES” in order to defeat the bond. The acronym stands for Citizens Acting for Responsible Education Spending. More info can be obtained at www.lewisvillecares.org.
Bob Weir is a former NYPD officer, long-time Flower Mound resident and former local newspaper editor.