Group of South Midland Voters Speak Out Against School Bond 10/23/12
CBS 7 Reporter
October 23, 2012
Midland, TX - A small group of Hispanic voters are speaking out against the Midland ISD school bond proposal just as people start hitting the polls.
They say their neighborhood is neglected in the school bond proposal and their voice was ignored in the planning process.
"It appears that certain folks want us to beg for a campus," explains former school board member George Lara.
A group of 12 south Midland voters signed a letter and delivered it to MISD Superintendent Dr. Ryder Warren last week. In it they write that the need for a new south side elementary school was completely overlooked.
"We just want to make sure all communities has afforded some opportunity to have a neighborhood campus like the entire community does, South Midland's been the one that's been neglected for years," Lara claims.
When Lara was a board member in 2003, Midland Voters turned down the proposal for a south side elementary school.
"Back in 03 we were so close,” he claims. “There's more need there today with the growth we've had in the last 10 years."
Midland ISD leaders say the $163 million bond proposal on this year’s ballot was created through research, community growth patterns and a series of town hall meetings.
"I attended, I made it known to the staff and board members there that to please let's not neglect district 2 all over again, I reminded them of that," Lara says.
But some school leaders we spoke to say this is the first time they're hearing from the group.
"Of the 3 that I was present I didn't hear any of those responses," explains Patrick Payton, the co-chair of "Better Schools for a Better Midland."
Payton says the school district did their homework and came up with a detailed plan for the future of MISD.
"They've given us what they think is best for the community and it's our job to get out there and inform the community of it," he says.
But Lara says their district 2 representative, Angel Hernandez, didn't speak up for the community.
"District 2 was not part of the process, district 2 was not represented very well," Lara claims.
"There is an obvious need for a south side school," Hernandez told us today by phone.
He says he hopes to discuss the idea of a new south side school in the future. But he also has plans for the short-term future.
"The former Bunche Early Childhood Center can serve as an elementary school or even a bilingual academy for the south side," Hernandez says.
"I think that's great, however it does not address the issue that has to do with west of Rankin Highway,” disputes Lara. “That neighborhood don't have a neighborhood campus."
Now this group says their voice will be heard at the polls.
School Board president Jay Isaacs describes the group as "selfish.”
"They did not participate in the year long process of communication and didn't come forward until the last minute," he says.
Isaacs says that 9,000 Hispanic children will benefit from the bond and this group’s decision to take a stand against the proposal is not going to help the community overall.
MISD is calling for a $163 million bond to renovate the current elementary schools, build 2 new elementary schools in west Midland and update district technology.
In Ector county the district is proposing a $129 million bond to build 3 new elementary schools and move the district to the middle school model.