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Bev's Burner
Some's Hot, Some's Not 

By B.K. Carter

"Bev Carter is the owner/publisher of the Fort Bend Star, winner of numerous state and national awards. She has been a voice of Fort Bend's largest circulated newspaper for 30 years."


NOW they’ve stepped in it.......It’s no fun being on the school board. It pays nothing. You have to, or should, go to a bunch of boring meetings. No matter how you vote in controversial issues, you are going to tick off at least half the residents. And finally, as I used to tell people who asked me why I got out of teaching, “you know all the questions, and none of the answers.” Most school board members have this same problem so since they know none of the answers, they just blindly do what the superintendent tells them to do.

Plus, there is a dirty little secret about serving on the school board that no one will tell you. When elected, the first thing that happens is that you get sent to “school board school” in Austin. Now here is the dirty secret part: the school board school is run by a bunch of old ex-superintendents, and they drill into the new board members that the first order of business is to do exactly what your own superintendent tells you to do.

New school board members like this because it means they don’t really have to make any decisions. They just have to do what the superintendent tells them to do.

Well, this new FBISD plan to close three schools has run into a huge snag. Of course closing these schools are accompanied by rumors of a new bond election to build new schools and continued insistence by the administration to build a “global science center” which is nothing more than a new superintendent’s office surrounded by some science labs and a highfalutin’ name. Employee layoffs, programs discontinued, and budget shortfalls seem to be part and parcel of the future.

And did I mention a continued spending down of the fund balance? Schools are required to keep a certain amount of money in reserve in a fund balance to make sure there is enough money for the future. In fact, the school’s bond rating which determines how much interest the school district would have to pay for bonds, is determined in part by the district’s fund balance.

So in light of all this belt-tightening, rather than close schools and then pay to open new ones, our board needs to man up, put on its big girl panties, whatever....but they need to have the courage to make the tough decisions and rezone a large part of the district.

That may seem like they are stirring up a large wasp’s nest, but the sting will not last long and everyone will get over it, what with the realities of the money crunch.

But if they ignore that and take the easy way out of only making three schools mad, THEN come back and ask us for more money for additional schools, I think we are going to remember these days and really question their motives.

Get some nerve people. We elected you to govern. We elected you to make decisions. We didn’t elect you to protect you own little fiefdom and keep certain schools together no matter what the consequences.

Although FBISD has a long history of electing board members to protect one little part of the district, we can no longer afford that.

What we have now is a couple of board members that are simply incapable of making a intelligent decision, a couple of board members that are just too lazy to make an intelligent decision, a couple of board members that are committed to protecting certain areas, and about one board member who has the nerve, energy, and intelligence to do the right thing. We need six more and you know yourself in which category you fit.

The way I’ve heard it is the one board member who has the nerve to make his own decisions for the good of the district has been excoriated by the others. For shame.

And it seems to be that each of them, particularly the president, needs to read the handbook about open meetings and executive meetings and pass it on to the school’s lawyers who attend every meeting to the tune of several hundred dollars an hour!

I find it suspicious......that five days after the event, FCCA still can’t determine who has won its board of directors election. I spoke to Sherrie Knoepfel, executive director of the association and she says as the paid employee, she can only send me the rules for running the election. I’ve yet to speak to Don Olson, board president and coincidentally, a member of the Sugar Land City Council. He’s been in meetings.

So here we are. Five days down the road. And we still don’t know who won. It would seem to me and many other people who are concerned with the outcome of this election, that it would behoove FCCA to have candidate representatives witnessing the count. Again, what is FCCA trying to hide? Is there something rotten in FCCA? Best way to staunch that rumor is to be more aboveboard.

Skeeters, we hardly knew ye.....Mark my word, the name of “Skeeters” will eventually go down the road as a failed attempt to saddle an area with a trailer park name. I heard more than one person say they were going to pull some teeth and buy a pair of overalls. I predict the name will go the way of the long ago “Sugar Fest,” an ill-advised celebration in the worst possible location during the worst time of the year.

And don’t kid yourself. The city of Sugar Land must take some responsibility for this whole fiasco. They claim it was up to the Opening Day Partners, yet the city built the stadium with your tax money and will probably end up kicking in several millions more.

As if you need any more evidence of Skeeters being an ill-advised name, look up its meaning online on the Urban Dictionary, which is a compilation of streetwise lingo.

And if that’s not enough.....We received an email saying the team would announce a naming rights partner tomorrow (Wednesday) for the ballpark. We’ve heard it’s gonna be either “Black Flag” or “Off.”

Okay, that’s all folks. From now on I promise to play nice and hold my tongue until the day I can say, “I told you so.”

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