Hinojosa Takes a Break from Budget Woes to Break Ground on Ann Richards Middle School

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Photos by Patrick Michels
Superintendent Michael Hinojosa and Dan Richards, Ann Richards' son, turned over the dirt at DISD's newest construction project, flanked by trustees Bernadette Nutall, Carla Ranger and Nancy Bingham.
Potted palms and wildflowers flanked the podium at the Ann Richards Middle School construction site this morning, where Dallas Independent School District officials talked about the energy efficiency, sustainable landscape, an exterior sundial that will make the school a landmark of green design.

Of course, that's not the kind of green most people are worried about at DISD, and after this morning's ceremony in far southeast Dallas near Mesquite, Superintendent Michael Hinojosa reminded reporters why it's not so crazy, after all, to be opening new schools and laying off teachers all at once.

"For the average person, it's hard to understand, but there's actually two budgets," he said. "They cannot be commingled."

It's all about using resources efficiently, he said, getting as much as possible out of this new school building when it opens in August 2012. "Worst-case scenario," Hinojosa said, they'd close down an old school to open this one.

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"Yes, even though we're under a budget crunch, we're going to build schools," HInojosa said this morning.
Hinojosa stressed that the district's already put two years of planning work into Ann Richards Middle School -- one of 14 schools funded by the 2008's $1.35-billion bond program, and one of four new schools slated to open for the 2012-13 school year.

Before the talk turned to money, though, this morning's ceremony was all about sustainable design and the school's namesake.

DISD Trustee Nancy Bingham, whose district includes the new school, got to pick its name. "I wanted to name as many schools in District 4 as possible after women who had made a difference, not only in my life, but were trend-setters," Bingham said during the ceremony. With Dan Richards, son of the former Texas governor and school teacher, sitting in the front row, Bingham said Richards "was, for me, the first woman who was a major political figure."

Bingham said the new school will draw its students from Edward Titche, C. A. Tatum Jr., and Urban Park Elementary, and probably others in the future. (As for the staff, Hinojosa told reporters later, "the teachers will follow the kids.")

Best of all this morning, though, was DISD Deputy Director of Operations Phil Jimerson's make-believe tour of the 21-acre patch of dirt, detailing features of school-to-be like a proud new father, from the gyms to the driveway to, yes, the exterior sundial. "$29.5 million will be spent, basically, on this campus," he said.

"There's no doubt in Phil's mind," Jimerson added, one hand pressed to his chest, "that we're going to see design awards come out of this school."
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Phil Jimerson sweeps his hand across the horizon moments after referring to himself in the third person.
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District 4 trustee Nancy Bingham had the naming rights for the new school.
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The Harold W. Land Sr. Middle School Cadet Corps approves of these cermonial cupcakes.
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Casual Observer
Casual Observer

It's not hard for the average person to understand that there are "two budgets." I only wish the Superintendent could master understanding the operating budget. Just because we have money in a capital improvement budget does not mean that we have to spend it when the entire DISD is being flushed down the toilet. All the moeny that has been wasted and stolen over the years from the incrediblely stupid financial management and a total lack of internal controls is now coming back to haunt us. What an absolute joke the DISD has become. To save a lot of tax dollars, let's just shut it down and send all the kids to for profit school of their choice and let the parents foot the bill. I have no children, why should I have to pay scholl tax? Make it a user funded system and then see how involved parents will become!

Cliffhanger
Cliffhanger

Oh, it's not hard for the average person to understand why you can't commingle bond funds and general revenues.

What's hard to understand is how anyone as grotesquely, comically, mind-numblingly incompetent as Michael Hinojosa has a job.

That's what's hard for the average person to comprehend.

StopDISDorg
StopDISDorg

DISD's contractors (FRIENDS... oh.. sorry..that's a secret) building new schools won't see any shortage of funds coming in..NO Pay cuts for them!

Sure close down and demolish older schools for new ones even after costly renovations have been made on those older schools. Does that make sense Mr. Hinojosa?

There are alternate plans / solutions, but DISD refuses to consider them instead they rather waste our tax dollars!

Did you know that DISD is in the land development business not in the better education or better compensation for teachers business?

Learn more at www.StopDISD.org

Click on the link below to view Satire Video on DISD's Land Grab

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

Borborygmus
Borborygmus

Shush, people. The citizens of Dallas approved the building of these schools years ago - old news. Comingling the funds just might be a violation of the covenants of the bond. But go ahead and suggest it. I'm sure there's no legal ramifications. I've got a slightly used P-Card you can buy if you're interested.

@DISD Teacher - who or what would you suggest, exactly? Got news for you, any replacements are not going to consider working that job for less. You may not be an athletic fan, but it's provided livelihoods and career paths for many, many students who have gone into, among other fields, medicine, journalism, teaching, professional sports. Your proposition is completely unrealistic. But here's a money saver I think that is realistic - if you hate your employer so much, feel free to quit your job.

DISD Teacher
DISD Teacher

When I complain about the waste, fraud, nepotism, cronyism, and sheer stupidity rampant at DISD, I am complaining as a taxpayer. I like my job, but I hate paying taxes that are wasted and lavished on wives of the superintendent's friends.

Whether I worked for DISD or not, I would still complain about their mismanagement of tax money.

Actually, the board members are better off with me employed. Otherwise, I would spend hours a day working to expose all that goes on in the district. I would start a petition for an FBI audit of all things related to DISD and the school board. I could spend my days connecting the financial dots!

As for athletics, the purpose of schools is not to provide livelihoods for coaches, and the number of students who end up playing professionally is beyond miniscule. The purpose of schools is to educate kids. Kids can still pursue sports on their own dime or a charity's dime.

NO student gets into medicine, teaching, journalism, etc, without school skills.Sports are a luxury.

Citizen Kim
Citizen Kim

"For the average person, it's hard to understand, but there's actually two budgets," he said. "They cannot be commingled."

Why? Why are there two separate budgets, that cannot be commingled? This is like having a household budget where one pool that is used to pay the mortgage and utilities is empty and having another pool that is dedicated to buying furnature, then going to the store to buy furnature out of the latter account for a house that is going to be forclosed on because the mortgage isn't getting paid!

Could this accounting situation have some to do with powerful contractor lobby interests at the local and state level?

G_David
G_David

I like cupcakes too. Don't you think that's some information I would like to know?

DISD Teacher
DISD Teacher

All of this is wonderful.

Finally, the rest of Dallas gets to see the corruption, incompetence, and waste going on in DISD.

That's the silver lining of the budget disaster. Suddenly people are asking, "How much does that man make?" "Why are they building new schools?" "What do you mean we're going to keep athletics?" "The HR director makes more than the HR director at UT?"

This is our money being wasted by fellow Dallasites.Unbelievable.And apparently, based on their smiling faces, the Board members and superintendent feel no guilt or shame.

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