The Skidmore Tynan Independent School District has an outstanding reputation; in fact it has been awarded the highly coveted “exemplary” status and has dedicated employees who have worked hard in order to achieve this. However, it’s not perfect. While nothing is perfect, the things which can be done to correct the rampant spending habits of the school board under the direction of (Dr. Brett) Belmarez are fairly simple: Let’s have them stop spending money covertly and start putting various jobs up for bid so that the community can save some money!
Recently, I was in a meeting with Dr. Belmarez and had the opportunity to ask him several questions, many of which went unanswered, but I did discover one thing: Dr. Belmarez is a charming young fellow who speaks in contradictions. When Belmarez articulates about saving money, he uses the largest increments he can; however, when he relays how much it will cost you, he refers to it in terms of “pennies.” Bottom line: you’re not saving money; your taxes are going up!
When the S-TISD decided to build a new school, they first acquired 27.5 acres (valued at $55,030) purchased at an astounding $200,000 (with no mineral rights!). What’s more astounding is the $30,000 that was paid to have that land cleared (both figures being so overpriced). Belmarez was asked to provide information about the bidding process; however, he conveniently omitted that. It is doubtless that the work probably went to a friend of the board instead of going up for bid. Consequently, the taxpayers again have to foot the exorbitant bill.
The construction of the school did go up for bid though — it had to, because it cost such a staggering amount – $6,000,000 (600,000,000 pennies)!
And then we have the unexpected $150,000 + demolition of the old elementary building, also not put up for bid. In a past issue, Belmarez gave a lame excuse about intentionally not putting the demolition up for bid in order to save time and, most importantly, to keep the children safe. Yet the safety of the students was so important that Belmarez invited the construction crew onto campus to begin testing for harmful asbestos while the children were in class! They had no idea whether or not they would encounter asbestos, let alone what ‘type’ (i.e., airborne, friable, etc.). And at no time were any of the parents notified. This was something I’m sure they would have preferred to cover up, but instead, they simply down played it as much as they could when their actions were exposed. Going full steam ahead without a bid not only endangered our children, but it cost the taxpayers yet another astonishing bill.
A pattern is developing, indicating that Belmarez spends other people’s money a little too freely. If you’re not outraged about the unrestrained spending of the S-TISD, you’re not paying attention! And if you’re not upset at how the S-TISD spends your money, you will be when you get your tax statements!