All Together Now

Civic, school and business leaders unite to try to pass a massive HISD bond election

"HISD's track record of fiscal mismanagement, burgeoning bureaucratic staffing [and] skyrocketing costs ... make it unworthy of hundreds of millions of dollars of additional debt," the flier states. "Only after they put the education of our children first, return to basics in the classroom ... and make excellence a reality instead of a broken promise, will we support additional funding."

(Elsewhere in the flier, Hotze's group points out that the Democratic Party stands "for government monopoly in education" and "for teaching homosexuality as an acceptable alternative lifestyle.")

Bond campaign officials were initially taken by surprise by the Hotze mail-out, but they responded October 22 by trotting out a host of Republican officials to endorse the bond proposal. Harris County GOP Chairman Gary Polland, County Judge Bob Eckels and former mayoral candidate Rob Mosbacher all gave their blessing at the event.

For now, bond supporters are hoping their luck holds and are waiting anxiously for Election Day. "There's always unknown sharks that are lurking about out there," says Young, "but honestly, I can't remember such a consensus on an issue like this. The last two things, the stadium and the affirmative-action vote, were much more divided than this."

The reasons for supporters to be confident -- a healthy economy, a demonstrable need for new facilities, a recent string of similar bond victories by school districts across the country -- also provide reasons for darker thoughts.

For if HISD can't pass a bond election in this atmosphere, with this level of financial and political support, with this lack of opposition, it would be a fiasco that likely would force a massive rethinking and restructuring of the administration. And it would make any future administrations extremely gun-shy about going before voters with such a large package again, even as classrooms remained packed and long-pending repairs were put off.

E-mail Richard Connelly at rich_connelly@houstonpress.com.

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