Fort Bend ISD Pulls Back From The Brink (A Little) With Its Expensive New Science Center

We've noted before the Fort Bend school district's plans to build a very expensive but not overly needed "Science Center" that will take the place of all those labs in individual schools.

The price tag is around $24 million, the plans are by an architectural firm that specializes in selling school districts on elaborate construction, and FBISD faces a $42 million budget deficit.

FBISD superintendent Tim Jenney  asked employees for ideas on how to close the budget gap, and one of them was popular: Stop (or at least delay) that science center.

Somewhat surprisingly, the pleas worked.

In a letter to employees published in the Houston Chronicle, Jenney says the district will push back the opening of the science center. But it's not dead:

Many of you said we need to postpone plans to build the Center, or not build it at all. While many of you noted the instructional benefits that such a facility could provide to our students--and the enriched staff development opportunities for teachers, you said that now is not the time given our financial constraints. I agree and will recommend that the project opening be delayed until at least 2012. We will, however, continue with our planning for the Center so we will be positioned to move forward when financial conditions improve. Some of you suggested that the money we could save by not building the Center could be used to cover the deficit. That is not possible, as construction money can not be used for general fund expenditures.

We get the feeling it's gonna take more than a little budget deficit to kill this baby.

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Richard Connelly
Contact: Richard Connelly