Thursday, December 16, 2010

Keeping Score on the RISD Bond Election

Wildcat-Ram Stadium Scoreboard

The Richardson school district (RISD) is putting together its Christmas wish list, or rather, its capital needs list for a possible bond election in Spring 2011. You know, all the things you need to run a school system like heating and a/c, electrical and plumbing systems, security systems, paint for the walls, tar for the roofs, computer systems for the classrooms, science equipment for the labs, etc., etc. I trust the administrators and school board members will be fiscally responsible and do the right thing for Richardson's parents, students, and taxpayers. The RISD has set a goal of limiting the bond size so there would be no tax increase.

After the jump, my one niggling concern.

Despite my trust that the RISD is in good hands, there's one possible capital item that's been talked about for years that I really don't want to see get approved. Put me down as opposed to million dollar video scoreboards for the RISD's football stadiums, but not because of the money. Those video scoreboards are used to play commercials during timeouts. There's already something else going on during timeouts -- the band is playing. Playing a Wal-Mart commercial over the band's music is not just annoying to the fans, it's insulting to the kids. Remember, without the band, it's just a game.

According to a story by Jeffrey Weiss in The Dallas Morning News, the district staff and school board have been cutting their wish list down to size. Cutting the luxuries, keeping the essentials. Likely to be cut are those video scoreboards that someone unwisely thought were a good idea.

"Instead of spending $1 million each for new video-equipped scoreboards at the two district stadiums, $200,000 each would replace the current models, which are more than 15 years old. 'It's basically what you have now, but it works,' said Tony Harkleroad, assistant superintendent of finance. 'All of the light bulbs would go on.' "

Like I said, we can trust the RISD to get it right and be fiscally responsible. I'm sure that after all is said and done, the bond proposal put before the voters in 2011 will be one that I can endorse. And I am now a little more hopeful that there won't be any video scoreboards in there, so my endorsement won't have to be half-hearted ... and the band kids won't have their music drowned out by commercials.

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