By Peggy Venable
Ector County Independent School District in Odessa (ECISD) is not alone in spending millions of education funds on housing projects for teachers. Midland ISD voted to follow ECISD and rather than build an apartment complex, MISD is going to purchase mobile homes. That’s right. Mobile homes.
It was reported that at $32,000 a unit, the purchase price of 70 manufactured homes will cost Midland ISD taxpayers $2.24 million.
It appears that the monopoly government school officials have little confidence in the private sector and have enough of our tax dollars to branch out into the housing business. ISD officials figure that rent payments will generate $2.52 million over four years, and utilizing the buy-back option, MISD thinks they could recoup the additional $1 million in project costs by selling the homes back to the seller for 40 to 50 percent of the purchase price. Hum…
It was reported that the 1,024-square-foot homes will be purchased out of school district fund balance in both two- and three-bedroom models so they can serve both families and single staff members who wish to live with a roommate, Warren said.
Wait a minute – did they say “fund balance”? That is the money ISD’s set aside that they do not need to fund their education operations. If MISD has enough in their “district fund balance” to spend $2.24 million on mobile homes, then do they really need all the property tax and state money taxpayers are sending to the District?
Legislators seem to work under the assumption that schools are cash-strapped.
In 2011, school district officials claimed that the legislature’s cut in the growth of spending (it was not a spending cut) would devastate the schools and they would have to institute massive teacher lay-offs. This most recent session, legislators put billions more in education funding.
It appears ISD’s have money to spend on mobile homes.
Do taxpayers want to fund private sector ventures with education dollars? Should our tax dollars compete with entrepreneurs?
As the school finance lawsuit is opened again, we hope Judge Dietz will reconsider these IDS’s claims against the state. Both ECISD and MISD joined the lawsuit claiming the State funding for education is inadequate. It appears they have more than enough money for education and other investment ventures.
The bottom line is whether buying mobile homes and getting into the housing business is an appropriate role for the monopoly government school system. We at Americans for Prosperity don’t think it is. What do you think?