Architecture Could Be Pivotal Bond Issue

Should Highland Park ISD rebuild for the future or adhere to the past? The answer will be provided by voters on Nov. 3, when the district’s ambitious $361 million bond proposal is on the ballot.

And the solution, as they say, might lie somewhere in the middle.

The district has spent several months putting together a plan to raze and rebuild three of its four elementary schools — Bradfield, Hyer, and University Park — during the next several years. The idea comes in response to unprecedented enrollment growth that has seen existing schools become overcrowded and, in some cases, obsolete.

Escalating Enrollment (Source: HPISD)
Escalating Enrollment (Source: HPISD)

The new campuses would be joined by a new elementary school adjacent to Northway Christian Church and a renovated Armstrong campus. There would also be extensive projects slated for the district’s two secondary campuses, as well, but the ambitious concept for rebuilding the elementary schools — each of which have been around since at least 1949 — has drawn the most skepticism and interest from taxpayers.

Past bond proposals in the district — including the most recent in 2008, for which HPISD is still repaying the debt — have focused on renovations and expansions of the original structures.

“Obviously, with the growth projections, we don’t just want to kick the can down the road,” said Doug Thompson, co-chairman of the Facilities Advisory Committee, the volunteer group of Park Cities parents and civic leaders that helped conceive the audacious idea to reshape the future of HPISD.

“We’re concerned about tearing down three elementary schools and all the traditions associated with that,” said Steve Dawson, treasurer of the Save HPISD Schools Committee, which opposes the plan. “That seems unreasonable.”

The group’s concern is shared by Preservation Dallas, a nonprofit group that advocates for historic community buildings, which recently placed the three elementary schools on its list of “endangered” places in Dallas.

“We felt it was important to call attention to the three historic schools and if there is a way to save them or rescue them instead of taking them down,” said David Preziosi, executive director of Preservation Dallas.

HPISD recently released preliminary sketches from district architect Stantec that show possibilities for the exterior design of the front of the three rebuilt schools. Each would be two stories with an underground parking garage.

EFFECTS ON CAPACITY IF PASSED

enrollment-v-capacity

A plan to build a fifth elementary school in HPISD would allow student capacity to surpass enrollment, which is illustrated below.

campus-growth

Source: PASA Demographics

Stantec’s Jonathan Aldis said many factors went into the designs, including the desire to incorporate historical elements into the new structures.

“This is not about wiping things out and starting again,” Aldis said. “The history needs to be honored going forward.”

Stantec, formerly known as SHW Group, designed the renovations at each campus for the 2008 bond election. The firm was hired again three years ago, after a selection process that included proposals from 22 companies. Aldis has acted as a consultant throughout discussions with the FAC.

“There’s a part of me that will be sad to see them go. But we were willing to step outside our own nostalgia and think about what’s best for our kids and their future,” said FAC member Blythe Koch.

This summer, the district assembled a separate design team for each elementary campus, again comprised of community volunteers, to provide input.

“There are some historical architectural features of each school that are important,” Thompson said. “They will still feel like community neighborhood schools.”

There aren’t any sketches yet for the proposed fifth elementary school, which would be built before any of the existing schools are torn down, then used as a relief campus during construction at Bradfield, Hyer, and UP.

Aldis said there’s still plenty of site planning to be done for the new school, if it passes. The design of the underground parking garages at each campus hasn’t been finalized, and a project management structure hasn’t been determined.

District officials said the design process would be expedited if the bond funding is approved. But officials stressed the desire for public participation.

“These aren’t going to be cookie-cutter schools,” said HPISD superintendent Tom Trigg. “These are very strong examples of what they might look like. It’s a starting point for our community.”

58 thoughts on “Architecture Could Be Pivotal Bond Issue

  • October 22, 2015 at 3:37 pm
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    Highland Park’s complete and total justification for this massive $361 million
    bond is the projected demographics. We peons were told over and over, “We must trust the demographers…trust….trust….trust.” We now know the
    demographers could not even be trusted for a SINGLE YEAR

    Highland Park enrollment is DOWN this year over last.

    TOTAL ENROLLMENT

    2014 – 7,092
    2015 – 7,063

    But, but, but….HPISD is selling a $361 million bond based on enrollment GOING TO THE MOON.

    Now we know that not only is HPISD not growing HPISD is actually SHRINKING, unless the the “non-existent” Section 8 students are included in the coming years.

    http://www.parkcitiestaxpayers.org/declining.html

    Reply
    • October 25, 2015 at 6:09 pm
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      disqus 55, perhaps you and disqus 11 can get together and come up with something more original. Or just step into the light.

      Reply
  • October 22, 2015 at 5:14 pm
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    I am perplexed by something that appears to be a conflict of interest. How is it that the co-chair of the FAC shows HPISD as a client “coming soon” under its academic projects? Please tell me that Pritchard Associates is not managing this project.

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    • October 22, 2015 at 11:15 pm
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      Hmmm … I thought that was interesting, so I looked at their website. I don’t see that under “academic projects.” It was there earlier?

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      • October 23, 2015 at 9:04 am
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        Yes, it was there earlier in the week. Funny how that was taken down. Come on PCP, where’s your journalistic instincts? Doesn’t anyone think this as a problem? If you’re not buying it, it was mentioned on this very website, and I took a screen shot of it to forward it to a friend.

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        • October 23, 2015 at 3:00 pm
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          Gage Prichard (note the spelling) has no affiliation with Pritchard Associates (again, note the spelling). Gage Prichard is one of the finest men in this community, and his integrity is beyond reproach.

          You have every right to be for or against the Bond, but there is no need to spread false claims (as some of those against the bond have done throughout the campaign).

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          • October 26, 2015 at 12:41 pm
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            Looks to me like it was listed as “Coming Soon” over a year ago on their website (from archive.org), which is I think is before the land agreement was made. So it could be unrelated, and it sounds from above like Pritchard is not part of the FAC anyway. But I do think it’s good to look into things like that. Would not be the first time a conflict of interest has existed in Park Cities politics.

  • October 22, 2015 at 8:57 pm
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    On what planet is this “not about wiping things out and starting again”? The renderings for the replacement schools bear no resemblance whatsoever to our beautiful, historic schools that now stand.

    This bond issue is not about “stepping outside of our nostalgia,” as FAC member Blythe Koch derisively frames it, implying bond opponents are “bitter clingers.” No, the votes on this bond issue will determine whether we honor, preserve and protect our values, history, and heritage, and the character of our neighborhood. But Ms. Koch — whose illogical reasoning is fortunately a minority view — clearly sees it differently: Out with the old and in with the new! Perhaps she would advise Ray Washburne to bulldoze Highland Park Village, built so long ago. And what about Kuby’s? It’s so yester-year; such a relic. Heck, axe old Peggy Sue’s, too.

    So what would it feel like if our shared history is erased? Look at the school renderings, which are mortifying and horrifying. Forget nouveau riche — these proposed plans are nouveau stupid. They’re an embarrassment. The new Bradfield looks like an expensive hotel in Beverly Hills. At least the moms can wander the school in luxe terry-cloth bathrobes and blend right in. Hyer looks like a satellite of UVA; all that’s missing is a replica of Jefferson’s tombstone and a beer keg. UP looks like a presidential library. Maybe George Bush will do the dedication. But even if he doesn’t, the opulence alone is sure to make the news.

    No effort has been made whatsoever to retain any of the historical elements of these schools, save for Hyer’s wrought iron sign. No wonder Stantec doesn’t want to unveil its rendering of the 5th elementary school — which will be the FIRST school to be built. It’s likely to be hideous, given the schools Stantec has built in other states.

    How rich is the irony. We are constantly trying to shake off our “elite, snooty, entitled” reputation that has — thus far — been essentially undeserved. But these replacement schools will make that reputation stick. And “ostentatious and pretentious” will be rightly added to the list.

    Roughly $30 million each to reduce three of our historical schools to rubble and replace them with garish eyesores, just so that each demolished school can take another 60 students, just after we spent millions upon millions renovating them all. The YES pack — a ferocious group if you cross them — likes to claim the schools will get other wonderful features like enhanced security and technology. But we got all that, and more, in the 2008 bond. To bulldoze these lovingly renovated historic elementary schools — when the last bond has yet to be paid — is outrageous. Numbers aren’t nostalgic and neither are bond holders when it’s their time to get paid. Taking on debt of this magnitude is sheer lunacy. (And enough of the “hurry, hurry! Interest rates!” argument; yields on the ten year will probably be negative within a year).

    If the HPISD Board could not foresee this alleged “unprecedented growth” when it shook us down for $75M in 2008, how can we trust its demographic projections or any other claims it makes today? Notice that only now — after the Board has spent all $75M of our money — do they tell us “oh, sorry, yeah the $75 million we borrowed in 2008 was just a bandaid — a bandaid so flimsy the schools are not even worth saving.”

    Sorry, but the Board’s stewardship of our hard-earned money thus far inspires zero confidence in its claims or its competence today.

    When did our humility and understatement, our love and appreciation for our small town, and our honored, cherished history get thrown out the window, only to be replaced with arrogance, intolerance, and derision towards all dissenters? People are defacing or outright stealing “Vote No” signs and the YES PAC lists people as supporters who are not. So much for living in civility in this once-upon-a-time “community.” If this is what “stepping outside of our nostalgia” looks like, don’t save a seat for me at this table for the nobility.

    Finally, too many frequently asked-but-never-answered questions remain for anyone to cast an informed vote. For instance, is the claimed property tax increase based on the total $363M debt, the $363M plus our 2008 and other outstanding debt, or is it based solely on the first tranch of new bonds that will be sold? Will our bond rate be fixed or floating? A twenty-year or thirty-year maturity? Where are the bids from other bond underwriters — or was this a closed-bid project? Where are the bids for the job of general contractor? Or the bids for materials? It’s all too hide-the-ballsy.

    If, as the YES PAC claimed in a recent email, we won’t reach our projected student capacity for another 20 years, what will we be doing with the vacant 5th elementary school? How much will property values (and thus tax revenue) decline for the poor souls living near the fifth school, whose children are conscripted into attendance? And just what are the new attendance zones for all 5 elementary schools? Where will the $25 million for “future land acquisition” be spent, dear overlords? Do teachers understand the increase in our property taxes will wipe out almost entirely our Mad for Plaid donations, thus eliminating almost all of their salary supplementation? The list goes on and on.

    The voters need to kill this ill-conceived monster bond. A better bond will pass muster on its own merits. With a better bond there will be no cause for Highlander Stadium vote-harvesting or constant email barrages. Our children deserve a better bond, and for our children and grandchildren, we have a charge to keep: to protect, preserve and defend our neighborhood, our rich architecture, and our unique values and heritage.

    Reply
    • October 24, 2015 at 6:44 am
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      “Where are the bids from other bond underwriters — or was this a closed-bid project?” – Bulldoze HP Village

      Who is slated to be the underwriter for these bonds?

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      • October 24, 2015 at 2:00 pm
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        Royal Bank of Canada … as usual. No other bids were sought or considered.

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        • October 27, 2015 at 7:22 am
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          Thanks for your reply and for that info. The more I consider this bond proposal, the more I dislike it.

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        • October 29, 2015 at 9:54 am
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          That is false, RBC is not the underwriter. Please get your facts correct if you plan on answering questions.

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          • October 29, 2015 at 7:25 pm
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            Who is the underwriter?

          • October 30, 2015 at 4:31 am
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            As for RBC, here’s some thin air for you, Adam.

            http://www.hpisd.org/Portals/0/docs/facilities/Bond_financing_alternatives_111714.pdf

            And no, bond proponents have not been “extremely kind” to bond opponents who have done nothing but asked questions (e.g., the district still can’t tell us whether the estimated property tax increase is based on one tranch of bonds, the entire $361M issuance, or includes the additional $1M we still owe) and attempted to present different perspectives on this mammoth expenditure, backed up with facts.

            Characterizing opponents as “race-baiting, fear-mongerers making false caims and spreading rumors …” is hardly kind, much less tolerant or inclusive of competing views.

            Several of us who are in favor of a bond — just not THIS bond — have had speaking engagements cancelled at the eleventh hour, phone calls unreturned, social shunning at those oh-so-critical kiddie soccer games. I could go on and on …

            Finally, it did not escape notice that these so-called “false claims and rumors” were sufficient to trigger rapid-fire multi-page weekend emails from either the district’s or the YES PAC’s attorneys.

          • October 31, 2015 at 4:22 pm
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            Yes, RBC provided a presentation (which you attached) that provided a scenario analysis and potential tax impacts of each. This does not equate to RBC being the underwriter. They are not the underwriter–and no underwriter has been selected–there will be a competitive bidding process once the bond has passed. Again, please check your facts.

          • November 1, 2015 at 5:27 pm
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            Well, that’s a relief!

            RBC’s scenarios should be called 13 Shades of Pain.

            On the downside, if it isn’t RBC, then the projected increases in property taxes for 2016-2017 only — all based on RBC’s scenarios — are even more meaningless than we suspected. Since the debt structure for this whopping $361M is completely up in the air, how can the district purport to project tax increases when such a feat is impossible? (Other than to hornswoggle the voters.)

            And Stantec isn’t slated to be the architect. That will go out for bid if the bond passes, just as the job of underwriter will, correct?

            Only PASA — a company hired solely to help school districts win bond elections — is officially on the payroll, right?

            Thanks, Fact Man. Too bad that, according to you, there aren’t any facts to check.

            If you like your school, you can’t keep it, and we have to pass the bond to see what’s in it.

          • November 2, 2015 at 10:00 am
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            RBC is the financial advisor to the district. Stantec’s selection went out for bid a long time ago. They were selected by the district from among 22 firms in 2012.

          • November 2, 2015 at 10:55 am
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            Chris, Please provide a link to the bidding announcement and selection that you referenced.

          • November 2, 2015 at 4:59 pm
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            It was stated in the email from the District on October 7th.

          • November 2, 2015 at 7:05 pm
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            And we can all trust you and the District. If this is true, the Board would have acted and it would be reflected in Board Minutes. Where is the link to the board minutes????

          • November 2, 2015 at 9:12 pm
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            yes, but the only evidence I could find was a Board agenda item by Mr. Turner stating that SHW group has “previously been engaged as the architect for … 2008.. The recommendations to engage SHW for oversight and planning. ” No mention of any other bidders.

    • October 25, 2015 at 6:00 pm
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      Ray Washburn just might have something to say about your plan for the Village.

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      • November 3, 2015 at 3:33 pm
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        he is a jerk so who cares what he thinks.

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    • October 29, 2015 at 10:15 am
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      The Vote yes group has been extremely kind in their response to multiple attacks. Lots of incorrect information has been sent out and rather than attack the senders of the information they have simply worked to provide the truth. In your note you “guessed” at what someone was implying ( implying bond opponents are “bitter clingers.”) that is a giant leap if you ask me. Look at the facts and what people say and stop trying to make your argument by creating things out of thin air.

      Reply
  • October 22, 2015 at 10:20 pm
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    I find it interesting that the group (SAVE HPISD Schools Committee) who oppose the bond reside in the shadows without making themselves easily known. AS such we can not even confirm the SAVE HPISD group is primarily made of of residents within HPISD. A cursory search does not find Steve Dawson living in HPISD, but in Garland.. Well Steve may live (rent) in HPISD, but he doesn’t own residential property and therefore he does not pay taxes so why should he care? Those that are for the bond are visible with names published on the support website as well as the members of the community committee that reviewed ALL of the alternatives.

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    • October 23, 2015 at 9:48 am
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      Harry,

      I guess you didn’t look very hard to find Steve or his family. They’ve lived in HPISD for many years. I also find it interesting that the “Yes” Bond PAC lists people as supporters who are not and never gave permission to use their names in support of this bond proposal. It is even more interesting that the community has a list of its members that support this extraordinary debt and continue to insinuate the district is growing when they personally know that the district’s enrollment has actually DECREASED from 2014 to 2015. The Community knows who are proud to be public liars!

      Harry, why do you support this bond knowing that HPISD enrollment is going down, not up?

      Reply
      • October 25, 2015 at 6:07 pm
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        One year is not a trend, Look at the long term movement of the enrollment curve. Perhaps a remedial course in statistics is required.

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    • October 23, 2015 at 9:55 am
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      Harry, You don’t seem to live or own a home in HPISD – what’s your beef? Who are you hiding from? Are you one of the no-bid HPISD contractors whose children will benefit most from the bond passing?

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      • October 25, 2015 at 5:58 pm
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        See the above response. And no I am not a contractor, and if the bond is approved my kids will not directly benefit as they will be close to being graduated from college. And what kind of moniker is disqus 11? Can you not come up with something better th hide behind?

        Reply
    • October 24, 2015 at 1:07 am
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      How is it Harry, that they remain in the shadows? Just like the foundations for future PAC, contributors are subject to public view. When neither the facts nor the law are on your side, make an ad hominem attack.
      Save HPISD schools names are just as visible. All you have done is point fingers and call names, both of which in my grandmother’s opinion are extremely rude.

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      • October 25, 2015 at 5:54 pm
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        Traci, Like you I live in the district. Save HPISD Schools is not listed as a 501 (c) type of organization according to Guidestar. Second, Neither savehpisd.org or savehpisdschools.com provides information as to who is actually supporting or funding the campaigns to defeat the bond election. This is the simple reason I state these groups reside in the shadows.You should listen to your grandmother. But her opinion is just that an opinion.

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        • October 26, 2015 at 9:46 pm
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          Harry, do you not even read posts? Who said Save HPISD schools is a 501 (c)? I was talking about PACs. Another thing my grandmother taught me, tell it like it is. Calling a spade a spade and you are just plain stupid. PACs and 501(c) are totally different things. 501 (c) raise money to fund projects and PAC groups find political agendas. PAC groups are transparent and you can see who contributed. Why has the district changed their facts and figures at every turn? Why are there no minutes from the FAC meetings? Why have any options to speak publically for a better bond been squashed? Why is the district so AFRAID of an opposing opinion??!

          Reply
          • October 27, 2015 at 1:29 pm
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            OK Traci I will yield to some of your points.
            I question why such venom is unleashed on the school board, the fac etc. when the real target should be the State of Texas itself, the TEA, and the Legislature.
            The simple fact that everyone seems to ignore is that since the start of “Robin Hood”, HPISD has transferred $1,050,216,604 to the State through 2014. Yes, that is an exact number direct from the TEA website. For 2015-16 the number is $80,533,657. The formulas used to steal our tax dollars is so complex that very few can make since of them much less comprehend them so that they can be made equatable. We (HPISD) could self fund the entire amount of the Bond amount if the State would give us the chance, but they need our tax dollars to transfer to districts they refuse to fund in an meaningful way. That is why the lawsuits have been filed, and the law is now deemed unconstitutional by the District Court. Now we wait on the Supreme Court. HPISD along with other “Robin Hood” districts are really afraid the State will look to take more than they already do as a percentage which has always been around 70%-75%.

          • October 27, 2015 at 3:06 pm
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            Gee Harry, if you lived in HPISD back when Robin Hood was put in place, you’d remember the school district supporters that assured us it was temporary, not to worry about it. Kinda like AFFH Section 8 is today. AFFH Section 8 will make Robin Hood look like a walk in the park.

          • October 28, 2015 at 10:39 am
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            Ok disqus 11, answer me this, where exactly will AFFH Sec 8 housing be located that meets both of these specifically required criteria:
            1. Located in the City of Dallas
            2. Located within the boundaries of the HPISD

            Understand that satisfying only one of these criteria means the AFFH Sec 8 proposal fails.

          • October 28, 2015 at 11:43 am
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            If I were the city of Dallas and Dallas Housing Authority each with eminent domain powers, access to federal block grants, the ability to change zoning in Dallas at my whim, in big trouble with HUD and subject to losing $200-$250m of my budget if I didn’t QUICKLY provide Section 8 housing to “high quality education” as I am required to do AND if there was a solid commitment to creating a huge student capacity that my taxpayers didn’t have to pay for, I’d pick some of the 20-odd blocks of homes and condos, particularly by NW Hwy, which in fact ARE in the City of Dallas AND HPISD. The Condos would be top choice because the children can walk to elementary school, the residents can walk to the grocery store and retail, plus NorthPark, DART already has a stop close by and lastly, ICE has an office a few blocks away. All I’d be waiting for to make my announcement would be for HPISD to commit to building the space. I sure wouldn’t say anything officially before because there’s no way the bond would pass if the public knew officially that the space they were building out would be used for Section 8 residents.

            Check out the district’s map yourself. Dallas is in yellow. Planning area 5 in particular.

            http://www.hpisd.org/Portals/0/docs/demographicstudies/Demographic_Update_June_2014.pdf#page=46

            For more on AFFH:

            http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/420896/massive-government-overreach-obamas-affh-rule-out-stanley-kurtz

            http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonkblog/wp/2015/07/08/obama-administration-to-unveil-major-new-rules-targeting-segregation-across-u-s/

            http://www.cnn.com/2015/06/23/politics/fair-housing-act-texas-supreme-court/

          • October 28, 2015 at 1:27 pm
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            Lets add to your specifics.
            The logical choice you have identified is NW Hwy, south to the center of Wentwood. The East and West boundaries are Boedecker and Durham. Lets start with the condos, only half of the condos are actually in HPISD.
            From you provided link, please note HPISD on encompasses the homes with 7400 numbers. In the middle of each of these blocks, while still in Dallas, numbers switch to 7500. The dividing line between HPISD and DISD is this line running N/S.
            To construct a Public housing complex as you describe will be financially impossible for the following reasons:
            1. The entire area would need to be rezoned from R-7.5 to MF-2 or higher density.
            2. As you point out the powers of eminent domain could be used. You are talking about the taking of 51 properties + the condos. Why 51 instead of the 20, you need buffer and setbacks etc for the construction of such a project. By the way, in round numbers the DCAD values those 51 properties at $35,153,000.
            3. Litigation. 51 challenges to the eminent domain + the condos + one really big one from HPISD.
            4. Time-The litigation alone will take years to resolve.
            5. Again I go back to you provided map. Only half of your proposed area is actually in HPISD and the other in DISD. So now you propose moving an ISD boundary? ISD boundaries have been litigated up and down and the odds of getting a court to change a boundary to satisfy the City of Dallas, State of Texas, HUD and every other bleeding heart out there lies somewhere between 0 and none. Not only is it a local (County Court), it is State of Texas and the Federal District, 5th Circuit, and Supreme. And it is my guess the State would side with the homeowners and HPISD to fight this action from the get go as the State would see this as the Feds coming to Texas and dictating local jurisdiction. As the issues pile up, it won’t happen. So sorry.

          • October 28, 2015 at 3:30 pm
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            Harry, you bring up completely irrelevant arguments and know nothing of how eminent domain actually works here in Texas. The state of Texas will come to the aid of HPISD just like they did to counter the BLM in takings of other private land here in Texas. No HPISD boundaries need be changed. You just want to argue.

          • October 29, 2015 at 11:46 am
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            disque 11
            I am not arguing with your viewpoint, I am providing a logical exception to what you believe to be a forgone conclusion. It would be interesting to make a FOIA request to the various parties you have named plus others I have added (City of Dallas, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, Office of City of Dallas Attorney, City Attorney Warren MS Ernest, DHA, DHA Interim Director Bernadette Mitchel, Office of Jennifer S. Gates, Councilwoman District 13, DISD, DISD Office of General Counsel, DISD General Counsel Jack Elrod, Office of DISD Trustee for District 2, Mike Morath, HUD, HUD Secretary Julian Castro, HUD Office of General Counsel, HUD General Counsel Helen R. Kanovskey, etc.) specifically requesting any correspondence (physical USPS, electronic email, legal memorandums related to or referencing the following topics-Highland Park Independent School District, aka-HPISD, City of University Park, Town of Highland Park, North Dallas, AFFH Section 8, City of Dallas Block Grant, I can go on.
            The point is, if you truly believe there is a underlying plan by the City of Dallas and HUD as well as those other parties listed to go through the long and arduous task of your concern, then I suggest you file your FOIA request for documents.

          • October 29, 2015 at 12:04 pm
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            Harry – you didn’t read what I wrote earlier – there is no way Dallas will disclose its plans in time to blow out the HPISD bond. You might actually want to think before you respond.

            BTW, how come all the people who have Yes signs in their yards don’t have matching Mad-for-Plaid signs???? Could it be that their kids are only worth taking other people’s taxes to pay for new buildings?

            It sure looks like the “Yes” parents are falling way behind on actually supporting the education of their own children on their own dime where it actually makes a difference – the teachers.

            But then, that is to be expected, since there is no plan – only a hope – to raise Mad-for-Plaid funds alongside the bond monies. Hope isn’t working very well, is it.

          • October 29, 2015 at 12:38 pm
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            The vote on Nov. 3 is to approve/authorize HPISD to issue the bonds. It will be a number of months until the bond are actually underwritten and issued, time enough for you to prove there is a conspiracy by the City of Dallas and HUD. If you are correct, the City of Dallas and HUD would not spring their trap until actual construction starts because there would be no turning back on the plan by HPISD at that point. Then starts the litigation.

          • October 29, 2015 at 1:47 pm
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            Litigation by whom and on what basis?

          • October 30, 2015 at 7:12 am
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            The first lawsuit (State Court) is based on the eminent domain taking of property by those parties whose property would be taken and HPISD on economic impact to the district..The second lawsuit (also in State Court) would be by HPISD based on the economic impact (lower tax values), cross jurisdictional encroachment (City of Dallas directly impacting HPISD attendance zone configuration with higher density student population) to satisfy the desires of a third party (HUD). Because of he involvement of a the Federal Agency there would also be cause of action in Federal Court. (City of Dallas receiving funds to implement and execute the plan) .Because of the cross jurisdictional impact, I would argue that the City of Dallas would be required to notify HPISD prior to the beginning of the whole process.
            Additionally, if all of this were to get through the courts in favor of your concern, the State of Texas/TEA would immediately see reduced Chapter 41 recapture of wealth from HPISD reduced due to the added lower/disadvantaged students go from 0 to X because of the components within the Chapter 41 formulas.

          • October 30, 2015 at 10:27 am
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            Glad to hear Section 8 issues can all be simply, timely, not to mention, cheaply solved by a few lawsuits. Kinda like Robin Hood was solved and made to go away quietly in the night – right?

          • October 29, 2015 at 12:43 pm
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            Also, as for your Mad for Plaid analysis, the program for the current period only began a few weeks ago therefore your timing and analysis is incorrect.

          • October 29, 2015 at 1:59 pm
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            Hope for Plaid – no rush for the Yes crowd. I’m sure the teachers won’t mind.

          • October 29, 2015 at 3:44 pm
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            I don’t have a Mad for Plaid sign in my yard because I gave a chunk of money to UP Elementary this year, as I do every year because that’s where my “life” is right now. Guess I can divide it up since some of it goes to different buckets, just to get a sign. I didn’t realize until recently that MFP isn’t just a high school thing. So, please don’t throw stones because I see just as many nonexistent MFP signs in the “no” yards as I do the “yes” yards. Interestingly, most I see are in yards with no signs at all!

  • October 23, 2015 at 9:48 am
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    Projected demographics aside, there are plenty of reasons not to support the bond. First, if you spent $75 million just a few years ago to renovate schools only to tell us now that it wasn’t enough or you missed the boat, how can I believe that these folks will be good stewards of my money now? Trust is everything, folks.

    Secondly, I believe HPHS has severe overcrowding issues (walk a hall between classes, and it’s scary), but are we really addressing those for the long term? We are building an additional elementary school, but we would tear down three schools to add only 60 students to each. How does that make sense? Why wouldn’t you plan for the “scary” growth coming at those schools as well? You’re swinging for the fences on everything else, why not here? (Let’s not even talk about the lucky folks with multi-million dollar homes who will now have the view of a parking garage.)

    Third, I love sports. However, why do we actually believe we NEED a new pool? I guess it’s for the same reason we need a softball field (yes, I know, Title IX). Just how many students use both of those facilities anyway? We live in a time where everyone gets what they want without consideration for the greater good. If we have 40 kids in both these programs, why must the taxpayers pay for it at the expense of improving the school for all? We’re landlocked, kiddies, so something has to give. In other words, if you want the taxpayers to give, perhaps we need a little concession from the district.

    Lastly, let’s all face the 800 lb gorilla in the room. HPISD has slipped behind as one of the better schools in the metroplex according to latest rankings I’ve seen (US News and World Report, . I know a lot of folks who have spent thousands on tutors. Everyone knows it so let’s not pretend it doesn’t happen. Can’t we hire some better teachers to teach in our little nirvana?

    OK, folks, I’m ready. Pile on!

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  • October 23, 2015 at 10:16 am
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    For clarification, HPISD has NOT hired Pritchard & Assc., any construction companies or any construction managers. That will be done if the Bond passes thru Request for Qualifications (RFQ) and Texas state laws. For further clarification, Gage Prichard and Pritchard & Assc or NOT related in any way. As you can see, the names are not even spelled the same. As to demographics, please go to the HPISD website to the monthly board meetings. Posted every month is the enrollment numbers comapred to the previous year. In addition, if you will take a look at every year for the last 30 years, you will note that some years are down and some are up. Bottom line, 3,000 new kids in 25 years and we have multiple ways to grow.

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    • October 23, 2015 at 10:55 am
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      Jim, I heard you wanted to name the new school after your mom. She’ll be proud I’m sure. Since the nearest enrollment forecast should be the most accurate, and it is again, WAY OFF REALITY, the rest of the forecast cannot be relied upon to be any more accurate. I’m sure Pritchard & Associates said an HPISD job was “coming soon” because they knew something – right – surely they wouldn’t make a public claim to their shareholders that wasn’t true.

      Since you stated “we have multiple ways to grow” – that would include the AFFH Section 8 solution – right? Why won’t you be honest with the community about where the students are going to come from? Why are you wanting to build out capacity for 500 more students than even the flawed demographic study calls for by 2023?

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      • October 25, 2015 at 6:06 pm
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        A personal attack on Jim is uncalled for. And, as Jim has pointed out you need to check the spelling.
        Sec 8 is not possible. The only property that could be targeted is North Park Gardens and the whole property is not contained in HPISD.

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    • October 24, 2015 at 12:47 am
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      Why did the Pritchard and Associates’ web page show HPISD as a “coming soon” project? Not about the names, it is about a project that is supposed to be up for bid once the bond passes. HPISD has been listed on their web site for weeks and then is suddenly removed once the district was made aware. Having served as a volunteer in various community capacities, it is my opinion that this is an ethical mishap at best. When I am a steward of other people’s money, I am sure to get multiple bids and spend frugally.

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      • October 29, 2015 at 10:07 am
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        No bidding has happened. Who knows why that is on their web-page but you can’t believe everything you read on the web. Fact checking is a must.

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    • October 26, 2015 at 10:07 pm
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      Jim, why did Pritchard and Associates list HPISD as a coming soon project? Doesn’t matter if they are related, it matters that they listed our district when it is a project out for bid. Suddenly it was removed from their site when brought to the district’s attention. Please respond to enrollment listed in the facilities long range planing report, M & O from May 2015 that shows enrollment in 2015-2016 as 7196? If the demographics are so accurate, why are we off by over 100 students in this projection? Personally, I have lost all trust in the school board to work in the best interest of our students. I have volunteered in numerous capacities, over a decade. The saddest part of this is, I trusted that we live in a community and an age where both sides of an issue could be heard. Sadly, we do not. The community has not been given a voice. I have reached out to members who are pro this bond and have had calls remain unturned, I have been invited to speak to groups only to have those opportunities cancelled in the last hour. I respect those with differing opinions, it is a shame that the favor is not returned.

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  • October 27, 2015 at 2:17 pm
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    As to demographics and future enrollment, I think Mr. Schuh (his expertise in investments and mine is not) could probably explain it better than I as I compare enrollment projections to a long term financial investment. When looking to the future, you base your predictions on the history of a potential investment and its potential. Likewise, when you’re predicting student enrollment for the next 10/15/20 years, you study past enrollment history and the reasons for the increase and decrease. You look at the information and risks and make a prediction/projection. Similar to that of a long term financial investment. Based on the last 30 years of enrollment history, a 2,000 student increase over the next 10/15/20 years seems reasonable. So if the numbers are off for one or two years, there’s no need to panic. Just like a long term financial investment. You don’t pull your money on a short term negative impact if you’re focused on a long term goal. Or in HPISD, a long term solution.

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  • October 27, 2015 at 2:21 pm
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    As to Pritchard and Assc., you would have to direct your inquiries to them. I cannot answer for them nor do I personally know anyone associated with them.

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  • October 27, 2015 at 2:38 pm
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    As to naming the new school after my mother…what a great idea! I had not thought of that until I saw a post from “disqus55”. (I’m not sure I know anyone by that name) So, I asked my mother her thoughts of having a school named after her and as flattered and honored as she was, she declined saying “one public park is enough.”
    I encourage everyone to get out and vote, regardless your opinion. I am always available to discuss any school related issue. Just send me an email and I will be happy to set up a time to meet and discuss any thoughts or concerns you have.

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  • November 3, 2015 at 8:06 am
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    Wow…HPHS Senior students were told during school announcements to remember to vote in the mobile early voting booth near the gym. I guess that’s why teachers have been talking about how great the buildings will be if the bond passes. (Oops…that’s illegal to say while on the job and on school property.)

    Tell all 18 year olds to go vote today. And remind them that they won’t be able to afford living here in 20 years. Since our property values will increase so much as a result of this bond, plus all the additional real estate taxes, wish them good luck living elsewhere.

    Wow – The latest update from the Yes people says: “The 2008 bond was only expected to accommodate growth until about 2014 (see page 22
    of demographic report used by 2008 FAC).”

    Here is what the introduction of said demographic report says:

    “The Highland Park Independent School District has retained Harner and Associates to prepare enrollment projections for the district for the next ten years and for individual schools for the next five years. Data from this report will be used for facility planning.”

    Then, page 22 Is a chart which includes attendance projections for 2005 through 2014.

    And they think that means the 2008 bond was sold as only accommodating growth for 6 years?

    Wait…..don’t answer that yet……check out the following letter which was posted by HPISD on Feb 14, 2011:

    “As construction projects wrap up, our gratitude goes out to you…..In May of 2008, this community voted to make an investment in our school facilities that will benefit the children for generations to come. On behalf of the HPISD School Board of Trustees, I want to once again thank the community for approving the $75.4 million bond referendum that allowed these crucial improvements to be made to our seven campuses……The construction team members – SHW Architects, Adolfson & Peterson Construction and Pritchard Associates – did a commendable job of working with the district and community to complete this construction program on time and under budget.”

    By the way, if you want to read that letter of gratitude in its entirety at archive.constantcontact.com, just google “HPISD PRITCHARD ASSOCIATES” (yes….that’s funny after the comment about no knowledge of Pritchard. Also funny…..”will benefit the children for generations to come.”)

    Wow – Are we to expect another bond in 6 years explaining that this year’s bond was also based on flawed data and inadequate construction? Actually, we should expect another bond in 8 years (about 3 years after all this work is complete), since that is how far the graph goes on pg 24 of the HPISD Facilities Status and Plan presented by the FAC.

    None of this instilled confidence in my mind. That’s why I voted no.

    Reply

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