WISD pushes $80 million bond package, stadium upgrade
JOEY G. DAUBEN
The Ellis County Press
WAXAHACHIE – When is a conflict of interest a conflict?
Waxahachie school board trustees heard from consultants and experts on upgrading Lumpkins Stadium last week to the tune of about $22 million, but factoring in improvements for the high school and ninth grade academy, the total price tag reaches close to $80 million.
This proposal came several months after revelations surfaced in which The Ponder Company paid for WISD’s facilities director, Mike Wright, to travel to Germany for a trade show that promotes athletic buildings and stadium upgrades.
WISD attorneys said there was no conflict of interest. Some school board members balked.
Wright did not return a request for comment, but an open records request for the letter WISD school board trustees received detailing the German trip from Oct. 26 to Nov. 3 was being processed for The Ellis County Press as of press time.
Stadium upgrades in the recession have generated controversy in Waxahachie.
Trustees voted to spend $655,828 to improve Lumpkins Stadiums field turf on April 27 last year in a 4-2 vote.
Trustees Mark Price and Lorinda Yates voted against expenditure.
Some flashback news is warranted in this talk of a proposed bond package.
Back in 2006, WISD taxpayers were blinded by the colorful marketing that passed several propositions in a bond election.
After all of the signs, brochures and Waxahachie Daily Light articles subsided, the WISD school board voted 6-1 to switch/change/alter/go-against-the-voter-initiative a campus that was going to be an intermediate school into an eighth grade center.
Some might say that’s not a big deal.
However, I say it’s a huge deal. It was advertised and billed to the public as an intermediate school, but by one vote of the WISD school board, that campus changed. In other words, WISD and their biggest bond backers used a bait-and-switch.
Their new push for a potential $80 million bond package won’t be as easy.