Lovejoy Thumbs Nose at Taxpayers

Despite public outcry for almost four years to provide proof of secondary operations viability, Lovejoy continues to refuse to provide financial information in the form of a secondary operations budget.

It is now LESS than eight months before the school opens.
Lovejoy is currently incurring secondary OPERATIONS expenses including, an athletic director, a high school principal, a middle school principal, and a counselor.

Lovejoy ISD, under Rich Hickman's directive continues to REFUSE to provide ANY secondary operations budgetary information.
Principals need to be preparing for the year ahead by choosing courses they can offer, curriculum, and hiring teachers.

How can they do that when they do not know how much money they have to spend?

How many teachers can they afford to hire and what can they afford to pay them?
How many books can they buy?
How much computer equipment?
How much do they have to spend on band and athletic uniforms, equipment?

Does Rich Hickman and the Lovejoy school board believe that taxpayers do not have the right to know what Lovejoy will offer children and how their hard-earned tax dollars are being spent?

Taxpayers have been asking for a secondary operations budget for almost FOUR years!....

The first request for a pro forma operations budget was made by concerned parents and taxpayers in spring 2002, before Lovejoy was publicly discussing building secondary schools.

Once the Lovejoy board started discussions about building secondary schools fall 2002, multiple residents asked to see how Lovejoy intended to pay for the promises made in the form of operations financial information.

Lovejoy ISD school board president, Rich Hickman told residents at a public meeting (Dec 11, 2002) that Lovejoy did indeed have a budget. The following day three residents met with Robert Puster to obtain the budget, only to find that Rich Hickman had mislead them. Lovejoy did not have a budget, they were using Sanger ISDs budget.

Lovejoy ISD is either refusing to share secondary financial information with the public or they never completed ANY secondary planning of their own. They based their decision to build secondary schools on the budget from Sanger ISD.

Lovejoy had intended to call for a bond election without producing one single document that showed HOW Lovejoy intended to FUND the operations of the secondary schools. Residents worked hard to gather the 3600 signatures required to force Lovejoy to call for a consolidation election with Allen ISD in hopes of getting financial proof of promises made.

Under extreme pressure Robert Puster threw together some financial information for a crowded public meeting Jan 13, 2003 after early voting had started. The documents were very inadequate in detail, sufficient personnel and accuracy, but did show that Lovejoy would not have enough revenue to cover expenses for the first three years.
(no counselors were included, nor is there any provision for hiring two principals, an athletic director, and counselor a year early as Lovejoy has done)

Several public information requests were made over the years for secondary operations information, that only yielded the inadequate information provided by Robert Puster January 13, 2003. The last request, September 29, 2004 yielded no new information.

In December 2004, a petition was submitted to the Legislative Budget Board asking that they require Lovejoy to provide detailed secondary operations information. Over one hundred Lovejoy residents signed the petition.

Rich Hickman responded to a letter to the editor assuring the community that everything was wonderful.

"Lovejoy High School will be the best. We've been planning it for years, not just in the budget, but in the curriculum and the thousands of other decisions that have to be made. Lovejoy ISD is fortunate to have a wonderful staff and a devoted community. That community demands excellence, and that's exactly what Lovejoy will deliver." (Rich Hickman, President, Lovejoy ISD Board of Trustees, Fairview, DMN, Jan 23, 2005)

Mr. Hickman has the authority to have a secondary operations budget created and shared with the public. He continues to refuse to do so.

Unofficial Lovejoy website -
the only website that provides taxpayers with comprehensive financial and scholastic information at no charge.

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