Lovejoy/Allen Consolidation Election
& Bond Election
A survey completed by Lovejoy in year 2000 showed that the community
was not interested in building secondary schools because of concerns
of higher tax rates.
rate was a pivotal issue for many residents.
The Lovejoy board planned on calling for a bond election (to fund
building a high school) without providing any verifiable operations
costs or curriculum information to the community. They formed
the "Committee of 40" to recommend whether to call the
bond election or a consolidation election.
If the bond election was first, it would probably have passed
and the board would have escaped any financial oversight.
When concerned citizens realized that
this was the plan, they started collecting the necessary signatures
required for a county judge to call for a consolidation election.
After being FORCED to call for a consolidation election, the
school board began holding meetings in private homes in the district
stating that the proposed tax rate was $1.60. This was a 30-cent
reduction in the tax rate quoted in a previous letter provided
to the community BEFORE the consolidation election was FORCED.
Before consolidation election
September - November 2002
Tax Rate - $1.90
Lovejoy letter from School
Board President Rich Hickman: (PDF
file saved from official Lovejoy web site.)
If Lovejoy ISD separates from Allen ISD, Lovejoy ISD taxpayers
can expect increased tax rates to pay for needed secondary facilities
and increased operating costs. The Lovejoy ISD expected tax
rate would also be in the $1.90s, very similar
to the rate if the districts consolidate.
Lovejoy had provided no verifiable
financial or curriculum information to community at the time this
letter was sent. The Lovejoy School Board was planning on calling
a bond election at this time.
The presentations in the October Allen/Lovejoy
meetings primarily focused on the costs of consolidation versus
Lovejoy building its own secondary system. The costs were pretty
much equal showing a slight advantage of $ per child for Lovejoy
to build, but this would be offset by the loss of economies of
scale available through consolidation of districts.
Lovejoy administration sold the community
on voting to build with promises of $1.60 tax rate, REGULAR plus
pre-AP & AP classes, the advantages of small schools, while
steadfastly refusing to show how they could afford to operate
secondary schools. (Lovejoy High School opened without a line-item
budget) The Committee for Lovejoy schools a Political Action Committee,
(two are now on the Lovejoy school board, one is the curriculum
the public on the same issues, plus small class sizes.
by some residents, who formed a PAC (CUE) to warn Lovejoy residents,
none of the above promises have been kept. None of the
CUE members worked for Lovejoy or owned land surrounding the new
high school, or sold land to the school, or had contracts with
Lovejoy, or in ANY WAY profited from the school.
The Lovejoy school board and administration
provided the community with the following information:
to the community, Oct 2002
Curriculum for new secondary schools, Oct 2002
Missing information requested
by concerned community members included:
- Pro forma secondary operating budget (still
not available - less than one year before high school opens)
- Curriculum provided by that budget (still
not available - less than one year before high school opens)
- Signs to mark high school and middle school
sites in Lucas (Lovejoy refused to place signs until after
successful bond election)
- Traffic and safety studies (never completed)
- Infrastructure and service impact evaluation
(roads, sewer, police, fire protection)
- A comparison of what Allen ISD had to offer secondary
students versus Lovejoy ISD
The Lovejoy board planned to call for
a bond election first, February 2002. If the bond election failed,
they would consider calling a consolidation election in
Allen ISD had told Lovejoy that
if they did not call for a consolidation election by February
1st, 2003 that consolidation would no longer be an option.
"But prolonging the decision,
Allen school board members say, would hinder Allen's ability to
plan for building the high school space it would need to accommodate
the Lovejoy students.
"If they decide in December to call a bond election, they
need to know that we'll wish them well," said school board
member Kevin Kerr. "But consolidation is over."
Allen school officials said during a meeting Monday night that
it would not be fair to provide a safety net for the Lovejoy district
at their expense. "
10/30/2002 CONNIE PILOTO / The Dallas Morning News
Committee of 40
The Lovejoy administration and school
board hand-picked a "Committee
of 40" whose task it was to recommend to the board whether
Lovejoy should build secondary schools or consolidate with AllenISD.
The published decision process to consolidate or build included
a "Committee of 100", but not the "Committee of
Allen ISD and the Lovejoy community had not been apprised of this
"additional" step until after the decision was made.
When taxpayers asked for a list of
who was selected, Lovejoy superintendent, Carol Ray asked the
Lovejoy attorney if the law required her to give taxpayers that
information. The attorney stated that taxpayers had the right
to see the list.
DMN quote from Lovejoy superintendent,
[A community member] "says she believes Lovejoy district
officials want to separate and provide secondary education.
District officials say they have not made a decision and are awaiting
the recommendations of a group of 40 residents who are studying
the move. That group is expected to make a recommendation to the
school board next week.
"We're waiting to see what our group [Committee
of 40] recommends," said Lovejoy Superintendent
Carol Ray. "It's the democratic way ... to vote on it."
If district officials decide against consolidating, the district
could call for a bond election to finance construction of new
secondary schools during the Feb. 1 vote. "
11/06/2002 CONNIE PILOTO / The Dallas Morning News
The Lovejoy "Committee
of 40" makeup was:
- 2 - people outspoken for
consolidating LISD & AISD.
They were not selected by Lovejoy to be on the "Committee
of 40", they had to request to be included. Others who
were known to favor consolidation also requested to be included,
but were not selected.
- 8 - unknown preference
- 5 - Lovejoy ISD employees
- 1 - previously employed by Lovejoy who
has since been re-employed by Lovejoy
- 1 - employed by Lovejoy
administration to be Consolidation Election judge who sent a
to Lovejoy residents before the election stating her preference
- 10 - people who signed
stating they were against consolidating LISD & AISD,
two now on the school board
- 11 - people publicity outspoken
against consolidating LISD & AISD including:
Three relatives (son, daughter and daughter's mother-in-law)
of the landowner
who sold Lovejoy the land for the high school site and owns
acres across the street.
Not surprisingly, the Committee of 40
33 against consolidating with Allen ISD -
5 for consolidation
Lovejoy superintendent, Carol Ray, responds
in Dallas Morning News to claim that the Committee of 40 was
. ..[community member] "said
the committee was stacked with folks in favor of expanding and
building new schools. Ms. Ray [Lovejoy ISD superintendent]
denies the allegations but concedes that three members of
a family with pro-expansion views were selected. "I
didn't know," Ms. Ray said. "They didn't have the
11/17/2002 CONNIE PILOTO / The Dallas Morning
Delphi Technique was utilized on the Committee of
Lovejoy board forced to call
for consolidation election
Tax Rate promised drops from
$1.90 to $1.60
Dec 6th, 2002 Tax Rate
Lovejoy letter from
School Board President Rich Hickman.(PDF file
saved from official Lovejoy web site.) "The current
tax rate for Lovejoy ISD is $1.60. Current studies indicate
that the tax rate is expected to begin climbing in the 2004-2005
Additional tax rate information
Elena Westbrook, Lovejoy Board Trustee (May 2003) and Lovejoy/Allen
Consolidation Election judge:
From the Lovejoy ISD Feb 1, 2003 Consolidation
Jan 21, 2003
Postcard to Lovejoy
residents from the Election judge hired by Lovejoy administration
to run the consolidation election and bond election.
- "We don't understand how..... jumping
to the higher tax rate in Allen is a benefit? We're not CPAs
but our budget tells us if we can enjoy Lovejoy's $1.60 tax
rate for a year or two while Lovejoy builds we saved money."
- "This isn't just a school issue,
it is a TAX issue. .....It makes sense, the only way to safeguard
your wallet is to keep local control of your taxes by
voting against consolidation."
Administration reaction as quoted in the
Dallas Morning News article January 31, 2003
Lovejoy Superintendent Carol Ray said she was aware of the
and voter concerns but said Ms. Schenck wasn't in conflict
with voting laws and that she had a right to express an opinion.
Ms. Schenck couldn't be reached for comment Thursday.
"My understanding is, they [election
judges] don't lose their freedom of speech rights," Dr.
Ray said. "I know her to be a woman of integrity. She's
not a school employee. She's just an election judge."
From Elena Westbrook, "Get
the Facts" brochure
"The claim: Lovejoy has little commercial property, so
residents will bear most of the tax burden.
The Truth: Lovejoy is classified as property wealthy
already; the source of that wealth is irrelevant. Having more
commercial tax base hasnt kept Allens taxes low
they already pay 20 cents per $100 more than Lovejoy residents.
Because Lovejoy has a substantial tax base already, it doesnt
matter what form that wealth takes. In our case, additional commercial
property would not make a noticeable difference. As a homeowner,
your tax bill is determined by your home value times the tax rate
and Lovejoys tax rate is now, and is projected to
be in 2004, substantially lower than Allens. In 2004,
your tax rate if we consolidate will be about $1.92; if we vote
AGAINST consolidation, your taxes will stay around $1.60."
(Source:Robert Puster. LISD and Steve West, AISD,
December 2002.) " Committee for Lovejoy Schools, PAC
headed by Elena Westbrook
from Elena Westbrook... "If Lovejoy builds, its
tax rate for 2003 is estimated to remain in the low $1.60s for
2003 - a 30-cent advantage.
Election Day Tax Rate - $1.60
Election, February 1st 2003 - community votes against Consolidation
- Tax rate $1.60
Election Day Tax Rate - $1.60
$61 Million Bond
Election, April 5th 2003 - Tax rate $1.60
presented to Lovejoy community
- Currently the tax rate is $1.60 ($1.45 for M&O
and $ .15 for Debt Service).
- In 2003-2004 the tax rate will be in the $1.60s.
- The tax rate will begin to rise in 2004-2005.
POST-Election tax rate - low $1.70s
Late April 2003
- Less than one month following successful passage of $61
million bond - Lovejoy changed their web site's FAQ link from
the Dec 6th letter to the FAQ
in place now that states the tax rate will be in the high
$1.60s or low $1.70s.
The December 6th letter
was removed from the official web site.
" WHAT ARE
Under current school finance law, it is expected that Lovejoy
ISD will have approximately the same amount of revenue per pupil
with which to operate as any other public school in Texas. The
current tax rate in Lovejoy is $1.60 per $100 value. That rate
will be increasing to the high $1.60s or low $1.70s in the 2003-2004
school year and be in the $1.90s by the time the high school
is complete. This rate is similar to the existing rates in McKinney,
Allen, and other fast growing school districts in our area."
Lovejoy denies telling taxpayers
tax rate would be $1.60
2003 Tax Rate - $1.70
Lovejoy superintendent, Carol Ray, in the August
26th special meeting to approve new tax rate, denied communicating
to the Lovejoy community that the tax rate would be $1.60. When
shown the second page of the official
Lovejoy Dec 6th letter sent to everyone in the Lovejoy community,
she stated that it did not have a letterhead or signature, denying
it came from the Lovejoy administration. Several members in the
audience stated they had the entire letter at home, with the letterhead,
signature, and postmarked envelope. (video tape of meeting and
original copies of Dec 6th Lovejoy letter available upon request)
Lovejoy raises taxes 14%
in two years
Over two years since the bond election,
Lovejoy has yet to provide the public with a detailed financial
analysis of what can be offered to students the day the doors
of the high school open, Fall 2006.
Only after a 100-signature-petition
was sent to the Legislative Budget Board, did Lovejoy provide
basic financial information.
has stated that the tax rate will be $1.96 year 2006 and
and reach $1.99 year 2008-2009.
on the information provided to the community.
Did the community vote for the $1.60
tax rate? Or..
a "Highland Park" education?
small class sizes and less overcrowding?
32 pre-AP and AP classes plus gifted,
advanced, and REGULAR track classes for grades 6th - 8th?
The above choices are all very intelligent
Unfortunately, none of these choices will be available.