School & District Management

Houston Board Members Pick Pet Building Projects

By Dakarai I. Aarons — September 10, 2009 1 min read

We’ve all heard the commercials complaining about Congress’ “pork-barrel” spending on pet projects, but apparently some school board members are also focusing on bringing home the bacon to their districts.

In Houston, the school board voted recently to give each of its nine members $13.5 million to spend as they wish on pet construction projects. The vote came in the wake of disagreement among board members and parents about construction priorities.

Board members say the total of $121.5 million is going to pay for repairs at long-neglected schools not covered in a $805 million bond program, but it’s an unusual situation at best.

Construction projects are normally voted on by the full board after reviewing recommendations by the superintendent and staff, who look at projects using a variety of criteria.

You can check out a list of the projects board members selected here, thanks to the Houston Chronicle.

Projects include creating permanent classrooms for students at overcrowded or outdated schools, upgrading lighting and facility spaces, and building at least one school. The board members are expected to vote on the projects tonight.

What do you think of the projects? Is this a worthwhile use of money? Should board members have picked their own projects or gone by administrative recommendations?

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A version of this news article first appeared in the District Dossier blog.