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VVISD Board Complaints

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We got our first complaint about our web site in quite a while today.  I can't promise we'll post them all but in the interest of fairness and full disclosure, we'll post this complaint and perhaps others as time permits.  This person thinks we are distorting the truth, etc. and happens to be Valley View ISD Board Member David Pembroke.  We'll let you draw your own conclusions and may add a few of our own.

Below is the text of the first complaint e-mail received April 29, 2013 from Mr. David Pembroke, VVISD Board Member:
 
Subject: to whom it may concern
 

I have been a conservative my entire adult life, and always voted for a Republican with the exception of Ralph Hall….  You guys are idiotsFrown  Your nothing more than fear mongering,  truth distorting fools….What is the difference between your distortions and those contrived buy the democrats about Pau l Ryan’s budget proposal     … I say not much!.  

 

David Pembroke

Senior Certified PQI Auditor

Denton Texas

940-736-9836


We responded back to Mr. Pembroke with the following:
 

Mr. Pembroke,

We pride ourselves on providing information based on facts @ www.cookecitizens.org.  Most everything on the web site is based on VV ISD, Whitesboro ISD, NCTC documents & State Reports.

Could you please be specific where you believe something is misrepresented or factually incorrect?  We’ll be happy to correct any factual errors but we need you to be specific.

Thanks

Mr. Pembroke responded back on April 29, 2013 as follows:  (His e-mail will be attached further on down so you can see it verbatim.)
 

"Subject: RE: to whom it may concern

You keep alluding to the phase II as if it were pending, or that this is something the board will push for in the near future..  part of the reason we are in the shape that we are in as far as a spread out & unsecured campus is because of poor planning…..you scare people using this when all we are trying to do as a board is have adequate planning for future growth…(road maps for future boards)   I thought we were doing the district a good service by planning so we don’t have this maze of buildings to deal with when phase two is ever needed.

You also are trying to scare the folks by saying this is the Third Tax rate election in three years…..True it is the third tax rate election in three years, but the first two were not an overall tax increase that we suggested the voters adopt…clever wording again to scare folks into thinking this board is out to raise peoples taxes every couple of years..

I have worked my tale off for years around this school district & community from cooking at concession stands , building a press box for the football field which took two weeks of my vacation  just to name a few of many things….I take it personal when people like your group try to intimidate people like me., and others on this board. I do what I do out of love for my community.

I will fight to show the voters of this district that this is an investment…I have sweat equity , and my money invested!

Mrs Parker has stated why don’t we grow the community first n build the tax base before building…..!    Again I have met with two developers n personal friends who are in the trade.  While its true that our district has achieved very good academic success most notable the elementary on a number occasions achieving a rating of Exemplary …..The folks I have visited with point out our buildings are to convoluted n spread out. That large parts of our elementary was constructed in 1936   

People like you take the joy out of serving

Q: How many times has Valley View ISD called a Tax Increase election in the past four years and how many more will there be?

A: This is the third Tax Rate election called by Valley View ISD in the past four years. We don't think this will be the last, even if it passes."

 

Web Site Publisher's Note: the Q&A above appears to be posted from our web site into his e-mail.  I think the only editing we did to his response was remove some excessive blank lines that came is as a result of the paste into this web editor.  The Q&A lines are somewhat faint in his e-mail because he posted the yellow text into his e-mail which I missed the first time I read it.

Click here to see Mr. David Pembroke, VVISD Board Member's actual complaint e-mails. The first follows the second since there was a back and forth.

As luck would have it, the VVISD Board was meeting @ 7 pm on April 29th so Steve Gaylord signed up during public comment and read the gist of Mr. Pembroke's complaint, omitting his paragraph regarding Mrs. Parker thinking the two of them can address that, and added some commentary at the end which is repeated below:
 
Below is the ending commentary:  (The link below has the full statement if anyone wants to see it.)
 

"My thoughts:

I may just post the e-mail exchange under a new Complaint section on the web site so people can be informed of his concerns.  From my perspective and those I sent his e-mail to, we are presenting  the facts.  It appears Mr. Pembroke doesn’t dispute that this is the third VVISD tax increase election in 3 ½ years.  When phase 2 was presented to this board, it had line item pricing just as phase 1.  Mr. Stokes talked about a second bond to pay for it.  Considering this is the third time in less than four years, you all have called a tax election, why would anyone think you wouldn’t call a fourth one soon after?   Why was there line item pricing if it was somewhere off in the distant future?

If someone wants to give up their vacation time to do something for the school that is great.  I have a family member who has given that and more.  I suspect there are many people that don’t repeat that in their e-mails and on their Facebook page.   I donate time and resources to some non-profits as well but you won’t see me asking for you to pay taxes for their facility upgrades.  I doubt you’ll ever see me putting it on my Facebook page as giving me a right to criticize those who I perceive have given less than I have.

The net is, you all called for a huge bond and tax increase.  It will cost my family about $18,000.  We are nearing retirement age.  I understand the average retirement savings is $35,000 in this country.  Compared to two weeks vacation, if I need to earn that money vs. take it out of my retirement savings, I’d be looking at working three additional months.  If we did it on my wife’s income, we’d be talking more than a year.  I think that gives me a right to have a say in whether the bond passes or not.  As a wise family member told me, “you don’t own the newspaper.  Anyone can buy an ad or write a Letter to the Editor”, or put up a political web site.

I was very up front with you that I would fight this bond if you called the election.  I’m sure you all know my history so you shouldn’t be surprised.  I know you are doing what you think is right.  So am I.  I’m worried about higher taxes and kids growing up and moving away because our taxes are too high for items that appear to be wish list to me and many others. 

Thinking I might be biased, I asked some of the committee members for their thoughts.  One said, “I say we keep speaking TRUTH.  It speaks LOUD and CLEAR. “.   Another said “Thats funny ! Keep up the good work and Thanks”

We may just have to agree to disagree and let the voters decide."


Here is the statement Steve Gaylord made at the VVISD Board Meeting, skipping over the paragraph starts with Mrs. Parker. I'm not sure anyone wants to read this but it is here in case anyone does.

Final Thoughts on this complaint:

Mr. Pembroke makes a point of comparing Republicans to Democrats. I think I'll stay away from those labels for now.  What's interesting is all the name calling employed by Mr. Pembroke, elected to represent Valley View ISD, both in his letter and on his Facebook page.  His behavior is endorsed by his wife on his Facebook page, a Valley View ISD Teacher and another Valley View ISD Teacher.  Is that the example we want our young students to follow??

One other point I'll raise is that it's interesting that many claim to be fiscal conservatives, myself included, as long as we're talking about cutting or limiting spending on a program we think has limited value or requires a large tax increase we don't want to agree to.  However; when that same program is important to us, we often stop being fiscal conservatives on that particular program.  Considering I am within 5-10 years of retirement and Social Security and Medicare are part of my retirement planning, I'm not as supportive or excited about cuts to those programs, especially if they affect my family in the near future.  The reality is this country, including federal state and local governments, have too much debt and their spending trajectories exceed the combination of population growth and inflation, so there will have to be cuts.  The only way to get this country back on a fiscally sound course is slow down the growth of spending and debt at every level of government.

I hope and pray that doesn't mean we will start acting like Cyprus or Greece.

The first Tax Election in 2009 was definitely for a tax increase, read the motion from the VVISD minutes on the VVISD Bond Questions page on this web site.

The second Tax Election in 2009 was also a tax increase per the motion in the VVISD minutes.  Again, it is on this web site.  It was smaller and almost a wash as far as local taxes go but it was intended to raise more tax money from the State of Texas through what some might consider questionable means by shifting debt service to M&O taxes to increase the State matching funds.  I think if the State intended that to work, the matching rates would be the same so this looks like a way to take advantage of a loophole to me.  I also think we fairly represented that election on this web site but I also acknowledge I could be biased.  We took a fair amount of time describing it for what it was vs.a straight tax increase.We can't explain everything in an ad since we are paying several dollars a column inch but all ads refer readers to this web site for more details.

 

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Pol. Ad paid for by www.cookecitizens.org, Steve Gaylord, Treasurer