Rio Hondo citizens speak

The following is a recap on the open forum comments concerning the bond issue at the Rio Hondo ISD School Board meeting on Monday, June 13. I am writing this letter with contributions from the many who were in attendance.

I addressed the superintendent and board members beginning with the comment, “The citizens of Rio Hondo say ‘no new taxes.’” Rio Hondo is already paying the highest tax rate of all the neighboring towns (holding up a copy of the Sept. 6, 2015 Valley Morning Star newspaper stating tax rates.) Why weren’t the citizens given the information in order to make an informed decision if in fact we need new buildings? Why didn’t the board members use every opportunity to talk to the people?

The Rio Hondo citizens are demanding the board stop any further action toward the use of the bonds. Just because it passed doesn’t mean you have to use the bonds.

Others who spoke on the same topic gave additional perspective.

One woman asked the board a question. “Do you subscribe to the San Benito News?” She was implying that few people saw the ad placed in the San Benito News about the referendum. Suggestions were made to use social media to spread the word and this was her short and powerful message.

A man from the community said he had not heard of the bond election even though he knows many of the board members and goes to Rio Hondo frequently.

One Rio Hondo Junior High School teacher, who is a Harlingen resident, spoke of the deplorable conditions of the school with rats and termites. She also mentioned leaks in the roof when it rains and canoes being needed.

Based on her remarks, you might think a condemned sign needs to be placed in front of the school.

Maybe the Department of Health should place a hazardous sign. Rats and termites are a sign of lack of maintenance.

When you allow buildings to deteriorate, you’re placing students in a hazardous situation. State mandates – keep the buildings safe for our students. Rats and termites? This should be reported to the Texas Education Agency.

Is the principal informing the superintendent? Is it now the teachers’ job to inform the superintendent? This is not the superintendent’s first year. He should be aware of all that, but instead his solution is to build a new building.

One citizen said, “Pay $200 for pest control and hire a reputable roofing company that will give you a warranty on their work.”

You have all summer to correct the rodent and roof problems before the students return to school.

Apparently, a lack of communication exists. Parents are not notified of the dreadful lack of maintenance and the community members and taxpayers are not notified of the bond election.

Diana Bates Rio Hondo taxpayer