TMO will not support the HISD bond referendum

The headline of this story, which takes place at a candidate forum hosted by The Metropolitan Organization (TMO), is about an incentive pay program for HPD, but the bulk of the actual text is about the HISD bond referendum, which TMO says it cannot support:

More than 20 city and school elected officials and candidates, including Houston ISD Superintendent Abelardo Saavedra, attended the meeting designed to gauge the officials’ and candidates’ commitment to supporting TMO’s agenda.

The group — composed of congregations, schools and other institutions — asked candidates a slate of yes-or-no questions. Each candidate was given a very limited time to answer. Candidates were not allowed to campaign, and the audience was not allowed to boo. About 300 people attended the meeting at Trinity United Methodist Church.

City officials and candidates were also asked whether they supported increasing city employees’ pay to a “living wage,” removing abandoned houses and developing affordable housing.

Despite gaining support on their issues from the seven candidates vying for the two open seats on the HISD school board, TMO leaders said the organization cannot support the district’s $805 million bond measure.

“We’re just extremely unhappy with the process,” TMO member Terri Parris said. “It was a painful and prayerful decision.”

While students need new buildings, leaders of the grass-roots groups critical of the bond said HISD leaders should have consulted with the community before unveiling the bond package.

Five of the seven HISD candidates said they are also against the bond. Only District II candidate Reginald Adams and District IV candidate Paula Harris said they will support the proposal to build 24 schools and renovate 134 others.

Opposing the bond “is the popular thing to do right now,” Adams said. “The facts will prove that this bond is in the best interest of students and the city.”

It’s not clear to me whether “cannot support the district’s $805 million bond measure” means TMO will actively oppose it alongside Reps. Sylvester Turner and Harold Dutton, or if they will just not advocate a position. Obviously, the former would be more damaging to HISD. Anybody here attend this forum, and if so was TMO’s stance clear to those present?

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