ANGLETON — It’s unclear who is behind the anti-school bond group “It’s OK to Vote No on Bonds” — a public Facebook group with numerous local pages — but Angleton ISD’s proposed $90 million program is among its targets.
A number of signs began showing up recently along main streets in Angleton, and the Angleton ISD-specific page claims the Angleton school bond will raise taxes, despite school officials’ assurances the tax rate would not increase if the bond issue on the Nov. 5 ballot is approved.
“We have no idea who’s behind the Facebook group at this point,” Angleton ISD Superintendent Phil Edwards said. “We don’t know who these people are that are putting these signs out. We don’t know if these are even residents of Angleton ISD behind any of this.”
The “Vote No” group is discouraging multiple Texas communities from voting for school bonds in the Nov. 5 elections. Similar anonymous accounts have targeted government debt proposals in the past.
Angleton ISD school officials said some of the statements on the “Vote no, Angleton” page are “grossly inaccurate.”
Facts reporters attempted to reach the “Vote No” group via Facebook Messenger since the social media page lists no phone number or address and an automated message was returned.
“We’ve received your message and appreciate you reaching out. Let us know what information you’d like to see on the page,” the message states.
The group has garnered some discussion, but the validity of what’s being written is questionable at best, Edwards said.
One statement in particular is just factually inaccurate, said Edwards.
“One of the claims they made on their Facebook page is that we allowed a stockbroker that was permanently barred on our bond advisory committee,” Edwards said. “The information they provided on the page about the stockbroker was not a member of our bond advisory committee — was not related at all. They wrote a gross falsehood and they assigned that to a person who has nothing to do with that.”
“It makes me wonder the validity of their information when they are putting stuff out there as grossly inaccurate. It’s false. It’s wrong,” Edwards said.
District spokeswoman Hanna Chalmers said school officials have done everything in their power to accurately convey information to the public with the most transparency possible.
“One of the biggest things to come out of this is that voters need to be informed,” Chalmers said. “However they vote, that’s their choice, but they need to be informed. We have tried our hardest to be as transparent as possible about every part of this process and that’s extremely important to us.”
The district did not use taxpayer money to fund portions of the bond forums, as the group is leading people to believe, Edwards said.
The political action committee Angleton ISD Advocates used donated money to pay for signage supporting the bond; district officials were not involved in any advocacy, Chalmers said.
“Before the board votes on the bond, there is no PAC, no advocacy at all,” Chalmers said.
Despite the anti-bond group’s presence, district officials said the public can fully trust the information the district has presented about the bond.
“We absolutely stand behind that there will not be a tax rate increase,” Edwards said. “All the info about the bond, we absolutely stand behind that.”
For questions about any information regarding the bond, Chalmers said residents are welcome to call or email the school and someone would be happy to address any concerns.