Smith County Schools or Jails | School Bond vs. Jail Bond


“Birds do it, bees do it, even educated fleas do it…”

No, I am not talking about falling in love, I am talking about the ability to make distinctions. The ability to choose to swallow something that is beneficial, to the swallower, over something that might look good at the time, but not be so pleasant during the regurgitation. I have seen a somewhat disturbing trend develop in response to the bond issues being brought before the people this November. That trend, is the tendency to lump all entities together, as though the school bond, and the jail bond are all one giant conspiracy to rob us of our money. Let me try to offer a different perspective.

The TISD bond proposal is a part of an ongoing plan to bring the local school district facilities up to a level that should have been attained some time ago. The jail bond is a plan that is half backed, half cocked, and totally unnecessary. There are alternatives that work much more efficiently, and much, much more economically.

Seeing the two issues brought up together in this way, should invite some obvious comparisons, and correlations.

The rate of recidivism in state prisons, has a direct correlation to the education of the individual, therefore, it would seem that the better the quality of education, the lower the rate of both first time entry, and reentry into our perpetually clogged system. What does that mean in terms of tax dollars and cents over the long haul? If you want it in purely economic terms, it can be boiled down to this: It costs less to provide education than to provide cell space!

Whether the current school bond proposal is the right one for us at this time, well, that is up to the local taxpayer to determine, but lumping it together with the jail bond, as though they were part and parcel, is an error! In fact, the Commissioners court should be ashamed of presenting the jail bond on the same ballot as the school bond. It is wrong on so many levels that it would take pages to drill through them all.

We should be able to make distinctions, whether they are philosophical, or economic. In this case, the philosophy and the economy both fall on the same side of the issue. School is cheaper than prison!

Besides, it just makes more sense. Education now, or incarceration later.