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Posts for Michele Samuelson

Spending Money to Make Money in Northside ISD

If complicated equations are your thing, it’s likely you’d enjoy the WADA – “weighted average daily attendance” – portion of how Texas does school finance.  School districts are understandably less than fond of this calculation, given that it means their state funding is tied, in part, to student attendance.  School board trustees will tell you, […]

By |November 29, 2012
"Superintendent" PAC's Super Election

Read the headline one more time, with sarcasm dripping from each syllable, and you’ll get a sense for how I feel about this.  For six years, in every eligible election, the Texas Parent PAC has gone to the mattresses to defeat proponents of school choice.  They repeat voter-friendly lines about being “for the children” and […]

By |November 13, 2012
Margins Tax Repeal Emerges on First Day of Bill Filing

The Texas Legislature is set to convene on January 8, and today, incumbent legislators are able to begin pre-filing legislation.  Right out of the gate, we’ve got our first bill to repeal the franchise (or “gross margins”) tax, SB 113 by Senator Craig Estes (R-Wichita Falls). You’ve heard about why this needs to happen.  This […]

By |November 12, 2012
A Little Debt Context

Yesterday, Comptroller Susan Combs released another earth-shattering report, this one focused on education debt.  The statistics within are just as incredible as you might imagine.  Public school districts in Texas are responsible for 33% of Texas’ local debt, the largest issuers among local entities.  School construction and renovation are the typical projects they spend the […]

By |October 26, 2012
School Staffing Far Outpacing Classroom Growth

While numerous Texas school districts divert resources to suing the state over the current finance system, new information has come to light about just how much administrative growth there has been in the last twenty years in our school districts.  The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice has released a report entitled “The School Staffing Surge: […]

By |October 24, 2012
Down the ballot - vote against "civil service laws"

It seems amazing that even in the wake of the Wisconsin, where government unions have had a hand in bringing the state perilously close to a fiscal cliff, there is still a clamor for government unions.  In Texas, a right-to-work state (meaning unions can exist but cannot force employees to join), the creation or expansion […]

By |October 23, 2012
Big Bird Doesn't Need Your Tax Dollars After All

There’s a good chance that if you don’t personally count yourself among those whose childhoods owed much to Cookie Monster, Reading Rainbow, and Mr. Rogers, you know someone who would.  Along with learning to count to ten in Spanish before I could reliably do so in English, the words “Corporation for Public Broadcasting” were repeated […]

By |October 9, 2012
Government Transparency Victory at Fifth Circuit Court

Good news for taxpayers in Texas!  Today, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit upheld the Texas Open Meetings Act. This is no small thing; for awhile now, the Open Meetings Act has been under attack from a number of local governments across the state, and (of course), the Texas Municipal League. […]

By |September 25, 2012