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Attention Hutto taxpayers: before signing off on a massive property tax hike at the whims of your school district, consider just how poorly Hutto ISD has been spending your money over the past decade.

Hutto ISD has been the media’s favorite example of a school district struggling to get by after the supposed “cuts” to public education made by the Legislature last session. To their credit, they’ve made strides in getting their finances in line, but it comes after nearly a decade of irresponsible spending.

According to the 2011 TEA Snapshot data, Hutto ISD spent less than 37% of their total expenditures in the classroom. That’s worse than most school districts in the state. Sadly, their instructional spending rates have been even worse in the past few years, having not even broken 40% instruction spending since 2004.

 

YEAR

INSTRUCTIONAL SPENDING %

2011

36.90%

2010

36.62%

2009

20.88%

2008

22.16%

2007

21.77%

2006

28.08%

2005

34.54%

2004

46.67%

2003

44.50%

2002

42.61%

Those numbers are pretty disappointing, especially when compared to the instructional spending rates of the last three years for neighboring school districts: Round Rock, Georgetown and Taylor ISD.

YEAR

HUTTO ISD

ROUND ROCK ISD

GEORGETOWN ISD

TAYLOR ISD

 

2011

36.90%

37.60%

47.43%

39.52%

2010

36.62%

40.88%

47.77%

51.93%

2009

20.88%

40.94%

33.99%

50.61%

Not only are their instructional spending rates worse, but Hutto ISD’s instructional spending per pupil is worse too. They spend only $4,511 for instruction per student, compared to $4,714 in Round Rock ISD, $5,307 in Georgetown ISD, and $5,216 in Taylor ISD.

While they’ve made some initial spending cuts, they clearly have more cuts to make to bring them up to acceptable levels of fiscal responsibility.

But cutting wasteful spending and finding more efficiencies are never educrat’s first option. Instead, they want to raise property tax rates in the district by 13 cents, up to $1.17 for every $100 in property value.

Originally, they sought to charge a $200 fee for students who ride the bus, but have since delayed implementing it until they send their property rate hike to voters for approval.

Their tactics are almost identical to what taxpayers saw in Dripping Springs ISD, where their school district was spending an abysmal 25% on instruction, but sought to hike taxes up to the maximum allowed by law anyway.

That proposal was shot down by a near 3-1 margin, forcing DSISD to get serious on their spending habits.

If Hutto ISD taxpayers expect to get their school district finances in order, they should follow in Dripping Springs’ footsteps by standing firm against new taxes. The sky won’t fall if you do, no matter what the media and big spending educrats will have you believe.

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