Dozens of teachers were given grants from a nonprofit to buy supplies for their classrooms, even though financial documents show the school district took in over $228 million in revenues in Fiscal Year 2018. The average homeowner’s property tax bill paid to the district also rose by roughly 40 percent in five years.

Grapevine-Colleyville Education Foundation, a 501c3 nonprofit that “raises funds year-round” focused on providing “teacher grants, student scholarships, and district-wide programs,” boasted yesterday of giving 42 new teachers at GCISD grants of $100 each to buy new classroom supplies.

While it is certainly good news that teachers have been provided the funds necessary to outfit their classrooms, why did the funds have to come from a nonprofit rather than the school district, who taxpayers pay to provide education to students?

It raises the question: Is the district in poor financial shape?

Data from the Texas Education Agency shows that in the 2017–2018 school year, GCISD had total revenues of $14,761 per student, a 24 percent increase from $11,879 per student in the 2013-2014 school year.

Data from Tarrant Appraisal District shows the average property tax bill for the school district rose over 40 percent from 2013 to 2018. So, where have the funds from the increased taxes gone?

GCISD’s most recently published Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for Fiscal Year 2018, which reported revenues of $228 million, shows student enrollment has increased only 4 percent from five years prior, but staffing increased at a much higher rate of 14 percent. Why did so much additional staff need to be hired for a scant increase in the student body?

With these increases in revenues, could the school district truly not find $100 for each of the 42 new teachers so they could buy school supplies? Is it in any way related to the nearly $35 million debt payment they made in August 2018? At the time, the debt was over $654 million and had increased by 34 percent in five years.

Parents and taxpayers deserve to know: What exactly is the district’s present financial condition?

Robert Montoya

Born in Houston, Robert Montoya is an investigative reporter for Texas Scorecard. He believes transparency is the obligation of government.