We heard all throughout this legislative session that all those “cuts” to public education in the state would leave school districts completely underfunded, with local tax hikes as their only salvation. Well, as it turns out, the sky didn’t fall after all.
It seems the panic of getting their “enrollment growth” fix cut off is finally dissipating among school districts in the state. The latest state budget refused to continue overfunding districts by as much as five times the actual rate of enrollment growth, as previous budgets had done, leaving the threat of tax hikes as the only way administrators could maintain their irresponsible spending habits.
We saw a few school districts go so far as to call for tax-hike referendums. Most notably was Keller ISD, who saw their efforts to shirk fiscal responsibility fail by double-digit percentage points.
Perhaps that’s what it finally took for school districts to get the message.
Now, a report from KUT News indicates that schools are shying away from tax hike elections, with only about a dozen of the 1,000+ districts still considering the option.
If anything, this should be a testament to the success of taxpayers in delivering the message that fiscal responsibility is a demand, not a request. School districts are finally being forced to look at ways to spend more efficiently, putting instruction ahead of frivolity.
The fight is definitely not over yet, but you can keep the pressure on by arming yourself with facts on how much of your local school district’s money is going into the classroom, attending school board meetings, and demanding greater transparency over the district’s finances. Your districts will be better because of it, despite what the Chicken Littles will say.
Dustin Matocha is the Social Media Coordinator of Empower Texans / Texans for Fiscal Responsibility.
Connect with Dustin on Twitter.