Threatening to fire teachers didn’t work in the Keller Independent School District this weekend, where taxpayers rejected a massive 13-cent property tax hike bureaucrats wanted to impose. Local officials blamed state officials, saying legislators weren’t providing all the money they wanted.

Taxpayers instead popped the bullies in the nose, and told them to spend available dollars more efficiently. The tax-proposal was defeated 56-44 in a heavy turn-out, special election. (One can assume the school bureaucrats had hoped setting the unusual election date for a tax proposal would have suppressed turn-out to their favor.)

This should be a wake-up call to others hoping to soak taxpayers to perpetuate inefficient spending.

Liberal Democrats and a handful of misguided Republican legislators have been itching to raid the state’s Economic Stabilization Fund (the “rainy day fund”), rather encourage education bureaucrats to live within the people’s means.

Despite an overall $15 billion budget cut, the public education portion of the state’s spending is still getting more money than it did in the last biennial budget.

Keller ISD pulled out all the stops. They threatened to fire teachers. The liberal Fort Worth Star Telegram editorial board took up the tax-hike cause. They (very strangely) blamed Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst for not giving them everything they wanted.

Like the district’s taxpayers, Mr. Dewhurst didn’t take school district’s shenanigans lying down. In a letter to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dewhurst wrote: “Keller ISD should have the money it needs to keep good teachers in the classroom without raising property taxes.”

Mr. Dewhurst was absolutely correct. The Keller ISD spends almost $11,000 per child on public education. In a class of 22 students, that’s $242,000 –- but the district only pays teachers an average of $51,000 annually. Some overhead is necessary, but that much…?

Leading the charge against the effort was Michelle Wood and the local KISD Families for Fiscal Responsibility. She told the FWST that defeating the tax hike was a “responsible choice.”

The organization has called on the superintendent – who makes more than $225,000 per year – to resign.


Michael Quinn Sullivan

A graduate of Texas A&M, former newspaper reporter, one-time Capitol Hill staffer, think tank vice president, and an Eagle Scout, Michael Quinn Sullivan and his wife have three children. He is the publisher of Texas Scorecard. Check out his podcast, “Reflections on Life and Liberty.”

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