Remember Keller ISD? They were trying to hike tax rates to the maximum allowed by the state, claiming it was the only way to balance its budget and prevent massive teacher layoffs. Not long after residents said they would have no part of a tax hike, Keller ISD is again backtracking on their threats, rehiring teachers and posting a budget surplus.
Keller ISD’s decision to back off their original threats comes only a few months after it became the first school district since the legislative session ended to hold an election to raise property tax rates. Without an increase, they said, Keller ISD would be forced to cut teachers, librarians, other staff and programs.
Taxpayers didn’t buy it, and voted the tax hike proposal down. Keller ISD eventually decided to keep the teachers on staff, but not without a “have it your way” attitude towards Keller residents, threatening massive cuts to services.
Now by “restoring” up to $2.75 million in proposed cuts to the budget, Keller ISD is retracting more of its threats.
It’s a bittersweet result for Keller residents because the cuts will not be used to provide a more long-term financial resource for the teachers Keller ISD threatened to terminate only a few months ago. Instead, most of money will be going to non-instructional things like student ID badges, more administrator and “support staff” salaries, and coaching stipends.
In any case, the empty threats that came from Keller ISD is proof positive we should spend more time looking for ways to make our school districts more efficient before falling prey to panicked calls for more revenue. There’s a lot of work left to do, but fiscal responsibility for our public schools is moving closer within reach.