ROUND ROCK — School board shenanigans continue in Round Rock ISD, as trustee Kevin Johnson approved a 23.07 percent tax rate increase for taxpayers—that he’s exempted from.
“The latest vote from Kevin Johnson and RRISD is simply par for the course in Texas politics,” said Texans for Fiscal Responsibility President Tim Hardin.
Johnson joined the Round Rock ISD Board of Trustees this summer following the resignation of former trustee Jun Xiao, who faced complaints from citizens of hostile behavior.
For more than a year, Texas Scorecard has chronicled multiple scandals involving Round Rock ISD in a special report and a podcast series, Exposed, which included investigations into the school board’s rushed hiring of Superintendent Hafedh Azaiez. Five trustees—Amy Weir, Jun Xiao, Amber Feller, Cory Vessa, and Tiffanie Harrison—voted to hire Azaiez despite the objections of trustees Danielle Weston and Mary Bone, as well as local parents.
After Azaiez’s hiring, citizens criticized the five board members, dubbed the “Bad Faith Five,” for allegedly covering up domestic violence allegations against Azaiez and protecting him throughout criminal investigations.
Since his inauguration, Johnson voted to give Superintendent Hafedh Azaiez a nearly $29,000 bonus while he remained under investigation.
The tax hike passed by a vote of 5-2, with Bone and Weston voting against.
“Elected officials demand homeowners tighten their belts as the government squeezes every drop of taxes they can from homeowners,” said Hardin. “The problem is they never have to play by the same rules; local governments and ISDs are free to spend with no fiscal restraint whatsoever, while homeowners are forced to cut expenses and get second jobs just to stay in their homes.”
Accordingly, TFR and Texas taxpayers are demanding “the Legislature do what Abbott said was his goal in the last debate, to ‘end school property taxes for good so Texans can actually own their homes.'” They expect to see this as a legislative priority for Gov. Greg Abbott in January.
Johnson faces John Keagy, who has been endorsed in the November election by the Texas GOP and the 1776 Project, Chuy Zarate, and Yuriy Semchyshyn.
Early voting begins on October 24. Election Day is November 8.