Pencils? Check. Backpack? Check. Tax hikes? If school districts in central Texas get their wish, parents will be adding higher taxes to their cost of sending their children back to school. And to help their cause, local educrats are pushing for ratification elections in September and October – when voter turnout is virtually non-existent.

As we’ve already written about, Hutto ISD is pushing the largest school district tax-hike in the central Texas area. They want to raise their M&O property tax by a whopping 13 cents up to $1.17 for every $100 in valuation – the highest rate allowed by state law.

Perhaps sensing voters aren’t planning to give the district a passing grade on their instructional spending rates over the past several years (spending less than 40% of total funds in the classroom since 2004), Hutto ISD officials have called for a tax ratification election to be held on September 1.

As if turnout wasn’t dismal enough for district-wide elections in May.

But Hutto ISD isn’t the only district wishing to sue the same tactic to get a tax hike passed without voters realizing it.

Georgetown ISD is mulling over a 4-cent tax hike, up to $1.08, with an <a href=””>October 9<sup>th</sup> election</a>. The cost of an October election? $25,000 to $30,000.

Tax hikes are perhaps the last thing either of these two districts need. If the instructional spending rates in Hutto ISD aren’t enough to prove they need some fiscal intervention, consider the fact they are in $71,764 of debt per student!

In comparison, Georgetown is in$31,536 of debt per student. Austin ISD, which surprisingly isn’t seeking a tax hike this year, is in only $14,271 of debt per student.

Two other central Texas districts, Taylor and Florence ISD, are looking to maintain their overall tax rate by increasing their taxes while simultaneously decreasing their rates. Taxpayers will ultimately judge the wisdom of those decisions. Taylor ISD currently has $35,021 worth of debt per student. Florence ISD has $11,101 of debt per student.

The wailing from administrators, educrats, and other big-spenders are sure to pick up over the next few months as other school districts across the state plead for more money. Taxpayers would be wise to pay them no attention.

The United States leads the world in dollars spent per student. Yet our performance results have remained stagnant. More money is clearly not the answer, and tax hikes are not the solution to school districts’ fiscal problems.

Dustin Matocha

Dustin Matocha is the CFO and COO of Texas Scorecard. Dustin graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a BBA in Management, a BA in Government, and a minor in Marketing. He’s a self-described Corvette enthusiast, baseball purist, tech geek and growing connoisseur of local craft beer.