With so much waste and inefficiency in our public school system, it can be easy to overlook instances of a school district doing things right. That’s why Victoria ISD deserves recognition for avoiding the temptation of higher taxes and school finance lawsuits.
Our friends at Texas Watchdog were first to report Victoria ISD’s stable financial outlook — a situation that could have been easily overlooked given the number of school districts pushing for higher taxes and more debt while suing the state for more money.
Victoria ISD chose not to join any of the school finance lawsuits when the chance came up this past April. As school board president Tami Keeling told the Texas Tribune: “We made a commitment to our primary investment being instructional staff. We’re not spending anything anywhere that’s not related to that or other student expenses.”
Instruction as the top priority? What a novel concept.
Victoria ISD hasn’t raised taxes to make up for any perceived “shortfall” in state funding either. They’ve maintained a $1.03 M&O tax rate, one-cent short of the cutoff for a Tax Ratification Election, for a total tax rate of $1.3226.
It’s certainly not the lowest tax rate in the state, but well within the average, and certainly better than most school districts participating in the school finance lawsuits. And while their instructional spending rates could certainly use some improvement, VISD seems poised to take the right approach to solving that problem: with better allocation of funds already available.
With so many school districts in Texas, there are certainly going to be ones noteworthy for their reckless fiscal behavior (e.g. Austin ISD, Houston ISD, Frisco ISD, Hutto ISD, etc..) that should be called out. But Victoria ISD reminds us to not lose sight of a very important fact: there are many school districts that didn’t cry the sky was falling during the last legislative session and are doing just fine financially.
Remember that when liberals and big-spending educrats begin shilling for more money as we approach the start of the 83rd Legislature.