Local officials often opt to hold elections on non-uniform election dates in an effort to increase the chance of their desired outcome, but some taxpayers recently showed that strategy doesn’t always work.

Klein Independent School District held a nine-cent tax increase election this past weekend, and voters came out in force to send a clear message to the district – KISD has already taxed them enough.

Despite the low 6-percent turnout, voters rejected the tax increase 55 to 44 percent.

After the results, the district placed a banner on their website saying, “Today, we received the unofficial results of the Klein ISD tax ratification election. FOR 4.136 [sic] AGAINST 5,063 While this is disappointing, we will continue our work to ensure that every student enters with a promise and exits with a purpose.”

The group organized to oppose the increase — aptly titled It’s OK to Vote No, Klein ISD — said in part, “Taking the time to Vote No against the KISD tax hike was completely worth it! This was an uphill battle that many were quick to call a longshot and a waste of time in preventing what would be the ‘inevitable’… The fight for what is best for families, teachers, students, and residents will never be over.”

If it had been approved, the tax ratification election (TRE) would have increased the district’s portion of the maintenance and operation tax rate from $1.04 to $1.13 per $100 valuation and would have brought the overall tax rate to $1.52 per $100.

The district has about $1.4 billion in outstanding debt, about $30,000 per pupil. Since they can’t increase the rate, KISD says it will now begin to look for $30 million in cuts.

Charles Blain

Charles Blain is the president of Urban Reform and Urban Reform Institute. A native of New Jersey, he is based in Houston and writes on municipal finance and other urban issues.