A shrinking Texas school district is aiming to bilk its taxpayers at the maximum level allowed by the state in order to pay for additional debt spending — and they admittedly want to do it by flooding the voting pool with district employees.
“If our employees know about this, we can pass it easily,” said San Antonio ISD School Board member Olga Hernandez of the $450 million bond the district is considering placing before voters November 8th. If finalized by the board and approved by voters, the $450 million will be added to the $765,579,988 in unpaid principal from SAISD’s prior debt packages.
In fact, district officials aren’t even certain how much the bond will end up costing taxpayers — saying interest and other expenses, “would be determined at the time of the sale of the bonds.”
One thing is certain, however — San Antonio taxpayers will be paying even more in school taxes as a result. The district’s maintenance and operations tax rate would rise from $1.04 to the state-allowed maximum of $1.17, raising median-valued household taxes 7.9 percent over a five year period — despite both growing revenue and declining enrollment.
Since the last bond package six years ago, the district’s annual property tax revenues grew by over 16 percent. Meanwhile, over the same period, SAISD reported a 2.5 percent decrease in enrollment.
Insatiable local officials are hardly an isolated case. Currently, Texans shoulder the 6th highest property tax burden in the nation. Cases such as these simply underscore the immediate need for legislative intervention.