After finding out the state will not be able to afford even more money in the name of “enrollment growth”, many school districts are now looking hard at the taxpayers for their next “fix” in the form of higher property tax rates.
This desperate move to ward off the sweats and shakes of a spending withdrawal comes in lieu of the fact that the state has decided to stop being an enabler. For Now.
After searching for $15 billion to cut from the state budget to balance it for this biennium, the state is only giving school districts slightly more than the level of funding they did during the last biennium. School district administrators had claimed that they needed an extra $4 billion to satisfy their latest craving (they call it “enrollment growth”).
The simple truth is that the state has enabled school districts’ spending addictions for years, and if an “intervention” doesn’t come now, it will spend itself into a future overdose.
Just look at how we’ve overfunded enrollment growth in every year since the 1998-99 school year. In 10 years, schools districts spent 95.3% more to cover a 19.6% increase in enrollment!
That’s almost fives times more than what should have been satisfactory. But instead of addressing the problem, we as taxpayers did what many would do with an addict in the family: turn a blind eye to the problem and continue paying the bill, hoping that our family member will seek help.
Now, school districts are panicking because their unquestioned flow of cash has been cut off. They’re seeking new methods to satisfy their spending addiction and it’s going to come at the expense of taxpayers if we don’t stand firm.
Take a look at Keller ISD. They’ve been addicted for years now, spending almost $11,000 per student, with less than 40% of that going towards instructing students.
So like any addict, they’re seeking new ways to maintain their high by asking to raise their property tax rates to the maximum allowed by state law.
Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident, as school district administrators from across the state have been threating to fire teachers if they don’t get their “fix” (more money) in the form of tax increases.
It’s time for a taxpayer intervention. We need to send a message to school districts: that a 1:1 teacher to non-teacher ratio and spending less than 50% of funds on instruction is simply unacceptable. When school district administrators are walking away with $200,000+ salaries and King Ranch Ford trucks, tax hikes are the last thing we should tolerate.
We have a duty to help.
How badly is your school district addicted to spending? Find out at action.protecttheclassroom.com.
Dustin Matocha is the Social Media Coordinator of Empower Texans / Texans for Fiscal Responsibility.
Connect with Dustin on Twitter.