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Thursday, October 13, 2011

What/who to believe? DSISD says one thing, TEA says another about tax and spend


[T]he important numbers are how much revenue they collect per student, $11,291, versus how much they spend on instruction per student $4,444. That’s not 54% spent on instruction; it’s 40%


Note: An information war being waged over a huge property tax increase proposed by the Dripping Springs school district seems to be boiling down to two central questions – does the school district have a revenue problem or a spending problem, and, is it spending far less in classroom instruction than the state's 65% rule ?

We hope voters get some clear answers before the Nov. 8 election. The school district has a measure on the ballot proposing to increase the property tax rate from $1.04 per hundred valuation to $1.17, the highest rate allowed under law. Early voting begins Oct. 24.
There's nothing like an honest campaign and a well informed vote.

Two school sponsored community forums have been held. The third and last is scheduled Oct. 24, 6:30 p.m.
in the Dripping Springs High School Lecture Hall (940 Highway 290 West).

This update was sent by a Dripping Springs concerned taxpayer . . .


Point: The position of DSISD is that the tax rate caps put in place by the Texas Legislature in 2005-06 have reduced revenue into the district. Budget data, however contradicts this assertion.

Counterpoint: In the meeting Tuesday night (school district's second of three community forums), DSISD Superintendent Dr. Herrick mentioned several times the negative revenue impact of the 2005-06 property tax rate caps that were put in place. Research done using the actual financial reporting data on the TEA system (http://www.tea.state.tx.us/index2.aspx?id=2147495078&menu_id=645) shows rather than a revenue decrease, that per student tax revenue has increased by 14% since the rate caps were put in place.

What the TEA report labels "Total Revenue Per Student" has increased from $9,880 (2005-06) to $11,349 (2010-11), representing a per student increase in revenue of 14%, not a decrease as Dr. Herrick implied.

The problem is clearly on the spending side, not the taxing side.

2010 TEA report on DSISD: Tax revenue per student $11,291, amount spent on instruction $4,444, $8,209 on “operating expenditures.”

This TEA report shows revenue collected per student of $11,291 and instructional expenditures per student of $4,444. That’s about 40% spent on instruction. $8,209 per student per year is listed as “operating expenditures.”

This TEA report also lists the 54% number that DSISD uses for percent spent on instruction. The calculation inexplicably omits a large part of their spending from the calculation.

But the important numbers are how much revenue they collect per student, $11,291, versus how much they spend on instruction per student $4,444. That’s not 54% spent on instruction; it’s 40%.

The report link is: http://ritter.tea.state.tx.us/perfreport/snapshot/2010/district.srch.html

Go directly to the report at this link: http://ritter.tea.state.tx.us/cgi/sas/broker


29 comments:

Red or Blue said...

It's funny how the conservative Republican leaders and rank and file of Dripping Springs are so into taxing and spending. How can you believe them anymore when they go after Democrats and Obama for doing the same thing.

If they really believe their rhetoric they should smack down this giant tax haul by a landslide and make the schools do more with less. Come on conservatives, put your votes where your mouths are... throwing more money at the problem won't fix it.

Oren Nero said...

I'm with you Red or Blue. The silence is indeed deafening. What was that acronym in the Carly Fiorina commercial last year, FCINO? Fiscal Conservative in Name Only. People laughed at her, but there may be something to it.

Perhaps most of Hays' fiscal hawks are just quietly waiting on the sidelines. The other option is this is a case of demonstrable hypocrisy and political relativism. We won't know until the results are in.

A good reference on this issue is http://stopthehaystaxincrease.org

Anonymous said...

It may come as a shock to some readers of this Blog, but hardly anyone in Dripping Springs reads the articles here, much less the liberal comments. Most "Drippin' Denizens" such as the ones in Belterra and High Pointe just go about their shallow excessive little lives and pay whatever tax bill arrives in their mailbox with no apparent concern or thought about it. It is not near as important as their wine selection for the evening meal.

The school districts (ISDs) are one of the most abusive of all taxing authorities. All they have to do is mention the word, "Children" to gain sympathy and votes for their Tax and Bond issues which have reached epic proportions as of late. They operate more or less autonomously due to the fact that hardly anyone is watching them. Liberals like the ISDs as long as the Conservatives are the ones paying for them. The Conservatives like the ISDs since they provide housing and supervision of their spoiled offspring for a large portion of the day. Keeping their teenagers off the streets is good for business and property values while keeping crime rates low.

Anonymous said...

I'm confused. $4,444 spent per student on "instruction" and $8,209 per student on "operating expenditures" do not add up to $11,291 per student,but instead to $12,653 per student. Please explain. Thanks!

Taxed Enough Already said...

Just wait until Wimberley ISD gets the courage to ask for an increase. It is important to note that their spending habits are far worse that Dripping Springs ISD.

The facts:

WIMBERLEY ISD Spends...

• Superintendent Dwain York's Salary:$ 120,500
• Average Teacher Salary: $ 49,386
• Total Spent per Student: $ 22,354 with Only 20.6% Spent in the Classroom.

Don't forget that WISD is subject to the Robin Hood law, for being a "wealthy" District and collecting too much in taxes. Did I mention Astroturf?
.

Rocky Boschert said...

Ironically, the public education funding debate represented in this dialogue is riddled with a clear lack of critical thinking and intelligent analysis. And I mean this in a theoretical, not a presonal way.

The irony I refer to is that our public education system is increasing failing to instill critical thinking and intellectual analysis in our children's minds - exacerbating the underlying problem parents and children face going forward.

In my view the public education funding problem is BOTH a funding problem AND a revenue problem.

The funding problem should not be debated in the domain of local property taxes. Of course our tax paying ability is being unduly strained by a relentless property tax attack on homeowners by our school districts.

Yet the funding debate should not be about local taxpayers against local school administrators.

The funding debate should be about local taxpayers being screwed by the politicians at the state and federal level who all blatantly redirecting state and federal tax revenue away from desparate public education budgets to crony corporate welfare demands and repressive big government social programs that are simply political payback to their special interest campaign masters. This is mostly true for the right wing extremists, but increasing true now for moderates (liberals).

But Texas citizens especially don't want to believe this is really happening, as their anti-tax, anti-government "religious" zeal is too rigid to allow that reality to be true. "Honor Thy Father" is not healthy when your father is abusive.

Second, of course public school districts have a spending problem. But their spending problem is about HOW they spend the money in their budgets, not whether or not their budgets are adequate. On the other hand, their budgets are NOT adequate, which goes back to point number one described above.

As long as the state and federal politicians are more willing to use our decreasing tax dollars for corporate welfare, tax cuts for the rich, and giving themselves and their crony masters pay and benefit increases instead of our children's future, we will continue to dig ourselvers deeper and deeper into our own public education grave.

Its ultimately all about the desired result of privatization of public education, folks. Until we see that, we will be spinning our wheels and our middle class children will end up being servants for the money-connected politicians and the 1% to 10% ownership business and poltical elite.

Now its teachers and education. Next it will be firefighters, then police, and then most government services. What the politicians want is that everything be controlled by impersonal multinational corporations that have no patriotic or even local compassion - which will ultimately make the politicians rich.

If you don't believe me, tell me why politicians who weren't rich before they got into "public service" become rich after they became politicians. Do you really believe that they are in "public service" to be "government watchdogs." How gullible do we want to be?

Those of you on the right are in the driver's seat. Stop believing your lying manipulative politicians. You are clearly being duped.

We have a choice. The right wing 9-9-9 Plan that allows the rich to pay less tax and make the rich richer and the middle class pay more tax, or the 99% Movement who is telling the rich that enough is enough?

Time to stop lying to ourselves.

Rocky B. said...

Taxed Enough Already said:

• Superintendent Dwain York's Salary:$ 120,500
• Average Teacher Salary: $ 49,386
• Total Spent per Student: $ 22,354 with Only 20.6% Spent in the Classroom.

I understand your sentiment, TEA.

But what about the mid-management bankers on Wall Street who got bailed out with your tax dollars recently complaining in a Wall Street Journal article that they were only making about $1 Million average annual salary compared to $1.5 Million last year?

If you think Dwayne York and the teachers are overpayed, you must be livid that your bankers are instituting and raising debit card and low account value monthly service charges on middle class accounts.

I would appreciate your thoughts about the bankers.

Taxed Enough Already said...

Rocky said ... "If you think Dwayne York and the teachers are overpayed, you must be livid that your bankers are instituting and raising debit card and low account value monthly service charges on middle class accounts.”

Rocky, I think you missed my point, If I disagree with the charges for a bank Account and services or their corrupt dealings, I can shop elsewhere. I can't do that with a School District, I am stuck with it. Since I have no kids I feel that I am unfairly taxed. I do not mean that I should pay no school tax, just a lower tax than some irresponsible uncontrolled breeder with eight sprouts. I do not believe stadiums and such should be financed with taxpayer money...

Anonymous said...

It is an outrage that school officials would want to impose more taxes on property owners in the middle of a recession and with so many people and businesses that are struggling financially. Unless the fix is in. All it takes is a good turnout from just one subdivision, say wealthy Belterra with its brand spankin' new school, and voila! TAX INCREASE on everyone like it or not, necessary or not. Retirees dont' care (65 and over), their tax rates are frozen and they like Friday night football. Middle and lower income folks are not paying attention and least likely to vote. Obfuscation and confusion are the hallmarks of school boards and administrators especially come election time. Regular folks can't be blamed for falling for their misinformation because a) there is no real reporting to speak of from the newspapers (fluff and no substance/best PR arm of the school district money doesn't have to buy) and b) no attendance at school board meetings, the public flying on blind faith alone. Make no mistake, many school boards take full advantage of operating in relative obscurity. This one is a classic case. It is sad that people can be robbed in broad daylight. Please hold your school officials accountable. Check the numbers. Ask questions. And don't believe that a NO vote on the tax increase is a no vote on your football team.

Val said...

"Anonymous Anonymous said...
I'm confused. $4,444 spent per student on "instruction" and $8,209 per student on "operating expenditures" do not add up to $11,291 per student,but instead to $12,653 per student. Please explain. Thanks!"

The article was referencing budget numbers from 2 different years. Here are the numbers from the budget documents

2009-10
--------
Per pupil revenue $11349
Instruction $4361
-------
Overheard calculated as $6988

2008-09
----------
Per pupil revenue $11291
Instruction $4444
---------
Overheard calculated as $6847

---
To see all the budget data, take a look at: http://www.tea.state.tx.us/index2.aspx?id=2147495078&menu_id=645

It's an enlightening, yet scary experience.

Rocky B. said...

TEA said:

"Rocky, I think you missed my point, If I disagree with the charges for a bank Account and services or their corrupt dealings, I can shop elsewhere."

Great point, TEA. And I certainly was not disagreeing with you; just wanted to put your comment into a "revered" much over-adored private sector perspective.

Personally I do not think York and some other Supts are paid too much - IF they are doing a good job.

Yet to me, a good job may be different from others. The KAPS Supt. doesn't make anywhere near York's salary and does a lot more with less per student, at least when taking into account the budget she has to work with.

York, on the other hand, has a much bigger district than KAPS with more moving parts; and can you imagine "managing" the craziness, oops, diversity, of the parents in this town?

I hear the private prison corporations want to get into the education management business.

We could private contract out WISD to them and make York and his workers sub-contractors.

I bet that is what the Texas State Legilatures would love.

Rocky B. said...

Hey, Ochoa, where the heck is the spell check in the comments section?

The more I write, the more I look like a product of the public school system.

Anonymous said...

"An honest campaign and a well informed vote." Wow what a concept! Can we vote on that too?

Color me red said...

Mr. Rocky B: A $120,000 annual salary in Hays County is something like 4 or 5 times the average working man's and woman's salary. Heads of federal/state agency regional offices don't make that kind of money.

Your elitist class colors are showing.

Just being a superintendent or even a corporation CEO does not justify a top one or ten percent salary. Most of a superintendent's work goes to keeping school district booster clubs happy, employees in line, selling tax increases and meeting the requirements of federal and state regulations. We don't want to lose that federal money, do we?

Sir, show me the the quality of final product first. Show me the proof that York or the Dripping guy are producing 100% college-ready, career-ready students versus all the students who are dropping out or will have to settle for a minimum wage job.

Rocky B. said...

Color Me Red said:

"Mr. Rocky B: A $120,000 annual salary in Hays County is something like 4 or 5 times the average working man's and woman's salary. Heads of federal/state agency regional offices don't make that kind of money.

Your elitist class colors are showing."

Color You Out of Touch is more like it.

How about the owner of one of the biggest hardware stores in Hays County? He must make at least $500,000 a year (a meager estimate) and he sells widgets and stuff and employs a few people.

A public school superintendent is charged with the education of hundreds of our children - the future of our nation - and ultimately responsible for employing the equivalent of a very small town.

And you are so naive to think that York and others is responsible for getting most of our children in college.

What about the local parents who hate science and think the world was created 6,000 years ago? And what about parents who vote for Rick Perry and think he is a good Governor? And parents who call Obama a socialist just because they can't use the N word?

Do you think such "adult" examples don't have a major ignorance and dumbing down effect on our children's cognitive development?

And what about the corrupt Texas State Legislators who lie to our children through their actions about the value of education and public service by showing them via budget decisions that public education is a waste of money but that polluting energy companies are?

Why would you and others assume that York and other small town education leaders can overcome such ignorance and disrespect about education.

And if you are so into results and performance based compensation, you need to be out there with all the Occupy Wall Street / 99% protestors who are making the statement that incompetence in the private sector CANNOT be rewarded with government bailouts, more corporate welfare and tax-payer funded giveaways.

But no, you attack public education and government service and use irrelevant salary comparisons to prove your anger and resentment for drinking the private sector is always better kool-aid.

On the other hand, CMR, you do make a few good comments.

Anonymous said...

Cool. I am so glad to hear that after all these years the dumb-a-crat liberals are at last on the homeschool / Christian education bandwagon...What, you say? How can that be? Oh so easy mon frer.

You see, the logic if followed to its conclusion is simply this. Refuse to pay your taxes, close the government funded and run schools that teach the government's agenda and revisionist history, and let education go back to the way it was - home schooled or Christian education.

Amazing thing - illiteracy was almost a thing of the past when we spent little money and God was in the school house. Teachers didn't teach religion in public education in the good days; they were just sound reasonable people who didn't teach religion, and didn't discourage kids from expressing it either - whether before school or at football games.

But you're right, we're way to multi-cultural now. Let's let the home school movement finally get its wings, and then we'll see how educated folks will really be. Since nowadays if you look at the National Spelling Bee (for instance) did you know that it has been a home schooled child who has won the last four or five years (and maybe longer)? Yeah, all that money that's being thrown down the toilet on taj mahal school buildings, could be better spent on cleaning parks after the nasty liberals take them over and defecate on the ground and on police cars. (You know how sanitary them nasty liberals are!)

Well, let's see where else could we spend that money? Oh, let's try a voucher program. More efficient, more accountable, results oriented. I guess from what I am reading in this dreary blog, that's what people want - accountability, efficiency, results. Calling HaysCAN - Charles we need your dull-witted reporting to report immediately to the newsdesk for some more skewed reporting.

No, vouchers would solve a lot of the problems. Spend half as much as you presently do on public education, put in vouchers, and close the public school system entirely. What happens? We get an educated, literate society again, who will choose wisely to leave God alone in the school system, liberals will become extinct since their ignorance will no longer have a foothold in the government financed and run school system.

What a good idea all...Gig'em!

Attention Must Be Paid said...

To Anonymous, Oct. 15, 10:50 PM:

Since you're the rude person who pointed out to a poster that he should have spelled "loose" when he said "lose," let me point out to you that it should be "mon frere," not "mon frer."

And you are full of hot air when you say that "illiteracy was almost a thing of the past when we spent little money [for education] and God was in the school house." More U.S. citizens can read now (as a percentage of population) than back in your supposed good old days.

Anonymous said...

Austin Statesman, Oct. 18, p.A2:

"Amendment would end property taxes

A proposed consitutional amendment that would make North Dakota the only state in the nation to abolish property taxes would be 'the most profound policy change since statehood,' a county commissioner said. The measure, which goes to a statewide vote next June, is stirring controversy in North Dakota, where oil and gas development have helped grow the economy."

Taxed Enough Already said...

"Amendment would end property taxes"

The people in N. Dakota will hopefully pass this amendment to their State's Constitution. This is the answer to our tax problems here in Texas as well. It is interesting that this has been largely unreported in the major media. There are a lot of local governments and school districts that live off the backs of property owners. The answer is simply a sales or consumption tax where all would have to pay. This would end things like DSISD's predatory raid on its citizen's pocket books in order to finance their wasteful ways.

A sales tax would be collected and dispersed by the State on a "per student" basis to provide equalization across the districts. It would also encourage the smaller districts to consolidate into larger districts to reduce their repetitious overheads tom further reduce costs.

I would favor all of the school districts in Hays County to consolidate now into one district for efficiency and for the relief of the overburdened taxpayers. There is no justifiable reason to have so many districts within this small area. Local control is a myth; it is more like local robbery at the expense of the students and taxpayers. We have had enough! Public Education is nothing more than a Welfare Program!

John said...

I’m sorry that this is lengthy. But when someone makes a mistake, it takes longer to clarify the mistake than it took to make it.
The post said:
What the TEA report labels "Total Revenue Per Student" has increased from $9,880 (2005-06) to $11,349 (2010-11), representing a per student increase in revenue of 14%, not a decrease as Dr. Herrick implied.
Well, the statement is in error. If you pull up the budget actuals for the two years from the url provided by the poster you will find the following:
Total REVENUE per student 2005-2006 (ALL FUNDS) $9,880
Total RECEIPTS per student 2009-2010 (ALL FUNDS) $11,349
So, the poster’s first mistake – apples to oranges – you can’t compare revenue to receipts.
So, helping the poster out, let us sort out the data:
First, try apples to apples
Total REVENUE per student 2005-2006 (ALL FUNDS) $9,880
Total REVENUE per student 2009-2010 (ALL FUNDS) $11,156
Interesting – comparing revenue to revenue the answer is still pretty much what the poster said – an increase of 12.9% - and, gosh Mrs. Cleaver, that does seem high. But wait:
Second, try oranges to oranges
Total RECEIPTS per student 2005-2006 (ALL FUNDS) $18,828
Total RECEIPTS per student 2009-2010 (ALL FUNDS) $11,349
What the heck!?! – This is a DECREASE of nearly 40% from 2005 to 2010! That ought to upset the poster. What is the difference? In 2005-2006 DSISD had $29 million from ‘other resources’ added to total receipts. That was BOND money – debt the voters agreed to take out in order to finance school construction. Bond money goes into the ‘ALL FUNDS’ calculation – and is a handy way to mislead yourself if you don’t understand that.
So, if you are really interested in trying to figure out what DSISD per student revenue collection is – without dropping in huge chunks of money for bond sales that occur rarely – you should only look at the GENERAL FUND – not ‘all funds’. The general fund is where the maintenance and operations for DSISD are funded – this is where we pay teachers and custodians and librarians and nurses and electricity and water and sewage, etc, etc, etc from. Those numbers are:
Total REVENUE per student 2005-2006 (GENERAL FUND) $6,782
Total REVENUE per student 2009-2010 (GENERAL FUND) $ 7,556
Hmmm, an 11.4% increase.
Total RECEIPTS per student 2005-2006 (GENERAL FUND) $ 7,545
Total RECEIPTS per student 2009-2010 (GENERAL FUND) $ 7,760
Hmmmm, only a 2.8 % increase from 2005 to 2010.
So what have we learned?
Lesson learned #1 – don’t compare receipts to revenue.
Lesson learned #2 – don’t use ‘all funds’ – it gets skewed by the occasional bond program which are always BIG
Lesson learned #3 – don’t look at just ‘revenue’ - look at RECEIPTS – which is revenue PLUS any other money (need to count it all!) the district can come up with for use in maintenance and operations – which is spent annually on the student’s education without skewing it by looking at capital money raised by bonds.
Point of the analysis – look at RECEIPTS year to year – that is what is driven by local property tax collections and state contributions. And in this case, between 2005 and 2010 the total RECEIPTS per student increased by 2.8% which is at best flat, but more likely a decrease as stated by Dr. Herrick when you look at the rising costs of fuel, electricity, water, sewage, healthcare benefits, etc. over the period 2005-2010.
So when the poster said:
The problem is clearly on the spending side, not the taxing side.
They pretty much got it wrong with faulty analysis.

John said...

The good news is that this is not as long – but it still has to clarify the poster’s error.
The post said:
2010 TEA report on DSISD: Tax revenue per student $11,291, amount spent on instruction $4,444, $8,209 on “operating expenditures.”

First – again the poster uses the ALL FUNDS figure for revenue per student. The $11,291 includes the ‘mortgage payment’ (i.e. debt service). The $11,291 includes nearly $3,000 that can NOT legally be spent on instruction. It must be spent on debt service to pay for the school buildings. That is why there are two tax rates – the M&O rate and the I&S rate. You can’t spend I&S money on instruction. To pretend that we should be spending all of the $11,291 on instruction is not only silly – it would be illegal.
Second – the statement from the poster implies $4,444 is spent on instruction and $8209 is spent on “operating expenditures” – leading one to believe that is two different buckets of money. They are NOT.
If you pull up the full AEIS report from the TEA website instead of just the SNAPSHOT report, you will plainly see that the $4,444 is PART of the $8209 figure – they are not separate.
So $4,444 is spent on instruction – direct teacher/student interaction. That leaves $3,762 ($3,762 plus $4,444 adds up to the $8,209). That $3,762 was spent as follows:
Instructional related services $277
Instructional leadership $152
School leadership $439
Support services - students $419
Student transportation $335
Food services $425
Co curricular activities $340
Central administration $318
Plant ops and maintenance $969
Security / monitoring services $ 21
Data processing services $ 67

Now, you may not think food service is important to educating kids, but a hungry kid doesn’t learn very well.
And maybe bus transportation isn’t important either – but if the kid isn’t in school it is tough to teach them.
Plant operations and maintenance is a big ticket item, the largest in fact. Maybe we should quit buying electricity – heating and cooling the schools seems like a luxury, and who needs to run computers in the 21st century? Having water and toilet paper in the bathrooms seems extravagant – can’t the student use the bathroom at home before they come to school?
So let us recap – the $8,209 and the $4,444 are not two separate numbers – the $4,444 is included in the $8,209. It is important to understand the data before one performs an analysis incorrectly.
And the $3,762 not spent on direct teacher/student interaction still seems pretty important to the overall educational experience.
And if one still wants to compare this to the total expenditure per pupil and include the debt service payment (the monthly mortgage payment), then the $8,209 represents about 72% of that total $11,291 and that 72% is more than the 65% people are still squawking about.

Val said...

John - Let's clarify the issue. The state mandates "instruction" spending is required to be 65% of the schools operating budget. The definition of instruction is fixed, so it can provide a benchmark for comparison. You can't simply add lunch and electricity bills to it and make the 72% you calculate happen. Even DSISD claims just 54% spent on instruction. They leave out the debt reypayment as well, but it's still below the mandate.

According to the definition of instruction DSISD spent $4444 of the $11,349 we paid in tax dollars on instruction. The debt point you make, I've had this conversation with DSISD people. They don't like to count debt payments it as real money we spend, even though it is real money we're taxed. I'm sorry. Unless we can deduct that part from our tax bills and not pay it, we have to count it as an expense. It cannot be both ways.

DSISD's 2011-12 budget shows per student instruction spending is set to drop to $3953, a 12% reduction in spending on instruction at the same time a tax rate increase is proposed.

This is the heart of the problem too much spending on construction, and not enough on instruction.

Val said...

According to the TEA budget report for 2010-11 (http://ritter.tea.state.tx.us/cgi/sas/broker?_service=marykay&_program=sfadhoc.budget_report_2011.sas&_service=appserv&_debug=0&who_box=105904)

DSISD 2010-11
Total spending on “Instruction” $18,807,235
Total payments on “Debt Service” $10,324,578

We taxpayers paid $10mil in 2010-11 in debt payments. That's 54% of the amount in total paid for instruction,. That's why we can't ignore debt payments. We pay $860,381.50 per month. That's some mortgage.

Val said...

TEA Actual Financial data
Totals for Dripping Springs ISD (105904) http://www.tea.state.tx.us/index2.aspx?id=2147495078&menu_id=645

TEA Annual Budget Reports first line item on the annual report is "Revenue per student"

All of the following figures are from the TEA Actual financial data reports

DSISD Revenue per student
------------------------
2009-10 $11,349
2008-09 $11,291
2007-08 $11,048
2006-07 $10,560
2005-06 $9,880
2004-05 $8,349

This is TEA data, all from the first line of the annual reports labeled "Revenue per student". Apples and apples for sure.

Anonymous said...

to John:

What is the difference, anyway, between "revenues per student" and "receipts per student?"

Kathi said...

The 65% is an executive order that Perry signed. When Sen. Wentworth carried that bill (at the request of Red McCombs)a DS ISD school board member went to him and asked that transportation be included in "class expenses", since if you can't get the kids to school in a timely manner, they're not likely to learn much. Wentworth's home district is Alamo Heights with NINE miles of busing, DS ISD has around 200 miles- you do the math. He refused, and fortunately, when this went to the House, it was voted down. Perry later did an executive order (like the HPV one) that mandates it, but it was NEVER passed by the legislature. There is nothing "magic" about 65%- it is a figure that Grover Norquist figured they could use to get teachers and administrators at each others' throats. I believe it is also an attempt to close down public schools, as one poster to this list is advocating.
I homeschooled our daughter for several years, and know many liberal homeschoolers, who have taken their kids from school due to the undue influence from the far, far right SBOE. However, the writers of our State Constitution understood that for many, the best way to a good education is a public education. They wrote it into our State Constitution on purpose. It is great if you can homeschool, unschool or do private school. Bravo for you being able to do that. The majority of people either cannot or will not do it, and so we have public education, which for a great many, is their best shot at "moving up." In Dripping, we have a pretty darn good public school system! There is still much I dislike about public schools (most of it legislative,) but I know that we need them. I wish the Legislature would stay the heck out them and let actual educators & parents make educational decisions, but they're hell-bent on ruining our schools so they keep pushing corporate mandates on them. It is up to parents to push back and let Legislators know that we expect them to follow the Constitution and that we want our kids educated, not trained!

Kathi said...

A very important point- when new schools are proposed, the tax payers get to vote on the bonds if we want to pay for them and if not, they don't get built. If we believe that education is important and that we need a facility that will actually house all the kids, then we vote for the facilities. If we don't believe that, then it fails.
In this case, if we don't pass both propositions an ADDITIONAL $2.5 to $3 million will be cut from the budget- on TOP of the over $2 million that was cut this year. Combine that with more kids moving in, well, it isn't a pretty picture.

Val said...

Kathi said..." In this case, if we don't pass both propositions an ADDITIONAL $2.5 to $3 million will be cut from the budget- on TOP of the over $2 million that was cut this year. "

DSISD is nearly at the debt limit allowable by Texas Education Code. It allows for up to .50 for every $100 of appraised value to be spent on debt repayment. DSISD is at .45 already, before any additional bonds. Part of the Lakeway/Travis ISD brouhaha is about raising their tax rate to $1.32 and debt repayment rate up to .36. We're way past that, at $1.49 and .45. We pay really high tax rates as compared with other Texas school districts.

Debt exceeds assets in DSISD at this time. Kathi, there's a problem here and spending more money, pretty soon isn't an option, even if voters do accept the idea. DSISD will be at the maximum tax rate and they'll have issued bonds that put us at the maximum bond repayment rate. This isn't far in the future. Then they'll be maxed out on tax rate and bond leverage and they'll be forced to cut or at least stop spending more.

These caps are intended to protect taxpayers. I don't how DSISD got into such a deep hole,being that per student tax revenue has increased every year since 2006. I guess they just kept spending more.

JL said...

So I guess we're all going to have to settle for what, maybe 30 cents on the dollar for classroom instruction and the rest for growth and construction and more debt? I think alot of tax payers are being had on this one. I think the tax payers have been had for a long time giving their best to try to support an educational system that produces a mediocre product at best. Can't we do better for the tax dollars we are already spending? And why do we always get stuck with paying the bill for somebody else's growth plans?