Voters in some North Texas school districts are being asked to ratify plans this November to raise property taxes, and it has fostered debate between the school officials who are proponents of the increase and opponents who claims the districts need to better manage their finances.
The Dallas and Richardson school districts are asking voters to approve raising property taxes by 13 cents, according to The Dallas Morning News.
If the tax ratifications pass, the cost to the average Dallas homeowner will go up $240 per year. Homeowners in the Richardson school district would expect, on average, to pay an extra $305 per year, according to KDFW-TV Fox 4.
The Frisco school district is asking for what is called a tax swap, a process that would “shift money around” and entail raising the portion of the tax rate dedicated to maintenance and operations by 13 cents while decreasing the portion dedicated to debt services by 15 cents, according to the Morning News. Opponents argue that the swap is not needed.
Proponents of the tax increase in the Dallas district assert that money is needed to keep up with the momentum and turnaround that the district has experienced, The Morning News reported. The district has seen a dramatic improvement in its academic performance, with only four schools receiving failing grades from the Texas Education Agency compared to five years ago, when 43 schools failed, according to KDFW.
However, opponents of the tax increase in Dallas don’t trust the district with the money,
“Voters should not support a tax rate increase because the district is not transparent with the use of the money,” Amy Tawil, a teacher at Rosemont Elementary, said at a school board meeting, according to the Morning News. “This district does not need more money. It needs better managers of our money.”
Her sentiments were echoed by Chris McNutt, treasurer of a group opposing the Richardson district tax hike. McNutt told the Morning News that Richardson needs to make “tough decisions on what needs to be cut back.”