Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Round Rock ISD Seeks to Raise Taxes

The Round Rock ISD Board of Trustees voted over the summer to put nearly $300,000,000 in bond proposals on the November ballot. These bonds, if passed, will raise the total amount of public debt on Round Rock ISD citizens to nearly $1 billion since 1993.

Honest, hardworking Americans have to balance their family budgets and tighten their belts right now because of the crunch in the economy. It is only reasonable that these same hardworking Americans ask our local, state and federal governments to also tighten their belts instead of raising taxes. Taxpayers should not continue to extend bad loans to the government through bonds and tax increases.

Round Rock ISD, according to their website, has 41,468 total students enrolled in all of their campuses from Kindergarten to High School. Americans for Prosperity shows that Round Rock ISD currently has $629,625,025 of total debt from bonds. This amount comes to $15,183 of debt per student for the 2008 fiscal year. If the $293.9 million bond proposal passes in November, the total debt for Round Rock ISD will come to $923,525,025. This comes to $22,270 of debt per student for the 2008 fiscal year.

By contrast, Round Rock ISD, according to the Texas Education Agency, only puts $4,081 per student into the classroom (see line 82 of the link). What does this really mean? Round Rock ISD has 3.75 times more debt per student than classroom funding per student in 2008. This bond proposal, if passed, will increase the ratio to 5.5 times more debt per student than classroom funding per student!

Taxpayers have always been asked to come to the rescue of bureaucracies for their irresponsible spending practices. From 1980 to 2005, local government debt in Texas has increased 158%. The grand total of all the debt in Williamson County is $1.6 billion.

Local governments and school boards will use the same old "for the children" line to encourage citizens to pass the bond proposals. The real question to ask is how much of this money goes to the children and how much goes to increase bureaucratic red tape in our public education system. There is no link between money and quality education. Many times, the highest funded schools are in fact the lowest performing schools.

This November 4, Round Rock ISD residents are given the opportunity to vote down the local government bailout program. I encourage Round Rock voters to vote "NO" on the Propositions 1 & 2, which will only serve to raise our taxes.

1 comment:

Jay said...

A vote of "NO" would further add to the over crowding of schools such as Cactus Ranch, Great Oaks, Bluebonnet, Grisham, Ridgeview, Stony Point, and McNeil. Did you that some of our elementary students go to lunch as early as 10:00 Am to 10:30 AM because those schools cafeterias are over burdened by as much as 25% to 30% more kids a day?

During the time the bond was evaluated by citizens of the district there was no economic crisis and no one could foresee the future. Nor was everything put on the table, what is being presented are the must have!

The bonds are also going to improvements like expanding Round Rock and Westwood, more buses, better depot position for buses within the district, security for the upper grades. Expand the science programs which are mandated by the Federal Government.

I have run the numbers several times myself and if the district does not stay ahead of the curve we will see more and more problems with over crowding and facilities will become over used. Until all of the tax dollars paid to the district stay in the district we will never be able to maintain the quality of education and facilities we all want for our children.

Voting no is one option but this will stall our efforts to stay ahead of the growth in our district. From where I stand there is no other method to raise funds to manage and expand our school district. Go check out a school in your area to see what I am talking about, it will open your eyes to the apparent needs. I would encourage everyone to vote yes to both Prop 1 and Prop 2. The additional tax dollars are small for what is being asked.