TREIn a bid to reassure voters, Dallas ISD trustees took the unusual move adopting a resolution that pledges to spend the first projected surplus a tax ratification election, or TRE , could produce on specific initiatives, including one that strategically increases employee salaries.

But the move was not without a lot of debate.  

Trustee Audrey Pinkerton put for a proposed resolution that would have the entire projected $126 million the 13-cent tax increase would generate in the first year be earmarked for those pay raises, with the board pledging to support the other three initiatives — racial equity initiatives, expanding school choice, and expanding pre-K.

But trustee Edwin Flores put forth another resolution that would have the board pledging to spend the entire $126 million on all four initiatives.

And yet another version authored by Lew Blackburn, dubbed the “compromise resolution,” combined the language of Pinkerton’s resolution with the language of the Flores resolution.

This was my attempt to marry two fairly similar resolutions,” he said. Flores said his resolution was modeled on the district’s strategic initiatives for the TRE, and said he wanted to align it with the entire presentation regarding the initiatives.

Legally, a current board cannot bind — or make promises for — a future board. But the resolution circumvented that by only committing the funds that would be generated from the TRE in the first year. (more…)

Editor’s Note: On Aug. 16, the Dallas ISD board of trustees voted 7-1 to put a 13-cent Tax Ratification Election (or TRE) on the Nov. 6 ballot. District 7 Trustee Audrey Pinkerton has proposed a resolution regarding the funds garnered from that property tax rate increase, should voters approve it. We asked her to explain it, and she obliged. 

By Audrey Pinkerton
Special Contributor

This Thursday, DISD trustees will vote on a resolution related to the Tax Ratification Election (TRE) on November 6. Here’s why that vote is critical to the future of the district.

By now you’ve probably been told that DISD needs more money. And you may be wondering why since your DISD property tax bill keeps going up. Unfortunately, due to the state’s convoluted school funding system, there’s a big disconnect between what you pay and what DISD gets.

At a series of community meetings in August, Superintendent Hinojosa laid out the case for a tax rate increase: without more state funding, the district won’t be able to cover its costs next year. He showed a 5-year plan to raise the tax rate now, set money aside for future cost increases (primarily to keep up with wage inflation), and borrow from those reserves starting in 2020. It’s a prudent plan that insures financial support for the district without relying on a largely unsupportive state legislature. (more…)

TRE

Dallas ISD trustees Dan Micciche and Justin Henry talked to supporters of a Tax Ratification Election before Thursday’s board meeting (photo courtesy Rob Shearer).

It took three tries, but a 13-cent Tax Ratification Election (TRE) was passed by the Dallas ISD board of trustees in a special called meeting Thursday night.

The vote (which was seven for, one against, and one absent) will place a measure that will increase the district’s maintenance and operating tax rate from $1.04 to $1.17.

There has not been an increase since 2008.

A cheer from the gallery went up as what various advocates had been asking for — a chance to put a potential property tax increase on the ballot — finally passed after three tries over as many years.

If voters approve the measure on Nov. 6, it will provide an additional $126 million every year to support early learning, racial equity, and choice school programs, as well as compensation. (more…)

property taxIt’s a drum several Dallas ISD trustees have been beating for a while — a Tax Ratification Election that would allow the district to increase services and programs at dozens of at-risk schools with the money raised by increasing property taxes rates.

But they’ve yet to get it on the ballot. (more…)


tre

The cavalry, as one Dallas ISD trustee said, isn’t coming for Texas public schools. And after last Friday, the voters won’t have a chance to, either.

Friday night’s school board meeting was contentious, and the proposals for a possible Tax Ratification Election were numerous. A tax swap was on the table. But at the end of the night, no one plan received a six-vote super-majority.

Trustee Edwin Flores attended the meeting remotely while on vacation, thanks to Skype, and was able to vote on each proposal.

Trustee Audrey Pinkerton was not in attendance because she was also on a family vacation, Trustee Joyce Foreman said. She indicated earlier on Facebook that she was against all the proposals except the 2-cent tax swap, but Facebook posts are not legally binding votes in a school board meeting. 

A message to Pinkerton asking for comment on her absence was not answered by press time.

The district’s tax rate will remain at $1.28 per $100 valuation for the forseeable future.

During the public speaking portion of the meeting, those advocating for a TRE far outnumbered those who testified against it. But that didn’t sway any of the trustees that were against increasing the tax rate at all.
(more…)

property tax

Dallas ISD trustees will discuss a tax ratification election that would send a potential 6-cent property tax hike to voters. (Photo by iStock)

Before we start, let me say that as a homeowner, I’m about as excited about a potential property tax hike as I am a yearly Pap smear.

But I also know that, like a Pap smear, sometimes things you dislike you do anyway because they’re good for you.  It’s uncomfortable, you have to worry for an indeterminant amount of time regarding the results, and sometimes you have to go back to discuss them because they’re not quite right.

No. Nobody wants their property taxes to go up. But I will go on record as saying since the Texas legislature won’t adequately fund public education, I’ll gladly pay more.

OK, no, I won’t gladly. That was a total lie.

(more…)