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…)

Today is the last day to register to vote, which means in 29 days, nine hours, and 15 minutes, we will all be hitting refresh repeatedly on our computers and/or flipping back and forth between all the TV stations covering the midterm elections.

But something else is on that ballot besides Beto or Ted, Lupe or Greg, and so on and so on. Four ballot measures directly related to how Dallas ISD will be able to continue it’s impressive and monumental spate of improvement will also appear on every Dallasite’s ballot, and we’re betting you’ve only heard of maybe one of them.

And that’s OK. There’s been a lot of information in the past few months, and a lot to digest both public school related and completely unrelated. But we’ll be taking a look at those measures and helping drill down to make sense of them this week so that before you hit the early voting location of your choice, you feel comfortable with your choice of yay or nay. (more…)

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Historic and projected state contribution to public education (courtesy Center for Public Policy Priorities)

As Dallas ISD advocates begin ramping up the campaign to pass a 13-cent Tax Ratification Election (or TRE) in November, news that will likely irritate more property owners came down the pike during a state budget hearing: The state will contribute less toward public education in the next two years.

In yesterday’s budget panel meeting, Texas Education Agency commissioner Mike Morath confirmed that his agency’s budget request for the Foundation School Program for the next two years asks for $3.5 billion less in general revenue for schools, and will instead shift more of the burden to local property taxes. (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…)

Real EstateDallas ISD is holding public information meetings for a proposed Tax Ratification Election to be held in November, a Desoto man has been tapped by Governor Abbott for a spot on a real estate advisory committee, and we take a look at how the market did in the area in July in this week’s real estate news roundup. (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…)

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Dallas voters won’t get the chance to decide on a property tax increase to provide needed funds for Dallas ISD, but you can still help.

The daunting needs that face Dallas ISD teachers won’t disappear — not after this legislative session, where lawmakers made it clear public education wasn’t a priority. But what can we do?

As I mentioned Monday, the Dallas ISD school board could not come to a supermajority on any of the Tax Ratification Election options proposed, nor on the 2-cent tax swap.

I feel like this fact gets buried in the talk about trustees and TRE: The vote Friday wasn’t to change the tax rate. The vote Friday was to put the change on a ballot and let voters decide if they wanted to give the district more money.

This means that if the voters didn’t want to — if they felt the same way their trustee did, they could vote against it. So the vote wasn’t to raise the tax or not. The vote was whether you got to decide what to do with your money.

As I talked about this with people, something emerged that was quite beautiful Sunday night. On Facebook, a group of us began talking about the many ways frustrated, would-be voters could still make a monetary mark on the needs of teachers here. (more…)


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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…)