Open Letter from Keller ISD Board Member: Vote No

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By: Brad Schofield, KISD Trustee, Place 6

I have been asked why I voted against the 2018 TRE which includes a 1-cent property tax deduction.  First and foremost, I am all for property tax deductions and easing the local homeowner tax burden.  Three years ago I voted for a 2-cent property tax deduction, so what’s up with my No vote on this TRE?

First off, let’s look at some of the MYTHS and FACTS surrounding this issue:

Myth 1 –If the TRE passes Keller ISD will receive an additional $19 Million in new funding for the district.

Real Fact –Keller ISD will receive NO additional funding if the TRE passes.  Furthermore, the district will be sending $5 Million dollars of local property taxpayer money back to the state.  This happens if the TRE passes because it will trigger Keller ISD to fall under the Robin Hood recapture rules and hence Keller ISD will have to pay back to the state $5 Million dollars of your money.  The $19 Million talked about is already collected in the I&S fund and can be used for many purposes including updated school building security, electronic equipment for the classroom, and bus transportation.

Myth 2 –The local taxpayer will receive a 1-cent property tax reduction with the TRE.

Real Fact –Just like a credit card teaser rate offer you receive in the mail, upon passing of the TRE the local taxpayer will get a 1-cent tax rate reduction.  This reduction will happen, but it will be for a limited time only.  It is totally contingent on future homeowner property values increasing by 10% in 2018 and 6% every year thereafter.  If those property valuations don’t increase by those projections then the 1-cent tax reduction will be reversed and the 2-cent property tax reduction I voted for 3 years ago will also be in jeopardy.  This year homeowner property values will increase 4.6% and next year it is projected to be 3%.  If Keller ISD TRE property value projections are this inflated how long will the TRE tax decrease stay intact?  And remember we have a Keller ISD 2019 Bond coming soon before the voters which will further add stress to these tax rate cuts.

Myth 3 –Most of the TRE money is going to teachers and being used for items inside the classroom.

Real Fact –Over 60% of the TRE allocated funds will be used in administrative areas of the district.  Only about 36% of the TRE is for anything to do with teachers or kids in a classroom.  The bulk of the TRE money is to cover past and future “pet” projects and budget deficits from the prior six years.  Yes, KISD has been over spending for the last 6 years and running large shortfalls. All KISD raining day money has now been spent.

Myth 4 –Keller ISD is a grossly under funded district and this TRE will level the playing field.

Real Fact –Currently Keller, Hurst-Euless-Bedford, and Coppell are school districts that operate close to the lower 30th percentile of funding per student.  The amount of school funding does not make a good or bad district.  Dallas and Fort Worth ISD’s are the top two in student funding in the metroplex.  So we know, the amount of school funding does not equal quality education.  If the TRE passes Keller ISD will become one of the highest funded districts in the metroplex right alongside that of Dallas and Fort Worth ISD’s.  Does Keller ISD really need all that funding or could they have given the hard-working homeowners in the district more than a 1-cent taxpayer reduction?  One more question, what about KISD cutting the budget a little in the administrative areas of the district and putting more money into the classroom?

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