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Archive for August 12th, 2008

Arlington school board says no tax increase…for now

Posted by Texas Education on August 12, 2008

It looks like some districts are getting by without a hike. If only we could be so lucky, um…

If something as serious as deciding whether to increase taxes can be described like a poker game, the Arlington school board tipped its hand Thursday night.

No tax increase.

There are more cards to be dealt. Board members could change their minds later this month.

It was a tense discussion. They had to meet a legal deadline for advertising an Aug. 21 budget hearing. They don’t have to adopt the tax rate that they advertise, but they can’t legally set a rate that’s higher. The ad is expected to be in Monday’s newspaper.

If they change their minds later, they’ll have to publish another ad.

Call it a gut check. Trustee Wayne Ogle said that publishing a higher rate would send a signal that they are “at least on some level” considering a tax increase. Trustee Gloria Pena offered a motion to delay the decision a week.

No second. Pena offered another motion: Publish an ad showing no tax increase.

That one passed 6-1. Trustee Mike O’Donnell voted against it, saying he first wanted to hear ideas for resolving the current multimillion-dollar budget deficit. Trustee Sherri Wade said she won’t vote for a tax increase, no matter what.

Budget deficits bedevil many Texas school districts this year. The Legislature’s 2006 school finance law pushes districts to sharply cut spending or raise taxes to cover increased costs.

O’Donnell had the right approach. It’s silly to make this decision without facts. Updated numbers show a deficit of $17.9 million, and that doesn’t include a pay raise for teachers and other employees that would add $9.4 million more.

From the Star-Telegram.com

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