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Vote on Rollback election — Humble ISD

Posted by Texas Education on October 31, 2008

Ok, I’ve been torn on whether to vote for this or not, seriously. I do understand the implications if we don’t vote on this, (more cut backs, serious cut backs.) But I also see the other side, our taxes go up, well, that’s about it. Well, not really. One reason I’ve been torn, I have seen expenditures (IMHO) that I do not agree with. I’ve seen cutbacks that I feel should not have been cut out, (technology) and others that should have been, (some higher administrative positions, expensive phones in all the rooms at the new schools, elaborate decorating at some of the make overs and new schools, just to name a few.) Ok, I’ve said it! Just places I don’t agree with.

Now, back to the funding crisis/rollback election. It was pointed out to me last night from a friend that if we put ourselves at the cap, we will have leverage against the state, possibly to sue them (again) to force their hand (again) to fund the schools, and not put this so heavily on the taxpayers. For more (from Humble ISD website) on this important election:

A message from Humble ISD Superintendent Guy Sconzo: “Our Humble ISD theme this year is “No Challenge is Too Great for Us”. Little did I know how appropriate this would be for us what with Hurricane Ike hitting the gulf coast soon after Dr. Sconzo talks about the school funding crisis in Texas and Humble ISD's upcoming tax rollback election school opened – and now a tax rate rollback election coming up in a few days.
I am thankful that our schools escaped serious damage, and as you may already know, we broke attendance records when school resumed after Ike. It was as if the community gave a collective sigh of relief that life truly was getting back to normal when our school re-opened.

It also appears that our community and employees give every indication of understanding the need for a tax rate election given the financial crisis brought on by the Texas Legislature when it adopted a finance system (House Bill 1) that froze school funding at 2005-06 levels.

HB 1 has:

  • Frozen funding at level school districts received in 2005-06
  • Frozen inequitable differences in Weighted Average Daily Attendance (WADA) funding from one school district to the next. For example, if Humble ISD $4,987 WADA) received the same WADA per child as Katy ISD ($5,174), it would mean an additional $9.2 million for our schools in 2008-09
  • Ignored the fact that costs for fuel, utilities, employee salaries, insurance, etc., continue to rise
  • Provides no inflation factor for operating revenue
  • Established a system where the state takes away a dollar of state aid for every local school tax dollar gained from increased property valuations and new property on the tax roll

Add to that the knowledge that the state’s transportation allotment has not increased since 1984 when gas was $1.13 per gallon and you have the makings of a financial crisis for schools across the state. By the end of this fall, more than 200 school districts will have had rollback elections. That’s with only two years of HB 1 in place!

This tax rate rollback election allows voters to decide whether or not to increase the Maintenance and Operations tax rate by 13 cents to $1.17 giving Humble ISD a total tax rate of $1.52. Our total tax rate in 2005 was $1.77! Approval means that Humble ISD will not need to make reductions beyond the $9 million already cut for this school year. Voter approval means that Humble ISD will receive about $17 million needed to balance the budget this year. Since about 87% of the school district’s budget is personnel, these funds would be used for salaries and to keepTax rate rollback election Nov. 22 existing programs in place. Read more…..

Humble ISD’s election will be on Nov. 22.
Early voting begins Nov. 5.

Print a brochureVer / Imprimir en español | Xem / In ở Việt Nam
See complete information about this election, including FAQs, early voting details, and polling locations, your questions answered (new questions/answers added 10/30)

There is only one Town Hall meeting left to get the scoop about this important election:

  • 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 13, at Humble High School Auditorium, 1700 Wilson Road
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What you need to know!!!

Posted by Texas Education on June 28, 2008

Districts face higher costs – for fuel, insurance, supplies, employee compensation and more – and yet state funding is frozen at the level received in the 2005-2006 school year. The state funding formula does not account for inflation.

This is problematic, wouldn’t you say?

There are huge discrepancies from one district to another in the amount of sate funding that districts receive based on WADA (weighted average daily attendance.) For example, Humble ISD receives $4,937 per WADA while Katy ISD receives $5,174 per WADA. It would mean an additional $9.2 million in sate aid if Humble ISD was to receive the same WADA as Katy ISD.

The state transportation allotment to school districts has not been increased since 1984.

Umm, how would you like to be working off income from 1984??? This is insane. I honestly can’t believe the Texas Legislature is putting it’s constituents through this. How is this even remotely fair???

Districts do not benefit from increased property valuation. The state reduces, dollar for dollar, the amount it sends to districts receiving more money from local taxpayers due to raising property values.

Again, fair?? I think not. Oh, but there’s more:

The Humble ISD Board, along with school boards all over the state, faces difficult decisions in adopting a budget for next year. With millions in cuts and much more to come, discussion of a possible roll-back election is beginning to be heard in the community. A tax rollback election means that residents would vote on whether to allow the district to raise the property tax rate to generate more operating money. School income is essentially frozen in Texas, since any rise in property values benefits the state, not the school district. The state decreases its share of aid to the schools when property taxes rise.

Wow, so, come fall, we need to make sure we VOTE the tax increase. I know, I know, we certainly are taxed to death, but, unless we want our school district to become a ‘minimal’ school district, or worse – close, we HAVE to do this.

This information was obtained from the Humble ISD website.

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In-the-News

Posted by Texas Education on June 13, 2008

Well, a few things in the news right now. HISD may open its borders to boost declining enrollment was in the Chronicle recently. (I meant to blog on that sooner.) This, to me, seems like a worthwhile effort to increase enrollment for faltering ISD’s. Especially since enrollment has fallen and they expect it to continue on that path. Board member Manuel Rodriguez says: “This will be a good move to help grow some of the student population.” They have stipulations though, which I also agree is worthwhile, must have good behavior and attendance would be mandatory. I’m not real sure if Humble would be at any advantage on this, as any new students, we create a deficit, as pointed out in Dr. Sconzo’s budget powerpoint. We lose roughly $2,000 for each new student to the district. I’m pretty sure that is the same scenario for most of the districts that are struggling. I found this information on a great website TexasISD.com. Another great place for what’s happening in-the-news. On the legislative page, State Sen. Kevin Eltife, R-Tyler, says, “property taxes and school funding in Texas are worse now than when lawmakers began tinkering with the problems again four years ago.” [ View Article ] Wow, slap me in the face why don’t ya?

Dr. Diane Trautman recently said to me that, “We had the chance two years ago to stop this by voting against Crabb and putting in a pro-education candidate, but no one seemed to understand the urgency two years ago and now here we are at this cross roads. Indeed we must contact our legislators and inform them that their time in office is short unless they put public school funding at the top of the agenda this January! And then vote them out if they don’t!”

So, to all those who are in office, or are running for office, you are on notice, not like I have to tell any of them at this point, Though, it still seems as though Perry, Craddick, Crabb, just to mention a few, still aren’t hearing us, apparently. You can also check out TexasISD.com’s school finance section. Whew, that’s an eye full.

  • Arlington school district faces shortfall of $20 million
  • Corpus Christi: CCISD May Need Extra $200,000 For Gas In 2008-09 School Year
  • Cost of replacing football field adds to Wimberley school money woes
  • Cy-Fair ISD cuts staff, spending – and boy do they have some woes
  • Edcouch-Elsa schools to ask for $4.5 million loan to keep afloat
  • School board cuts become clearer for Humble ISD
  • Ennis: EISD pool will stay closed

Wow! And Rep. Beverly Woolley of House District 136 in the Memorial area said she had been assured by Rep. Rob Eissler of The Woodlands, chairman of the House public schools committee, that school funding would be reviewed when the Legislature convenes in 2009.

“I don’t think there’s even a slight possibility that we would let the school districts become insolvent,” she said.

She said that “as a Republican,” she likes Patrick’s call more funding education from sales tax revenues rather than property tax, but also suggested that school districts need to watch their spending. (this was from the Memorial Examiner on April 18, 2008.)

So, are you trying to tell me ALL of these school districts are not “watching their spending??” When, our school district is working off budgets (the state gave us) from the 1980’s??? I’m just glad I’m not working off a budget from what I was making in the ’80’s.

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Superintendent of Northside ISD says it best!

Posted by Texas Education on June 11, 2008

I noticed in the Tribune today, where Jennifer Bernard says we should all write our legislative officials and demand change. Well, I would think they know by now our problems, wouldn’t you? No, the answer is not telling them what THEY need to do, it’s what WE need to do. We need to elect a legislature that understands our need to have proper funding for our children, for our teachers, for our schools. Ask them, talk to them. Last year I attended a forum for “Children at Risk” where the superintendent of Houston ISD – Abelardo Saavedra, Scott Hochberg, our own Dr. Sconzo and numerous others were guest speakers. I asked Mr. Hochberg why the state is not funding our schools better, and this was way before I know what we all know now, and his reply was, that he was told by those above him that they didn’t feel that it was the states job. What??? So, herein lies the problem, in my books (again, no pun.) We HAVE to elect those who really care about our schools, and care about giving them the proper funding, tools and support they so sorely need. Get educated as to who has our childrens’ best interest at heart. We can no longer go on this way. The Observer and the Tribune all have people crying about their sports, electives, etc. getting cut and we just can’t have that. Well, the board has no other alternative. In some of our own households people are making the decision to buy milk or by gas, and fellas, I believe, we have not seen the worst yet. Yes, we need to get fired up, but WE need to do something about it. If they have not been able to fix our crisis by now, they never will. Please educate yourselves, find out what our elected officials have voted for, or against, when it comes to schools, school financing, budgets, etc. As responsible adults, parents, communities, we can all do something. Let’s just hope it’s not too late. We still have the next year to tighten our belts, and even then, there are no guarantees.

John M. Folks Jr. is superintendent of the Northside Independent School District explains our crisis very well. As I’ve heard our very own Dr. Sconzo tout it often. This, of course, was taken from the Humble ISD’s website.

Posted in In-the-news | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »