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School tax increases

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Before the really big election on Nov. 4, there are six important elections in local school districts: five of which will increase residents’ total tax bill by 13 cents.

To get a better understanding of what these districts are asking for, read below (and yes, during the worst financial crisis in memory, it would be an understatement to say we don’t support 13-cent tax increases.)

Red Oak ISD

– The only district readjusting their tax rate.

A lower interest and sinking rate (I&S) with a higher maintenance and operation (M&O) rate.

This does not increase the total tax rate, it’s a mere readjustment (there are two tax rates that combine to make one total school tax rate), but ultimately, voters will be paying more to pay off bond debt.

Italy ISD – Wants more money for technology upgrades, teacher pay raises, added fuel costs and funds to cover air conditioning work.

If it weren’t for the fact that three of these items could be furnished in a bond election, we might be inclined to support it.

But, this isn’t a bond election, this is a 13-cent tax increase election.

Palmer ISD – One of the best superintendents in the county works for this district, but asking for a 13-cent tax hike in the middle of a worsening economy is like asking an alcoholic to a cocktail party.

Pay raises and building renovations are in the works if PISD’s tax hike passes.

Avalon ISD

– Tiny Avalon, which is situated on the southern-most part of our county, actually receives a majority of its budget money from the state for Texas’ redistribution of property tax wealth plan known as Robin Hood.

Still, those in that part of the county are struggling to make ends meet as it is.

Best Southwest

– Duncanville and Cedar Hill are asking its residents for 13-cent tax hikes as well, but on Tuesday, Oct. 7.

Opposition is growing, however. Even the U.S. Justice Department is getting involved in the DISD election (apparently it’s just not ethical to hold ballot boxes at schools; might be susceptible to "electioneering") and Ellis County’s Taxpayers Alliance for Good Government is helping with block-walking and sign-making. DISD’s only conservative, Cindy Werner, voted against proposing this tax hike (she’s also a staunch Republican), and as a result, her tires have been slashed, threatening phone calls have been made to both her and her teenage daughter and colleagues even proposed helping fund her GOP effort for the state board of education seat she’s seeking if she’d just leave.

With bailouts and gasoline shortages, it’s very crucial that as many people become at least aware of the tax increase elections, and vote their pocketbooks.


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