‘Round II’ expected in school bond elections
By 03/27/2003 00:00:00
The Ellis County Press
MIDLOTHIAN - Taxpayers are relishing their victories over the recent bond election defeats in the Waxa-hachie and Midlothian school districts.
But that attention will be short-lived, however, as the two districts will come back to voters with other, albeit scaled-down, bond proposals.
'The district will be required to come back to the community with another bond proposal so that spending money on short-term portables will not continue,' said WISD Communications Director Candace Ahlfinger.
After both districts' bond proposals failed, officials quickly ordered portable classrooms to be placed on crowded campuses.
'Those who voted against this bond issue [need] to step up and explain to us where we are going to put these kids and how we are going to provide quality education to the community,' said MISD trustee Duke Burge recently. 'We need solutions and we need them [fast].'
The timing of the bond pro-
posals is one main reason many believe the packages failed.
'It's becoming more and more unafford-able to live here,' said MISD resident Arthur Nahatis. 'I'm tired of [the MISD] pissing away taxpayer money. It's insane.'
And given the fact the MISD is one of the fastest-growing districts in the state and has the highest tax rate in the county, at $1.72 per $100 of home valuation, residents like Nahatis want to know why the tax rates aren't being lowered.
Officials with the MISD did not return questions seeking comment.
Waxahachie's school district is close behind in high tax rates, charging $1.68 per $100 of valuation - however, that rate will most likely go up when trustees meet to set the budget in October.
The WISD is blaming a loss of state funding for their projected tax rate increase. Adding two cents in the next budget cycle would net them the revenue needed to make up for the shortfall, officials said.
But Superintendent Bobby Parker Jr. and Chief Financial Officer Dan Davis have come under heavy scrutiny for the budget numbers they have presented residents with.
'We just want to know where they're getting their numbers from,' WISD trustee Bill Kelley had said. 'It's just not adding up. We're not getting any answers.'
Residents, though, think the districts should tighten their belts and be more conservative.
'Let them [students] be overcrowded for a year or two, and by that time, the new [residents] should have already been put on the tax rolls,' said Taxpayers Alliance for Good Government member and WISD resident, Marshal Evans.
TAGG will hold a meeting Tuesday, April 1 at 7 p.m. in the Waxahachie Civic Center to discuss the recent bond election defeats and strategize ways to make local school boards more accountable.