Attention Keller ISD Taxpayers!
The Keller ISD is at it again, so hold on to your checkbooks. The Keller ISD Board of Trustees is proposing a Tax Ratification Election (TRE), probably to be held in September. The last time this was attempted, was in June of 2011. Grassroots activists organized opposition to it back then, and voters overwhelmingly said NO to that proposal. We need to do it again, and we’re calling on all KISD taxpayers to help. This time – they have a clever marketing plan for their proposal called “Swap and Drop” (more about that later). AND…. They are using YOUR tax dollars on this marketing campaign, to persuade YOU to increase YOUR property taxes! Let’s not allow them to do that, OK?
School District property taxes have 2 components:
- The Maintenance & Operations (M&O) portion which funds day to day operating expenses
- The Interest & Sinking (I&S) portion which pays down debt.
There are State regulations in place regarding the M&O rate, and KISD is already at the maximum rate, so raising the M&O would require voter approval. When property values rise – State funding to the district is decreased, so the district does not see additional revenue to this fund from increased values. (an issue that needs to be addressed with the legislature).
The I&S portion, however, is not limited, and as rates remain constant, and values go up - revenue to the I&S fund goes up too. The I&S funds are meant to pay down bond debt. Bonds are supposed to be paid down over time (like your mortgage), so we would expect that with values rising, and what the district calls “fiscally responsible re-financing”, the I&S rate should go down.
The “Swap & Drop” plan proposes to
- DECREASE the I&S rate by 14 cents
- INCREASE the M&O by 13 cents
The result is a net overall reduction of 1 cent. Doing this will raise an additional $19 million in revenue to the M&O fund, which they can then use for anything they need (including debt repayment). They can also continue to propose bonds which will increase the debt payment portion of the tax. And voters happily vote for most every school bond that comes along!
We’ve all been demanding property tax reform, but this is not reform. The Swap & Drop is campaign is more like a bait & switch. “We’ll give you 14 hamburgers tomorrow, for 13 hamburgers today.” Popeye’s friend would be proud.
What can YOU do about it?
- Attend the Town Hall they are holding on the issue – Tuesday, Mar. 20, 6:00 pm at Keller High School
- Contact every member of the KISD board, and Superintendent Westfall, to let them know that you oppose this plan and intend to vote NO if a TRE is held. They have not yet pulled the trigger on holding the election, so we can save the district some money if we convince them not to hold an election for an issue that will be defeated.
- Share your objections on social media wherever possible.
- Encourage your City Council members to publicly oppose the TRE
We need all KISD hands on deck for this, and even if you don’t live in the district, you should help, because if KISD is able to do this now, other districts will do it in the future. Please join me at the Town Hall on the 20th!
Contact Information for Board Members can be found at:
Fran Rhodes, VP & Citizen Advocate Coordinator
NE Tarrant Tea Party