By Tim Cannon
On May 16, the KISD School board voted 7-0 to call for an election aimed at increasing your property taxes. The School Board set the date of the election to occur just 5 weeks later, June 18th. Early voting begins on June 6th.
If passed, this will increase the KISD portion of your property taxes over 12%. KISD’s motto? “Whatever It Takes.”
Voting AGAINST this new tax will force KISD to do what millions of Americans across the country have had to do: live within their means. KISD has not done everything it can to lower expenses – a review of the latest check registers confirms that. In addition, KISD has a sizable Fund Balance (effectively a savings account built up by your past tax payments). Voting for this tax increase postpones the tough decisions necessary.
The average cost of this new tax for a KISD resident is hundreds of dollars per year. While that may not be much for some people, others in our community are struggling. In fact, over 200 homes in Keller ISD enter foreclosure proceedings each month. Realtors are already steering new home buyers away from the KISD area. The Board provides plenty of excuses as to why they have to raise more money, but that won’t sway potential home buyers.
The FACT is that KISD will have one of the highest tax rates in the DFW metroplex if this increase passes. Even more worrisome: the school acknowledges that -this- tax increase is just a short term solution.
Several individuals Keller residents and affiliated with two different Tea Party groups `The Boiling Point in Keller’ and ‘North East Tarrant Tea Party’ in Grapevine’ decided enough is enough. Contacted others for organizational help and direction. Giovani Capriglione gave very gracioulsy of his time and expertise. He set up a Facebook page and a Website for coordination in getting out real information. Also organized call lists for Phone bank calling and robo calling. I cannot begin to express how much help he has been in this effort. Also Doug Miller in city council runoff gave much assistance.
We began by calling a meeting at a local restaurant. This was by word of mouth to friends. there were about 25 – 30 at this first meeting. We started an email list with those in attendance. Giovani layed out a plan of action, naming and registering the committee, designating a treasurer, collecting funds for signs, targeted mailings, and targeted calling lists. That first meeting generated a very good start of pledges.
In the following couple of weeks the email list and donations grew. Large banner signs and yard signs with a simple message were printed. And started showing up around town. This ruffled the feathers of KISD admin and teachers. Several members of the group attended the called informational meetings at the school administration building. School board and superintendent had a video presentation of their spiel and then a Q&A. Very short time for the Q&A and very controlled by school administration. There were many teachers there, some whining about possible job loss. They didn’t get any real answers either. The questions concerning spending and finances were given very wordy answers to take up time. The blame was laid off to the State and having to meet requirements.
At the second school board informational meeting we had designed and printed by members a one page flyer. Stating the facts about the tax rate increase and it’s affect on the community. Facebook page and website links were on it. School board really didn’t like us handing out this information.
The teachers union printed signs and they started showing up around town trying to obscure some of our banners. The local paper printed a few letters opposing the tax rate hike, along with their canned school board propaganda. The Fort Worth Star Telegram printed an article promoting the tax hike and belittling those opposed to it. A couple of the local TV stations even reported These events.
Another Facebook page was started by someone for debating the issue. It was up for a few days and the debate was going very strong against the rate hike. Then the page disappeared about the time early voting ended.
The numbers for early voting are higher than normal for this kind of election and timing.
June 14, 2011 at 10:35pm End of early voting.
City of Keller KISD TRE
Doug Miller v Mason School Dist. much larger area than just City of Keller
Total: 3291 Total: 7476
Voters: 25,489 Voters: 81,414
Final totals runoff for city council
Doug Miller 66.28% with 23.48% voting
Rick Mason 33.72%
KellerISD Tax ratification Election
Rejected with 56% of voters 17.44% of registered voting
This was accomplished by a relativly small group of dedicated concerned citizens. This is the first step for local citizens to regain the reins of local politics.
LIKE THE TV SHOW ‘THE A TEAM’ LOVE IT WHEN A PLAN COMES TOGETHER!
KISD FFR was only formed three weeks ago by concerned KISD residents as a grassroots effort and has grown its member base substantially and has decided to remain a force in local elections. We wholeheartedly believe that the election results is the beginning of positive changes in KISD.
Congratulations to the taxpayers and residents of KISD. I hope this demonstrates to everyone that we’re not powerless in determining how our communities are held accountable. When we participate, we can find a way to convince our neighbors of the correctness of fiscal responsibility.