Friday, October 12, 2018

Reason #1: Not "Good" and No Longer "Enough"

The Richardson ISD is asking voters to approve a tax increase. I am voting YES for many, many reasons, but there are some that, all by themselves, are enough to convince me to vote YES.

Reason #1: Not "Good" and No Longer "Enough"

After the Texas Legislature cut $5.4 billion from the public education budget in 2011, more than 600 Texas school districts sued the State of Texas, charging that the State was failing on equity and adequacy grounds to live up to its constitutional duty to provide for an "efficient system of public free schools." The Supreme Court of Texas pretty much agreed with the school districts' statement of the situation, but in its ruling for the State, refused to force the Legislature to remedy the problem, deciding that the current system was barely "good enough" ... for now. In her ruling, Justice Eva Guzman wrote:
Good enough now ... does not mean that the system is good or that it will continue to be enough. Shortfalls in both resources and performance persist in innumerable respects, and a perilously large number of students is in danger of falling further behind.
As could have been predicted, without the courts forcing them to, the Legislature failed to remedy the problem. And, as predicted by Justice Guzman, shortfalls in resources and performance persist and a large number of students are still in danger of falling further behind.

Local school districts cannot wait forever for the state legislature to fulfill its duty. In fact, the current state legislature is not interested in solving the problem. This legislature is led by men like Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick who see school funding not as something to fix, but as something to raid to fund private school vouchers for unaccountable entities.

Raising the local property tax rate is not a first option. But eventually, the time comes when it's the best remaining option. The Texas legislature's inaction (at best) and open hostility to public schools (at worst) dictate that the time has come for local voters to take action themselves. Vote YES on November 6.


Unknown said...

After publicly promising twice (at the YMCA and the Berkner TRE meetings) to get students to grade level in return for the TRE passing, RISD has decided to renege on that commitment. In their FAQs, they've changed the commitment to implementing their Strategic Plan which is really just a feel-good mission statement.

I was going to vote Yes since they have 9% less funds now (when adjusted for inflation) than 10 years ago. However, their lack of commitment to helping the students academically plus handing $8 mm out of the operating budget over because "the coaches want it" changed my mind. That money could have paid back their deficit or given teachers a bonus.

As a result, I am changing my vote to No. I am very sad that helping the students academically is not their first priority. I thought that was the whole point and reason for public education existing.

Mark Steger said...

Comments are welcome, but anonymous comments are not. Unless you are willing to add your name to your words, your comment will be hidden. It will be restored when you do supply your name.

Unknown said...

Making it anonymous wasn't intentional. My name is Marcia Grau and I posted earlier today.

Unknown said...

Actually, I think I figured our how to make it not anonymous. If you would email the text, (so I don't have to think it up again) to, I'll fix it and repost. Thanks.

Brooke Green said...

Marcia, I've sat in numerous meetings with Dr. Stone and the board where they constantly say "All means all" they are highly committed to getting students to grade level. This is why the ACE campuses were created and other innovative ways are being implemented to reach kids where they are. I will be voting yes.

MGrau said...

I hope they follow through on what they told you. My experience is that they are happy to make verbal commitments but not written ones as evidenced by the disparity between their statements in public meeting versus the FAQs posted on their site.

Plus I watched the video of item IIA from the Board of Trustees Dec. 11 meeting which is posted on I was totally shocked by them handing $8 million dollars over to enlarge the scope of the MACs because "the coaches want it". That is a direct quote from the video they recorded and made available on They could have paid off the deficit or given teachers a bonus but athletics was their priority. I do not believe that many students apply to Harvard, Yale, MIT or CalTech because of their athletic prowess. I do believe that having a great academic program would be much more beneficial to RISD than spending money on athletics when the students are not performing at grade level in reading, reading comprehension or math. However, I understand not everyone shares my priorities. I just wish that the people running RISD prioritized academics and teachers.

Mark Steger said...

Reason #2 is now published.