Thursday, October 4, 2018

RISD TRE Information Meeting at BHS

The Richardson ISD held another of many information meetings about the upcoming Tax Ratification Election. The meeting was held at Berkner High School. I was there live-tweeting the show. What follows are my tweets, with only the most cursory proofreading. If I heard wrong or garbled what I heard, that's on me. Don't blame the RISD without checking your own sources first. Here, you get what you pay for.

  • Woman walks in late carrying a large "Vote NO" yard sign. Then she walks out the front, with a smirk, holding the sign up for all to see. Smooth.
  • Not quite synonyms. When you mean to say "duplication" but instead say "Questions will be screened for duplicity."
  • Q. Are you positive the 65+ tax freeze applies to this TRE?
    A. Yes.
  • Q. Can the 65+ tax freeze be passed on to a new homeowner?
    A. No.
  • Q. What accounts for increases in expenses over the last five years?
    A. Increasing enrollments, staff raises and other investments in instruction in our classrooms.
  • Q. Why not spread out the tax increase over several years?
    A. RISD didn't want to raise taxes this year, then come back next year and raise them again.
  • Q. When will RISD meet its goal to have every student perform at grade level?
    A. It's a four year goal.
  • Q. Is there a correlation between investments and student outcomes?
    A. Yes. (I didn't catch what evidence was cited. My bad.)
  • Q. Why do we need an assistant principal for additional security?
    A. Backup, specialized training, and there's always useful and needed work when security needs are met.
  • Q. Are budget forecasts for next five years realistic?
    A. RISD believes so. It's based on enrollment growth, inflation, and expected new educational programs. We still need a legislative fix to school finance.
  • Q. Why budget for 2% inflation when inflation this year is 2.7%?
    A. If inflation is higher than 2%, budget will have to reflect that. For now, RISD believes 2% is a conservative estimate.
  • Q. Why doesn't RISD budget more conservatively?
    A. Budgets are conservative and needed. RISD doesn't have the luxury to leave money on the table.
  • Q. Why do high schools need so many assistant principals?
    A. Instructional support, discipline, parental communications, safety, supervising extracurricular activities, etc., etc.
  • Q. What is superintendent's raise going to be?
    A. 2.5% just like all the teachers. For all, it's only if the TRE passes.
  • Q. How do you explain teacher turnover?
    A. There are a lot of different reasons. RISD did "stay interviews." Teachers want more time, more special education staffing, and higher pay. TRE will help, directly or indirectly, with all three.
  • Q. Why build the indoor practice fields?
    A. They were part of the 2016 bond election. RISD is carrying out the voters' decision in that vote.
  • Q. Why did RISD build a new operations center (i.e., "bus barn")?
    A. The old operations center on Security Row was out of date. The old bus barn on Greenville Avenue was out of compliance.
  • Q. Why was property on White Rock Trail acquired then sold?
    A. The initial plan was to build a school. Later plan was to expand a school instead, at less cost. Sale of property is in progress, which should allow RISD to recoup purchase price.
  • Q. How do we get the state to provide more funding for schools?
    A. Lobby your state legislators.
  • Q. If state increases funding, will RISD reduce tax rate?
    A. School board can certainly do this and will consider it.
  • Postscript to RISD TRE mtg: I learned something. TRE will raise $30m more revenue. RISD will owe $5m to state in recapture payments. That I knew, but...state allotment will increase $5m so RISD will effectively get to keep all the extra revenue the TRE raises.


Euan said...

The question with regards to the state allotment was asked in the meeting. The $5 million extra is realized at $1.07 in taxation (referred to as golden pennies). From there the recapture kicks in at $1.10 with no increases in state allotment. So while it is true there is more money with more tax, it is maximum at $1.07 and flat from there to the $1.17 the RISD is proposing. That’s the rest of the story.

Abigail said...

Also the CFO clarified that there are exceptions to the over 65 tax freeze, you conveniently left that out.

Mark Steger said...

Euan and Abigail, thanks for the feedback. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't believe either of you pointed out an error in my hearing or in what was said. Euan offered "the rest of the story" and Abigail pointed out that my abbreviated tweet left out some of the answer.

P.S. to commenters: Please supply your first and last name, so readers know who is commenting. Thanks.

Euan said...

Not wrong per se. Unless omitting on purpose. Your last paragraph seems to indicate that you learnt after the meeting that we would get $5 million back. That happened in the meeting with my question, unless you missed it. The RISD confirmed that the max state benefit takes place at $1.07, my point is we didn’t need to go full tilt to get that extra.
What did you think about people not being able to hand out flyers? 1st amendment ?
(Btw, google doesn’t let me use last name, Blackman)