Dallas ISD trustees were briefed on a proposed long-term strategy to make Dallas ISD fiscally sustainable and support initiatives proven to boost student achievement.
If approved, a 13-cent Tax Ratification Election would position Dallas ISD for long-term success, district administrators told trustees at an April 12 workshop. A 13-cent Tax Ratification Election would support:
- Attracting and retaining high-quality teachers and staff;
- Ongoing support for building a strong early learning foundation for students;
- Expanding parent and student’s opportunity of public school choice;
- Ensuring racial equity throughout the district;
- Being fiscally prudent in building the district’s assigned fund balance.
If trustees approve bringing a TRE to voters, it would go on the November 2018 general election ballot.
A TRE would bring the tax rate to $1.17 per $100 of property value. This, for example, would translate to about a $20 monthly increase for the owner of a home valued at $184,574.
Dallas ISD Superintendent Michael Hinojosa said the district would face serious budget issues without a TRE. A lower birth rate, increase in charter schools and significant gentrification are expected to continue causing a decrease in enrollment—and funding—for Dallas ISD. Also, the district next school year will hit recapture, meaning it must start sending tens of millions of dollars back to the state under Chapter 41 of the Texas Education Code.
On The Right Path
District officials at Thursday’s meeting noted how Dallas ISD has made significant improvements over the past few years. The gains include:
- A reduction of Improvement Required campuses, from 37 in 2015-16 to less than five expected in 2018-19;
- Early learning enrollment increased from 10,413 in 2015–16 to an estimated 12,930 in 2018–19;
- A reduction in staff turnover, with 1,927 new teachers hired in 2015-16 and an estimated 1,000 new teachers to be hired for 2018-19;
- A significant increase in early college high schools, from three in 2015-16 to 25 in 2018-19.
“We think our district has made a lot of progress over the past few years,” Hinojosa told trustees. “A TRE would bring some much needed stability to support our staff, families, and strategic initiatives that are proven to work.”
If the plan goes forward, trustees would vote in August on whether to bring a TRE before voters in November.