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Vote NO to LISD Tax Increase

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LISD teachers and school level administration are doing an “exemplary” job of educating my children. I experience first-hand the high standards, hard work and dedication that benefit our children. In an effort to keep that standard high and the District “accountable,” I encourage you to vote against the LISD tax increase on the September 14th ballot.

In these poor economic times with record foreclosure rates and trimmed family budgets, the District has no business raising our taxes! The Board and Administration need to work harder to cut expenses and plan better. In recent years, the District’s budget has ballooned to $500 Million dollars! Think of the District as a $500 Million company, one in which we are all stockholders.  Since 2005, the District student enrollment increased 7.04% while administrative head count increased 16.5% and their salaries grew 28.5%. During the same five years, teacher head count grew 10.49% while their salaries DECREASED 14.11%. Yet with all this increased administration, there is no succession plan for retiring Superintendent Dr. Jerry Roy. Why not? As stockholders, shouldn’t we expect better planning from our management team?  This lack of planning now has Dr. Roy as a contract employee until they find a replacement.  What is that contract costing us?

As stockholders, we have seen a huge number of “non-education” building projects. In Flower Mound  this year, Marcus High School has a new multi-million dollar stadium and FMHS has a fancy new “Field House” aka Boys’ Football locker room. This is after new weight rooms were built at the middle schools recently, even though the old ones were fine. The Board and Administration are quick to silence a voter’s (stockholder’s) concern about all this building by saying “This spending was approved by the voters in the 2006 or 2008 bond referendum.” Who among us is still spending money like we did in 2006?  Spending the money on brick and mortar is one thing, but paying the annual interest on those bonds is a whole other issue! In the recently approved LISD budget; “Debt Service” is nearly $90 MILLION, per year!!! That is 18% of the total budget!!! Add on the maintenance and up keep and you have expenses we stockholders are saddled with for many years.  Is this prudent management?

As a stockholder, we should expect LISD leverage all its resources before digging deeper into our pockets. They have resisted tapping their mineral rights and a multi-million dollar reserve account to close the deficit.

They had a blanket mineral lease on all their land which has expired. A renewed lease would provide a huge signing bonus, possibly as much as $6.5 MILLION!! The gas well health concerns are vastly exaggerated and drilling technology allows the well to be a safe distance, further minimizing any remaining health concerns. The natural gas production payments would pay big monthly “dividends.” Best of all, none of this money has to be shared with Austin through Robin Hood. All of it stays right here in the District.

By the Administration’s own admission, the Reserve Fund is earning much smaller returns since market performance and deposit interest rates are dismal. If there was ever a “rainy day” for some of the fund to be spent on, this is it.

I’ll sum it up by saying: Vote “NO” on the LISD property tax increase and encourage the District to use the 28% increased Administrative brain power to come up with better solutions….….Remember, not voting is NOT a NO Vote, it’s a cop-out!

David Johnson
Flower Mound, TX

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