A recent committee recommendation to the Texas City Independent School District school board to issue a $136 million bond has been accepted by the board and will appear on the ballot in May.
How did we get here, let’s take a look. First, Texas City historically has been considered a property rich district with heavy industry providing plenty of property taxes for education uses. However, since the inception of Robin Hood, the school district has sent $15 million dollars, give or take, to the state coffers annually from 1993 until the present time. This puts the loss of local school funding in the neighborhood of $375 million dollars from 1993 until 2018.
Ever since then, the district has struggled in one way or another to make ends meet. So much so that in 2007 they floated a bond around $126 million for new schools and upgrades. This bond, however, will not be paid off until some time around 2030.
Now it was advised for the local committee at that time, along with their state representatives to go to the state and petition for a moratorium on the Robin Hood tax for 10 years thus allowing the district to build new facilities without the additional burden of a bond. Essentially preventing them from paying twice for the same schools, but no effort was made that we know of.
Now the state of Texas has in their wisdom forced the district to take over the La Marque school district and their dilapidated schools, debt burden and with minimal help from the state. The needs of La Marque and now the Texas City school districts have been compounded by the recent Hurricane Harvey only making matters worse.
So much so that a new bond in the amount of $136 million dollars will be voted on this coming May. And from the previous bond we can only assume this new bond — if passed — will not be paid off until around 2050 or later.
The question is, will the district make a formal request to be relieved of the Robin Hood tax burden and hopefully reduce the need for such a major bond request or possibly eliminating it altogether? What help will our state representatives give the district in this process? Is it fair to ask the citizens of Texas City, who will bare the brunt of the payment burden, to pay for three new schools while only receiving upgrades to one of theirs? Has the district done everything to reduce costs such as eliminating double sports programs such as football, basketball, baseball, etc.? Monies which could be used for teacher pay raises I would think.
The bottom line is the citizenry should most definitely vote no to a new bond if the state doesn’t help to reduce such or eliminate the need altogether.
2050 is a long way off and the question begs to be answered, will the district not need any additional moneys before then?