Keller Tax Battle Heading To A Vote

KELLER (CBSDFW.COM) – A tax battle is brewing this week in the Keller Independent School District, pitting education supporters against residents who feel they have no tax dollars left to give.

Voters will decide Saturday on a proposed tax rate increase of just 13 cents, but it would offset $16 million in revenue the district says it needs but isn’t getting from the state.

The battle lines are setting up all over the community.  Large white signs in opposition to the increase are surrounded by smaller blue signs urging support for schools.

Automated calls are going out to resident nightly, and final fund raising efforts and community meetings are planned all week.

From his home Tuesday, Brian Borner said he envisioned high schools looking more like colleges with tiers of students and overworked instructors if the tax doesn’t pass.  His daughter Karen plays in the band, one of the programs that stands to lose at least five positions, alongside at least 29 others that could be cuts from music and the arts.  “That’s what I think these programs do. They help round the student out. They insure that they are successful.”

But residents like Michelle Wood, aren’t ready to pay more and raise the tax rate to the second highest in Tarrant County.  “You get tired of giving more. You get tired of them putting their hand out saying more more more, without stopping. We’re in an economic crunch.”

Wood is acting as treasurer for KISD Families for Fiscal Responsibility.  She said her family is still struggling to overcome job layoffs in the technology industry, and the $260 tax increase that the average $200,000 home would incur was just too much to give.
“Sometimes, you have to say no.”

The group has criticized KISD for some of its building in recent years.  KISD now has 38 campuses, and a new elementary school set to open in the fall is under construction now.
Superintendent James Veitenheimer though said that comes from growth that has seen the student population double in just 10 years.

The lack of money he said is not from overspending, but from a flawed funding model at the state level.  While he couldn’t advocate for the tax, he admitted that its failure would have an effect on the education students receive in what has been a highly regarded district.  “You cannot take 13-17 million dollars out of a school district and add 800 kids and expect it’s going to look anything like it does right now. And that’s the situation we have.”

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  • Keller Tax Battle Heading To A Vote « Fort Worth News Feeds

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  • Keller Tax Battle Heading To A Vote — Me and the Chicks

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  • Frustrated Citizen

    I’m sick and tired of budget deficits! The school district’s financial woes stem from opulence and the misappropriation of tax dollars. The focus is on constructing big beautiful buildings, and not on the educating of the students within. No one can convince me that there is not enough money if it was correctly appropriated. Our elected officials should be good stewards of our money. They should be help accountable for the mess we are in. It is detestible to me that one would try to place conviction on me to pay more. I pay more than a fair amount in taxes. This is simple math, more students = more available funds due to the fact that they come from new families that move into the school district, WHO WILL PAY TAXES AS WELL!!!!

    The problem is not a lack of money, the problem is our elected officials!!!!!!!

  • biastupid

    “…pitting education supporters against residents who feel they have no tax dollars left to give.”

    This article is masquerading as “news reporting”. The bias is evident in the opening statement implying that those who oppose the rate increase are not education supporters. Furthermore, I get tired of the poor arithmetic skills displayed by superintendents and other politicians.

  • muldertx

    Please know the facts and understand how schools are funded. The construction of schools has nothing to do with the operating budget.Keller ISD has already made $16 million worth of cuts including teachers and programs that will not be coming back. The TRE will keel the district from cutting another $13 to $17 million worth of cuts including more teachers and more programs including bus service. It is not Keller ISDs bad spending but the State of Texas cutting $4 billion from education including $29 million to Keller ISD.

  • David Coker

    Those who do not support the tax increase do not support education, or our schools. You do not want it said like that, but it is the fact. Education is supported by tax dollars. Districts that double in size over 10 years need more money. If you do not like the way our schools are being run, get on the board and do something construtive. You can’t just say “I support our schools” and not back it up. Words do not pay the bills. Pony up and support the education of our students.

    • KISD Tax Payer

      Mr Coker,

      You have taken a stance, closed your mind, and made and ignorant comment. Think about it, if a district doubles in size, so does it’s tax revenue. Why is this so hard to understand? I support education! I’m an engineer and I have a 1st and 3rd grader. But this ridiculous spending is out of control and I refuse to continue to support rampant unchecked spending!

      To muldertx,

      The funding does come from our tax dollars. And it is misappropriated. A less ornate building can be built, and the remaining money redistributed towards the actual education!

      The problem is our elected officials and their distribution of funds! They need to be held accoundable and the conviction should be on them!

      • muldertx

        I will check for sure but I believe bond money can not go to the general education fund. As I understand it bond money can be used for renovations or construction of facilities, capital purchases, land. buses, and technology.

  • Hemroidious

    What would Scooby Do?

    • Frustrated Citizen


      good to have some comic relief!

      • Kalie

        I was really confused, and this anwseerd all my questions.

      • jtfqsmhhj

        qUu5vE bpkwgtrzjity

      • qwrans

        Lk3sse iwvdwxoheool

  • KISD Tax Payer


    Perhaps you are right, but that goes in support of my comments about the the misappropriation of funds. The money is not divided as it should be.

    We write checks that we cannot cash, so we obtain unsecured credit. We get to a time at which we are spending more than we are making. At this point, we chose which bills are the most important to us and neglect the others. When does the process stop? When do we learn? When the money stops coming in!!! At this point, we regroup, access our self-imposed financial conundrum, and are forced unto financial maturity.

    If we continue to bail out our elected officials with additional funds, we continue to facilitate a current culture that is self-destructive and will eventually completely topple over.

    Our elected officials have to learn their responsibility of stewardship. There is not enough money in the system becuase of their errant spending and policies!!!

    WE NEED TO FORCE THEM TO STOP, REGROUP, RE-ACCESS, AND ACCEPT ACCOUNTABILITY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    The first step is by telling them we have had enough!

  • David Coker

    School finance is a complicated issue. The state formula for determining how much each district gets is complicated and borders on arbitrary. Keller gets 5,167 per student. Argyle gets 6,312; Grapevine-Colleyville gets 5,696; Carroll gets 6,020; HEB gets 5,425; Lewisville gets 5,839; Denton gets 6,105; Northwest gets 6,819. And, as our property values increase, our target revenue decreases. If we had Northwest ISD’s number, we would get about 40 million more. This “rediculous spending” has already been cut by $16 million. I am not excited about spending more, especially since my children have already graduated, but education is important. Your 1st and 3rd grader deserve a quality school system, whether you want to pay for it or not.

  • A. Barnes

    Dear frustrated citizen:
    In response to your statement: “This is simple math, more students = more available funds due to the fact that they come from new families that move into the school district, WHO WILL PAY TAXES AS WELL!!!! ”
    Please understand that your remarks sound reasonable except for several small details:1.) For the last 2 years 2000 KISD area homes were in foreclosure. That means that taxes are not being paid on those homes. 2;) Keller home values have been lowered for many of our homes. That means the district collects less taxes on those homes. 3.) The district has grown every year by approximately 800-1000 students who add increased demand for revenue.
    It should become clearer that when less money comes in, acccompanied by increased numbers of students placing more demands on existing funds, the math formula changes and more students definitely doesn’t always equate to more money in taxes!
    Can the district benefit from cost cutting measures? Sure, but don’t jump to the conclusion that the KISD need for increased taxes is simply due to too much unnecessary spending. There is a true and explicable reason they need a higher tax rate—add the lower tax monies collected for the last several years to the reduction in state funding and you have the mainreason for the TRE.

    Tax Payer with no children currently in KISD

  • Not had a raise in 3 years

    I’m a new home owner in the KISD, I mean…I’ve been here 7 months and already had to vote to either increase the taxes I pay on my home or not. I have no children and on the surface, it would seem an easy solution. NO CHILDREN=NO TAXES. In my travels I see these massive high school football stadiums all around in the mid cities area (including Keller) and 5 star Fine Arts buildings. I came out of a movie and drove by a stadium last Saturday evening after the day of the vote and saw a massive stadium all lit up with about 50 people in the stands. What gives with that, do we have summer football and how much did that cost to entertain about 50 people? I see rented busses loaded with students going off on some trip or another after school is out…..?? Voting no as i did, does not mean i do not support a good education but i wonder if educator’s and parents have forgotton the basics. In this world of give me more and more, my question is it the educators and parents who expect more, or is it the children just use to getting more?….I don’t believe that school aged children should be out on the golf course learning how to play golf at tax payers expense …..I’ve seen it and had to wait on them and their instructor at local golf courses at 2 in the afternoon. So…if you want me to support increasing MY taxes for YOUR children’s education…then prove to me we are educating them and not just giving them a “good time” in school. Sorry…it’s my hard earned money you are asking for. …i’m just a realpolitik.

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