A year ago my high school was taken over by the state as a failing school. When I graduated, the school had a 95 percent graduation rate with most students continuing to college. That rate had fallen to 80 percent, which made it a failing school.
Of course, my high school wasn’t in Texas.
Here in Texas, an 80 percent graduation rate would get the school an exemplary rating.
Proposition 1 on the ballot this November would increase the homestead exemption for school district property taxes from $15,000 to $25,000. Homeowners over the age of 65 or with disabilities would receive an extra $10,000 exemption.
According to the Center for Public Policy Priorities, that would reduce property taxes in the state by an average of $125. In the current two-year budget cycle, Texas schools would lose $1.2 billion. That’s after the legislature failed to restore funding to 2011 levels when the school budget was severely slashed.
But this amendment to the state constitution would replace that money from the general fund. So there would be $1.2 billion taken out of other state services.
So it’s not just to hell with our kids, because they’re just not worth it. It’s to hell with higher education. To hell with mammograms. To hell with roads. To hell with just about anything else that’s already poorly funded in this state.
But don’t worry. As long as we have our priorities in order, there’s Proposition 7, because we know what’s important.
Prop 7 would reduce the general fund — you know, that fund that’s going to now fund education — by $5 billion, in order to fund highways.
Yes, we need roads. Yes, we need good public schools. But, yes, we need to pay for them.
I’m not going to begin to ramble on about graduation rates vs. incarceration rates and the costs of each. Let me be blunt. If you believe $125 in your pocket once a year is worth more than a growing and vibrant economy that’s so closely linked to having good schools, then vote for the crap that came out of the Legislature.