School districts across the Lone Star State are gearing up to ask taxpayers to approve hundreds of millions of dollars in bond proposals.
Despite a pandemic and economic downturn, districts are asking voters to sign off on loans that will only add to considerable debt. Katy ISD, for example, wants bond money for new facilities and renovations. However, the district's principal outstanding debt was over 1.7 billion dollars for the fiscal year 2019.
“We have a lot of school districts who have multi-million dollar high school football stadiums and Taj Mahal facilities financed by debt,” James Quintero, with the Texas Public Policy Foundation, said. “So, we need to completely reevaluate how and why our school districts are going into debt.”
He notes how state relief funds and property tax revenue have helped many districts relatively strong amid the downturn, while private businesses are struggling.
“If we don’t control school district spending, then we’re never going to be able to get a handle on the property tax problem that faces too many of us here in Texas,” Quintero explained.