North Texas parents and educators who support public schools won some significant battles in Tuesday night's elections.
Voters in Dallas ISD, Richardson ISD and Frisco ISD approved tax proposals that give more money to schools. In area state house races, two Republican incumbents who were proponents of a controversial school voucher system got voted out of office.
Republicans Konni Burton of Colleyville and Don Huffines of Dallas both lost their seats to Democratic challengers who campaigned on stronger support of public schools. Burton and Huffines both advocated for a program that would’ve taken public dollars and given them to private schools.
“Until we fix the underlying school funding for public schools, it doesn't make sense to pull funding from public education when it remains broken and send those funds to private school with no accountability,” said Richardson ISD School Board President Justin Bono.
Bono was also encouraged by the passage of a tax ratification which will generate nearly $25 million additional dollars a year for the district.
“If the TRE did not pass we were looking at a $10-12 million annual deficit in our budget that we would have to close with budget cuts,” Bono said.
Similar TRE's also passed in Dallas and Frisco, but Frisco's tax swap will not raise taxes. About 70 percent of the school tax ratifications put before voters over about the last decade have passed in Texas.
“Parents understand Texas is a low tax state, but they are nervous about the fact Texas is 38th or 39th out of 50 states in per capita student funding,” said Cal Jillson, SMU political science professor.
But despite Democratic gains, Jillson said Republicans are still solidly in control in Austin, which means reform to the often criticized Robin Hood funding system may still not happen.