Concerns and support from residents over potential Dallas ISD tax hike

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Dozens of parents and citizens on Wednesday voiced their concerns over a proposal to raise taxes in order to bring more money into Dallas ISD.

The superintendent wants to put the potential tax increase on the November ballot and at Bryan Adams High School on Wednesday night, he explained why the district needs more money for its students and teachers.

The Dallas housing market is hot and property values continue to go up, along with property taxes. Despite the increase, DISD Superintendent Michael Hinojosa hopes residents will be willing to pay even more to support teachers and expanding public education.

More than 100 people attended the second of four community meetings on Wednesday.

“Our tax rate has stayed the same. We have not increased the rate until the proposal we have for next year. Unfortunately, our student enrollment has gone down,” Hinojosa.

If the school board gives the Tax Ratification Election, or TRE, the green light to move forward, voters would be asked in November to approve a 13-cent tax increase. For owners of a $250,000 home, that would add up to an additional $325 a year. That equals about $120 million a year for the district.

“I have a concern that more money going to a school district doesn’t automatically equate to better education and benefit for the children,” said resident Larry Wainer

Hinojosa says additional revenue would fund things like merit pay for teachers, early childhood education and district-run choice schools.

He says it's especially important now because Dallas is considered “property wealthy,” which means DISD is subject to the state’s Robin Hood plan — where money is taking from one district and given to another.

Dick Allen has lived in the city of Dallas for most of his life. Even though he doesn’t have any kids in the district, Allen says he would support a tax increase for the sake of educating future generations.

“Taxes don’t really add up to that much when you really stop and realize the amount of taxes compared to spendable income,” Allen said.

The Dallas ISD school board could approve sending the measure to the November ballot at a meeting next week.