Spring ISD expected to increase taxes

July 7, 2011 3:10:54 PM PDT
A big property tax hike could be coming for those living in the Spring Independent School District. Like districts all across the state, Spring ISD is hurting for money. Now, those who live in its borders could wind up paying more on their property taxes. It's a tough situation, as the school district is getting less money from the state, and as some property values in the area are declining. Put those two factors together, and it means residents are having to pay out more money.

The Ortega family grew up in the Spring school district. But Jennette Ortega isn't sure that her daughter is getting a better education than she did.

She said, "I actually went to Spring, and my brother did as well, and we've always had transportation no matter where we've lived. Now my daughter is the next generation in Spring, and now we're not sure if she'll have the bus transportation."

Spring ISD is cutting bus service to all students living within two miles. But that's not the biggest budget surprise. Homeowners are just beginning to find out that their tax rate is expected to increase 11 cents per $100 valuation.

Spring ISD homeowner Herb Baker said, "I definitely am against it. I think most of the taxpayers out here will be against it."

But Spring ISD, like school districts across the state, says it had little choice. The Republican-controlled legislature slashed $4 billion from public education funding during its most recent session and local school districts must make up the shortfall.

"School finance doesn't look like it's going to get any easier," said Spring ISD spokesperson Karen Garrison. "I would suggest that parents contact their legislators and talk to them, let them know their concerns about the impact."

The school district says the 11 cents tax hike is just an estimate, and that final tax rates won't be set until this fall.

Ortega would like to know why she's paying more for less.

"It doesn't make me happy that I'm going to pay them more and yet they're going to take away the busing," Ortega said.

School bus transportation is not the only item that's expected to change for Spring ISD and school districts across the state. When students return to school this fall, classroom sizes are expected to be larger in the wake of eliminated teaching positions.


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