Watch your school taxes go up next year

September 13, 2018

We wrote about how your EPISD debt service (interest and sinking fund or I&S) rate will have to go up next year in EPISD–some real numbers.

The district wants the voters to approve lowering the I&S rate from 24 cents per hundred to 14 cents per hundred and then adding those 10 cents to the current maintenance and operations rate of $1.07 thus making that rate $1.17 per hundred.

The district knows that they will actually need an I&S rate of 31 cents for 2018-2019.

Some will tell us not to worry because raising the I&S rate from 14 to 31 cents next would trigger a rollback election.


This Texas attorney general opinion tells us that they can raise the rate up to the maximum allowed (50 cents) without triggering a rollback election:

“There is no ceiling or limit on the debt rate for the purposes of the
rollback rate calculation. See TEX. TAX CODE ANN. § 26.08(n)(2)(A)(iv), B(iii) (Vernon SUpp.
2009). Any increases in the adopted debt service rate necessary to pay a school district’s debt
increases the “current debt rate” component of the formula and the combined rollback tax
rate. See id. ; see also COMPTROLLER GUIDE, supra note 6, at 13-14 (“The portion of the overall rate
used to retire debt may rise as high as necessary without triggering the threat of a rollback.”).]]”

They are not telling us the whole story.

We deserve better


False argument

September 12, 2018

We have heard talk around town to the effect that the recall petition (of the mayor) being circulated will not be effective even if the required number of signatures are collected.

The theory is that the petition will not be submitted until after the deadline for placing items on the November election.

The city charter required council to pass a recall ordinance back when the charter was approved by the voters.

Council did pass the recall ordinance (number 008066 ) on June 5, 1984.

It reads:

“If the petition shall be found sufficient, the City Clerk shall submit the petition to the City Council without delay, and the City Council, in the event the officer fails to resign, shall order that the recall election be held at the next permitted election date under the laws of Texas.”

If the petition does not make it in before the cutoff for the November election then it will have to be considered at the next election date.

The next “Texas uniform election date” after the November election  will be the first Saturday in May, 2019.

We deserve better


17 years ago

September 11, 2018

We must never forget the events of September 11, 2001.

There are people out there that want us dead.

Yet we involve ourselves in partisan nonsense instead of uniting against a common enemy.

We deserve better


Straying from their job

September 10, 2018

A local teacher and loyal reader had the note below sent to us.

It is from the national president of the American federation of teachers.


We’re in the middle of the fourth day of the Kavanaugh hearings, and it’s worse than I could have imagined.

At every turn, Republicans have attempted to block the public and Senate Judiciary Committee Democrats viewing essential Kavanaugh records. This is yet another departure from the norms established for reviewing Supreme Court nominations. The lack of disclosure was so bad Sen. Cory Booker took the unprecedented step of releasing some of these records, so we could see that Kavanaugh believes racial profiling might be ok and Roe v. Wade is not settled law. And in response, Republicans threatened to expel Booker from the Senate.

Can you believe that? Booker is working to expose very real threats, but Senate Republicans are so intent on hiding anything damaging to Kavanaugh that they’re willing to try to expel Booker to keep it hidden.

While Senate Democrats are the minority, they rallied to back Booker. Sens. Richard Blumenthal, Chris Coons, Richard Durbin, Dianne Feinstein, Mazie Hirono and Sheldon Whitehouse have all said they’re with Booker and should be expelled too, if the GOP goes that route.

This is a pivotal moment. Everything is on the line, because Kavanaugh’s appointment to the Supreme Court will be for a lifetime. But despite new, damaging evidence, Republicans are moving forward.

Senate Dems need to know we back their efforts to ensure the public understands Kavanaugh’s record. Republicans need to know we want all of these documents to be public and the hearings to be halted until people have time to review them.

So much has come out in the last few days. First, Kavanaugh refused to say if he had discussed the Mueller investigation with the lawyers involved. We already know he would likely decide to protect Trump if he were on the court, and his non-answers yesterday made that even more clear.

Then there’s news that, even though he’s assured senators he respects settled law, in the past he’s said there’s no such thing. That means he’d be willing to overturn things we take for granted—like marriage equality, Roe v. Wade and our right to join a union.

During the questioning, Kavanaugh also refused to say he would uphold protections for people with pre-existing conditions.

And now, it looks like Kavanaugh misled the Senate while under oath in 2006. He told the late Sen. Ted Kennedy that he had no part in a confirmation hearing, but newly released documents contain emails that show he did. Telling the truth to the Senate while under oath is not optional.

Today, one of our members, Melissa Smith, a teacher from Oklahoma, will testify about our concerns over Kavanaugh’s positions on school vouchers, educational equity and privatization of schools.

This hearing, much like so much in the Trump administration, has butted our democracy. The American people need to have faith in the Supreme Court and our justice system, but the Republican Party is undermining that system by playing games with this nomination.

This is a lifetime appointment. Don’t Americans have a right to know Kavanaugh’s views on protecting healthcare and pre-existing conditions? On whether LGBTQ people will still be able to marry the person they love? On protecting the constitutional right to vote? Will this judge follow the constitution and hold the president of the United States accountable, or will he enable the president to be above the law? These are legitimate, nonpartisan questions we need answers to before any vote.

The Senate Democrats are standing up to this absurd process. Please take a moment to thank them, and tell Senate Republicans that this is a disgrace and it’s time to hit pause so the American people can examine Kavanaugh’s records.

In unity,

Randi Weingarten


Many of us would have thought that the president of a national teachers union would work on issues related to education.

We deserve better


Full load

September 9, 2018

Traveling on Mesa at 8 AM the other day I saw a BRIO bus that had it’s marquee set to “FULL LOAD”.

In fact the bus was full.


Off key

September 8, 2018

I heard someone observe the other day that people seem to do a better job singing our national anthem than they do happy birthday.


Good government

September 7, 2018

A loyal reader sent this in:

“…a wise and frugal Government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government…”

            –Thomas Jefferson, 1801

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