Conroe ISD Board of Trustees blindly passes huge tax increase for 2021-2022 year by unanimous vote without review of budget detail

Seven raised hands reflected the Conroe Independent School District’s Board of Trustees blind approval of a $596.12 Million budget and giant tax increase for the 2021-2022 year at the August 17, 2021, Board meeting.

The Golden Hammer Staff Reports

Conroe, September 13 – The Conroe Independent School District’s (CISD) Board of Trustees blindly approved a huge tax increase as well as an enormous spending increase for the 2021-2022 year. The tax increase was 2.3% over the No New Revenue Rate of 1.1496 per $100 valuation, which Montgomery County Tax Assessor-Collector Tammy McRae had certified. The CISD Board approved spending $596,120,000, more than half a billion dollar budget, which merely consisted of a brief one-page spending summary (shown directly bel0w).

This single page contains the entire level of detail the CISD Board of Trustees will review before passing a $600 million annual budget. Source: CISD.

The CISD Board failed to examine individual department budgets, spending calculations, any sort of zero-based budgeting analysis, or even the validity of any of the numbers the school district administration spoon-fed to them. Instead, they blindly followed and accepted the budget the administration told them to accept.

CISD clearly has a spending control problem, because the massive expenditure increases, which the lazy Board approved do not even include $64.7 million in federal stimulus funds, $52.2 million of which has no conditions or strings on it at all. Furthermore, CISD received an increase in $3.67 million in funding from the State of Texas. Even with those massive inputs of extra money, the tax-hungry school district still adopted the huge tax increase, despite the struggle local families and businesses are experiencing as a result of government shutdowns and the terrible economy during the COVID-19 scare.

In an August 30 press release, CISD attempted to mislead the public by bragging that the school district had lowered the tax rate. The district, however, failed to disclose that property tax valuations increased by more than 7%, as a result of CISD’s control of the Montgomery Central Appraisal District’s policy-making Board of Directors, which urged the valuation increases at the school district’s behest. CISD actually increase its taxation substantially above the No New Revenue Rate, or effective tax rate, from the previous year.

By shifting adoption of the budget to the end of a very lengthy meeting, which primarily concerned, whether public schools should mandate the wearing of masks, CISD ably deterred citizens from participating in the public comment portion of the hearing to adopt the budget and tax increase.

CISD School Board President Skeeter Hubert admitted right before the vote that adoption of the budget and tax rate “is one of the main reasons we’re elected to serve on this Board.” Nevertheless, neither Hubert nor any Board member took any action other than passively accepting the administration’s brief budget presentation and approving it.

CISD Trustee Dale Inman had previously assured citizens he would vote against the budget. He succumbed to momentary Board peer pressure and voted for the tax increase instead.

 

 

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