Guest Editorial, by Kelli Cook: Magnolia ISD wants to play with your money

Renowned rancher, political leader, policy wonk, and Gulf Coast Region Chair for the Campaign for Liberty Kelli Cook.

Kelli Cook, Guest Editorialist

The Magnolia Independent School District wants to raise your property tax rate in a surprise August 14 election.

While you were enjoying summer with the kids, the Magnolia ISD School Board was sneaking around finding a way to raise your property tax bill and hoping we wouldn’t catch them. 

The government employees on the receiving end of this summertime tax heist have already been prepped. They know when, where, and how they are going to vote. Do you?

Magnolia ISD officials are blaming the state for their financial woes. 

But Magnolia residents already pay as much as 67% of their tax bill to the schools. Magnolia ISD doesn’t have a revenue problem — they have a spending problem! Just drive by the 6 MILLION dollar event center that they built that will house no teacher, no students, and no staff. They built it to compete with private event centers in the area.


They have racked up 313 million dollars of debt! 
And now the school district is trying to use an underhanded accounting trick called the “penny swap,” where they fiddle with moving pennies around from one rate to the other. . . 

. . . This is just doublespeak for a tax hike they claim will save you money. They are hiding the fact they plan on  adding those pennies right back where they borrowed them from without voter approval.

Magnolia ISD is expecting the taxpayers to provide a 4% raise to the teachers who are already getting paid more than the state average.

Many Magnolia residents are struggling to keep a roof over their heads and to put food on the table. By the schools’ own standard, 40% of the residents are economically disadvantaged.

We can’t afford a bigger tax bill year after year. 

Unlike a bond election that is supposed to eventually get paid off, a tax ratification election is a permanent tax rate hike that will never go back down.

It is also a blank check to spend your hard-earned money on whatever they want. Magnolia ISD Superintendent Todd Stephens makes more than the Governor of Texas, so do three of his underlings. There are over 20 administrators in the Magnolia ISD who make over $100,000 a year. If the teachers need a pay raise, they need to consider reevaluating the pay scale for the staff that don’t teach.
Tell Magnolia ISD school board members they need to be offering spending and tax REDUCTIONS instead of permanent tax rate increases. If you don’t tell them NO now by voting against the tax increase, you may not get another chance to rein in their spending. 
Early Voting continues this week from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday, August 6, through Friday, August 10, at Magnolia High School (14350 FM 1488, Magnolia) and Magnolia West High School (42202 FM 1774, Magnolia). Election Day voting is on Tuesday, August 14, 2018, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., at odd voting locations shown in the photograph immediately below.
Flyer showing voting dates, times, and locations for the Magnolia ISD tax hike referendum.

 
The voting locations appear purposefully obtuse to prevent non-school district employees from voting.

Meet the people responsible for this tax hike proposal, Magnolia ISD board members: 

Kelly McDonald 
Sonja Ebel 
Gary Blizzard 
Kristi Baker 
Joe Duncan 
Travis Moffat 
Chuck Addox 

Don’t be fooled by their slick double talk. Demand they offer spending and tax REDUCTIONS instead of permanent tax rate increases. Vote NO on August 14!

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