Monday, October 17, 2011

#7 HCDE is meeting to raise our taxes!

Warning all Harris County taxpayers:
Harris County Department of Education is trying to raise our taxes. They:
(1) posted notice of a  meeting to be held this Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2011 at 11:30am entitled: "WORKSHOP ON THE EFFECTIVE TAX RATE FOR HCDE."
(2) posted monthly board meeting agenda held at 1:00pm the same day. Item #20 reads:
20. Consider approval of a proposed tax rate of $0.006804, the Effective Tax Rate for 
Our current rate is $0.006581. Their superintendent has been pushing for a tax increase because he insists they need more of our money. His own $188,000 salary provided by taxpayer funds must be causing him to feel great pain in this economy. He lost a vote to raise taxes at their meeting last month when two fiscally liberal board members were absent. But he is bringing it up again this month. 
Meeting will be at :
HCDE Administration
Ronald W. Reagan Building
6300 Irvington Blvd.
Houston, TX 77022
Link to map. 
We need to have a crowd there to let them know we do not want our taxes raised, especially by a school district that has NO students zoned to it anymore.  Their excuse always is that they don't have to tax us very large amounts because they tax everyone in all 26 Harris County School Districts so we should think it is fine for them to keep raising our rates.
Pass this info to all  Harris County  taxpayers.
If you'd like to speak at the board meeting, you must register 30 minutes before (12:30) the meeting. The law does give the public the right to video tape the meeting so bring your phones well charged!!
 The notice is below along with the links to their meeting agenda.
Notice is hereby given that a meeting of the Board of Trustees of Harris County Department of Education will be held on the 18th day of October, 2011 at 11:30 a.m., for the Board to conduct the business of that meeting. The meeting will be held in the Board Room of the Administration Building, 6300 Irvington Boulevard, Houston Texas. Such a meeting is a WORKSHOP ON THE EFFECTIVE TAX RATE FOR HCDE.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

HCDE #6 - Double Taxing Since 1911

In previous posts I have written about how the Harris County Department of Education (HCDE), which opened back in 1889, has continued to collect property taxes in Harris County even after all its students moved away from HCDE and into "Independent School Districts." All other counties in Texas except Harris and Dallas  closed their county school boards decades ago.  A reader asked me to find out how long she had been paying taxes to two school districts - paying for two school boards, two highly paid administrations and two district infrastructures. So I did some research.

I have only had time to research 20 of the 24 Harris County Independent School Districts.  So far, it seems that the taxpayers in Waller ISD have been double taxed the longest - an even 100 years!!!!! According to the Waller ISD district site,
1911 - The Waller Independent School District was formed by election (54  votes for, 7 votes against).
La Porte ISD was not far behind. According to Wikipedia,
La Porte Independent School District was formed in 1916
That leaves the taxpayers of La Porte ISD coming in second paying two school district taxes for 95 years!

June 23, 1931
Map of Harris County School Districts
Made for Harris County School Board
 In the county archives you can find a Harris County School Board Trustee's map from 1931 that shows the "Independent School District" boundaries that already existed at that time. It contains an interesting quote:

  NOTICE:"This map is the property of the County School Trustees of Harris County,
 State of Texas, and is not to be copied for any purpose, and is for the exclusive official
 use of members of the board, and is not to be permitted out of their possession."
                                                                                                                     June 23, 1931 

Sounds like the HCDE board members in 1931 were just like ones today - paranoid that that taxpayers would find out how few schools they operated and would complain about paying for two school districts.
 A quick look at the 20 ISD's tells us just how long taxpayers in each district have been double taxed:

                                                                      # of Years ISD
ISD Formed        School District    + HCDE Taxed                 Source_____
1911                  Waller ISD                                  100  years                          Waller ISD site
1916                  La Porte ISD                                95                                     Wikipedia
1917                  Alief ISD                                      94                                     Alief ISD site
1918                  Katy ISD                                      93                                    Wikipedia on KISD
1923                  Houston ISD                               88                                       HCDE site
1923                  Humble ISD                               88                                       Wikipedia on HISD
1930                  Deer Park ISD                            81                                       DPISD site
Pre-1931           Galena Park ISD                       80                                        Map from 1931
Pre-1931           Aldine ISD                                  80                                        MAP from 1931
Pre-1931           Crosby ISD                                 80                                        Map from 1931
Pre-1931           Goose Creek ISD                        80                                        Map from 1931
Pre-1931           Pasadena ISD                             80                                        Map from 1931
Pre-1931           Spring ISD                                  80                                      Map from 1931
1935                  Channelview ISD                      76                                         
1937                  Pearland ISD                              74                                        Wikipedia on PISD
1938                  Klein ISD                                     73                                       KISD site
1939                  Cy-Fair ISD (CSD)                     72                                         CFISD site
1945                  Spring Branch ISD                   66                                          SBISD by phone
1948                  Clear Creek ISD                         63                                        CCISD by phone

1977                  Stafford MSD broke from Houston ISD and Fort Bend ISD to form the
                            only "municipal school district" currently in Texas.

While researching, I found another fact that was interesting . In 1923 it took  a Special Act of the Texas Legislature, for Harris County District 50 to become the Humble Independent School District. "This gave the (independent) school board more authority, and removed many of the rules imposed by the Harris County School Board." I guess even back then the HCDE Board wouldn't listen to the people and the people had to go over their heads to the state legislature to make the changes needed.

It is remarkable to me that in the past 63 years, the people of Harris County have not been able to elect 7 decent, honest people to the HCDE Board at the same time. 7 board members who would move HCDE's programs where they belong -- to non-profits and Texas Educational Service Centers -- and put an end to this century long double tax burden on the people of Harris County.