Blackshear Neighborhood Resolution
Blackshear Prospect Hills Neighborhood Association President Rudolph C. Williams has sent the following resolution to all the state representatives, senators, and AISD trustees. This is another great example of our neighborhoods coming out to support their schools!
Blackshear Prospect Hills Neighborhood Association
Resolution and Recommendations
Blackshear Prospect Hills N.A. opposes the closure of Blackshear Elementary as well as other neighborhood schools that are viable, and have maintained high standards of achievement.
PROPERTY TAX REFORM
For too long AISD, the County, the City and other local taxing authorities have relied primarily on Homestead Property Tax Appraisals and property taxes on homes as its primary funding mechanism. The large increase in values of Homestead Property Appraisals AND subsequent increases in Homestead Property taxes (especially East Austin) is causing unnecessary harm to the integrity of our neighborhoods, our most vulnerable residents, and our schools. As the burden of Property Taxes increases on our communities, families are forced to move out of the Central City thereby undermining our local schools.
It has been researched and verified that businesses and large tracts of investment property have not been properly assessed by Appraisal Districts including Travis County Appraisal District (TCAD). These properties is not paying their fair share of property taxes. The Texas Association of Appraisal Districts study of 2006 concluded that Texas schools lost $4 billion mostly due to low appraisals of commercial property.
We believe that if properly assessed by TCAD, business property taxes would go a long way towards properly funding our local taxing authorities especially AISD. It is the responsibility of AISD Trustees to demand that TCAD provide an accurate assessment of Business and Investment Property and ensure that they are paying their fair share.
AISD should lobby the legislature for a more effective and fair funding scheme. For years our local Government’s has lobbied the legislature, opposing caps or other limitations on taxing homestead properties to the detriment of the communities it serves. A better funding mechanism should be the primary lobbying effort of AISD and local governments. Robbing our school system to pay for schools in other districts is not a viable funding system for Texas or AISD.
AISD UNDERUTILIZED PROPERTY
AISD has a significant number of underutilized properties that can be sold or rented to supplement funding. Closed schools, land, and buildings in high value locations like the Administration building on west 6th St. should be scrutinized for sale or rental opportunities.
AISD must reassess the need for high paying administrative positions verses the need for teachers and other direct service providers. Retirees should not be “rehires” unless the need is critical. A performance based payment system for teachers as well as incentives to live in the community, and removal of ineffective teachers should be implemented instead of wholesale indiscriminate firings and layoffs
The Relationship between Neighborhoods and our School System
AISD and our other local governments appear to not understand or appreciate the intrinsic value of a viable neighborhood and appear to only value the property we live on. This is a fatal mistake especially for our school system. Property appraisals and taxes are out of control and out of proportion to what people are capable of paying. Forcing families out of the school system through over taxation is killing neighborhoods and closing schools. Allowing Business and Investment Property taxes to be undervalued is unfair at best and harmful to AISD in the long run. AISD and our other local Governments should be working together to lobby for change to the State funding mechanism to one that is fair and allows our taxes to stay in our local Districts. AISD can and should look at underutilized property and bloated Administrative overhead for cuts before firing and laying off teachers and other direct service providers.
We believe these alternatives will provide a more stable funding structure for our school district and allow us to keep our viable and productive neighborhood schools open.
Rudolph C. Williams Blackshear Prospect Hills N.A. President