I had the pleasure of attending the China Spring School Board meeting this past Monday night as the Board struggled with its desire to increase teacher and staff salaries, which is desperately needed in order to attract and retain individuals employed in our public school system, balanced by financing those increases by raising property taxes. All of the attendees who registered to speak at the Board meeting strongly supported an increase in teacher salaries, but opposed the property tax increase that the Board was proposing in order to fund those increases. The Board voted unanimously to increase those salaries and increase China Spring property taxes. The meeting was civil and cordial. However, I felt the pain of the homeowners in the room as they learned that the Board’s proposal would increase their property taxes by an average of $500.00 per year. The Board’s proposal of this property tax increase will be on the ballot for China Spring voters on November 8, 2022.
I taught law school and paralegal school at three separate Texas universities. I know how little teachers get paid and how hard they work. My husband and I also own our home and rental properties and have watched our property taxes skyrocket, especially this year. So, I personally see both sides of this issue. However, I think that the problem and the solution to this dilemma lies squarely with the Texas Legislature. Teachers and staff deserve a pay raise. Period. However, we can do this without constantly thinking that the only way to do this is to raise property taxes on homeowners. We simply need to find alternative ways to fund public education in Texas. There are several ways that we could do this. First, for every dollar that goes into Texas public education, the State of Texas contributes .40 cents and our property taxes contribute .60 cents. Why don’t we make this a 50/50 split? This would bring millions of dollars into Texas education without raising property taxes a penny. Also, why don’t we open our electric grid to the other 49 states so that we can sell our excess energy to our neighboring states and rely on them when our grid fails again. We could use those profits to fund Texas public education. Expanding Medicaid would enable us to reduce property taxes because our hospitals would not have to rely on property tax dollars to care for uninsured Texans when they are ill or are injured. Finally, Texas spends $100 million dollars every two years on a program called “Alternatives to Abortion”. Now that abortion is totally illegal in Texas, we need to spend that $100 million educating our children and paying our teachers and staff so that we can attract the best and brightest to teach our next generation. While my opponent has been representing our community in Austin, our property taxes have increased in Texas by $20 billion, just since 2015. It is time for new leadership in Austin for our community. It is time for a leader that strongly agrees that our public school system is underfunded and our teachers are underpaid, but that the solution is finding alternative ways to fund education in Texas besides crippling Texas homeowners with higher and higher property taxes. I applaud the China Spring School Board’s decision to increase teacher pay. I heard the pain in the property owners’ voices as they argued that increasing property taxes would further hurt China Spring’s working families. I am ready to roll my sleeves up for this community in Austin in 2023 and improve our Texas public schools and the salaries for the women and men who work in our public school system by finding alternative ways to fund education in Texas. Please remember to vote on November 8, 2022 for Erin Shank for Texas House of Representatives. We can do this, we must do this, because we absolutely deserve better representation in the Texas House of Representatives. Our teachers, kids and homeowners need a leader with new ideas and a fresh perspective on education in Texas. Published in the Waco Tribune-Herald on 8/21/2022