On the November 8 Ballot: School Trustees, a Race for State Rep, Constitutional Amendments, Local Bonds and Tax Rates

On Tuesday, November 8, many Texans will find local matters as well as ten state constitutional amendments on their ballot.

School trustees will be chosen by voters in Houston ISD, the state’s largest school district, and other locales, including Cy-Fair, North Forest, and Alief ISDs in the greater Houston area. In Bryan/College Station, voters filling a vacancy in Texas House District 14 have a chance to vote for Judy LeUnes, a teacher and community activist who has based her candidacy on supporting public education and repairing the damage done by the 2011 legislature. LeUnes has the endorsement of Texas AFT in this five-candidate race.

Voters in 24 school districts will vote on school bonds. In 13 districts, voters will be deciding Tuesday whether to make up for cuts in state school aid by raising their local property taxes. Those 13 districts (as listed on the texasisd.com Web site) are:  Culberson County-Allamore ISD, Newton ISD, Woden ISD, Dripping Springs ISD, Cedar Hill ISD, Hutto ISD, Nixon Smiley CISD, Weslaco ISD, Premont ISD, Diboll ISD, Brooksmith ISD, Sheldon ISD, and Queen City ISD.

For those who missed our October 24 cheat sheet on the constitutional amendments, here’s a repeat:

The Hotline has previously reported on the problematic Proposition 6, authorizing increased withdrawals from the state trust fund for the public schools, the Permanent School Fund.  (See https://www.texasaft.org/?p=1349 for our explanation of how the ballot language for Proposition 6 fails to tell the whole story behind this amendment.)

For further guidance on the ten ballot propositions, we commend to your attention the recommendations (see below) of the Texas AFL-CIO executive board, on which Texas AFT and its local affiliates have substantial representation. (For the Texas AFL-CIO to take a position for or against an amendment requires a two-thirds vote of the executive board.)

Here are those recommendations:

Proposition 1 (Property Exemptions for Surviving Spouses of Disabled Veterans) – Yes

Proposition 2 (Water Development Fund Bonds) – Yes

Proposition 3 (Bonds to Finance Educational Loans) – Yes

Proposition 4 (County Bonds for “Unproductive, Underdeveloped or Blighted” Areas) – No recommendation

Proposition 5 (Interlocal Contracts Between Cities and Counties) – Yes

Proposition 6 (Increases Amount of Principal Withdrawn From Permanent School Fund) – No

Proposition 7 (Authorizes El Paso County to Create Conservation and Reclamation Districts) – No recommendation

Proposition 8 (Taxation of Open Space Land Devoted to Water Stewardship) – No recommendation

Proposition 9 (Authorizes Governor to Pardon Persons Who Complete Deferred Adjudication) – Yes

Proposition 10 (Extends Length of Unexpired Term Triggering Automatic Resignation When Certain Officials Announce for Other Offices) – Yes

If you would like to take an in-depth look at the pros and cons of all ten constitutional amendments before you vote, we encourage you to check out the report of the Texas House Research Organization at:  http://www.hro.house.state.tx.us/pdf/focus/amend82.pdf.