This Saturday, Wichita Falls residents who live in and pay taxes to the Wichita Falls ISD will be asked to go to the polls and vote on a tax proposal that has been labeled ‘Swap & Drop’.

I know there's some very negative information out there about this proposal. If the Swap & Drop were a horrible idea, believe me I would tell you so. And, I would be the most vocal opponent they’d have. After all, if you’ve listened to five minutes of my show, you know I’m anything but shy.  Swap & Drop is actually noting more than a change in an accounting procedure and one that actually makes sense.

I’m a fiscal conservative. I believe government should be as lean as possible. But I’m also pragmatic. We have to do things that make sense, that work within the legal framework we have. There are rules that have been established. We levy taxes to fund government services and public education. I’m fine with people who disagree with Swap & Drop, but they stand in opposition and offer no alternatives that even make sense. Here’s what Swap & Drop is all about:

The WFISD operates from two tax funds: maintenance & operations (M&O) and interest & sinking (I & S). The M&O fund can be used to pay salaries, maintenance and repairs to facilities, etc..,. The I & S fund can ONLY be used to pay bond debt obligations and nothing more. This is how school districts across Texas are funded; it’s nothing unique to Wichita Falls.  The idea is to swap I & S for additional M & O. Currently, I & S is being used to pay off the CTE center facility. We have 15 years left on that ‘note’. If you vote yes and approve the ‘swap’, the WFISD will raise the M&O rate from $1.04 to $1.17, drop the interest and sinking fund tax rate from .18 cents to 0. This will drop the current total rate from $1.22 to $1.17, a net DECREASE of .05 cents. An additional $1.4 million dollars in revenue will be generated, as well, from the state. The bond debt currently owed will be paid from M & O. Like I said, it’s an accounting procedure, but one that requires our o.k. as taxpayers and voters to move forward.

The vote no crowd insists the WFISD board will come back and raise the I & S in the near future, arbitrarily and can do so without your vote. While it’s true they could raise it again, the only circumstance under which they might do so is if a bond issue, such as the one you will see on the ballot in November, is passed. Aside from that, the rate should not go back up. I get it. Lot’s of people have trust issues with elected officials. We’ve been lied to, mislead, deceived and manipulated plenty by Washington and Austin. These seven individuals live around you and I in this community. They have to sit next to you in restaurants, stand in line with you at the grocery store, or even sit behind you in a pew at church.

I can confirm three facts for you about your local school board. Number one, they know they are under a bigger microscope than ever before. More of you are paying attention to what’s happening than ever before. Number two, they are not suicidal, meaning, they aren’t going to do something that is guaranteed to irreversibly anger you. They get the climate.  Third, these people gain nothing personally from raising your (and their own, by the way), taxes. They aren’t getting a commission or a salary. Serving on the school board is basically a volunteer position. You are paid nothing for this elected position.

I’ve critically examined the proposal, looked at other districts who’ve already made this move and came to the conclusion that it’s a good move. Vote YES on Swap & Drop this Saturday.  Polling locations are listed below.

 

  • Faith Baptist Family Life Center—3001 Southwest Pkwy.
  • Faith Lodge #1158—3503 Kemp Blvd
  • First Christian Church—3701 Taft Blvd
  • Floral Heights United Methodist Church—214 10th St
  • Legacy Church of God—1420 TX-11 Loop
  • Martin Luther King Center—1100 Smith
  • New Hope Presbyterian—2201 Speedway Ave
  • Region IX Education Center—301 Loop 11
  • Tenth & Broad Church of Christ—1319 10th St
  • Texas Highway Dept.—1601 Southwest Pkwy
  • Western Hills Baptist—5107 Ridgecrest Dr