HISD pushes tax increase; Bramanti highlights fun HISD spending

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HISD has begun laying the groundwork for a tax increase. Here’s a snippet from KTRK’s story last night:

There’s a possibility HISD will raise your taxes.

The district has laid off hundreds of teachers. It’s closing and consolidating some schools and now the district may raise its tax rate. HISD is still trying to make up for a $60 million shortfall in next year’s budget.

[snip]

Most HISD board member say raising taxes is a likely scenario since most are reluctant to make further budget cuts.

“I believe it’s something we seriously have to entertain because it’s such a significant shortfall and I believe people would be so surprised by the devastating cuts if we have to take cuts further,” said HISD Trustee Juliette Stipeche.

Apparently HISD Trustee Juliette Stipeche is not following Matt Bramanti on twitter. Bramanti fairly regularly examines the HISD check register. Here are the interesting expenditures he posted this week from HISD’s obviously “bare bones” operation:

Tweet 1: This week’s @HoustonISD checks include: $5,700 Schlitterbahn; $3,500 Hard Rock Cafe; $15,000 Four Seasons; $6,100 Kemah Boardwalk. #fun

Tweet 2: More @HoustonISD spending: $1,100 Demeris BBQ; $1,400 Teotihuacan Mexican Cafe; $1,700 Alonti Cafe; $2,900 Don Carlos. All in one day, 5/24.

UPDATE (06/23/2011) – HISD senior manager of media relations Jason Spencer sent us the following note, with his permission to post below:

The first point I would make is that none of the expenses listed in these two Tweets were the result of central office spending. Next to each item, we have listed the revenue source. Those that begin with TA2 are funded by “school activity funds.” This is not taxpayer money. School activity funds come from class fund raisers (such as car washes and bake sales), student out-of-pocket money (prom tickets, for example), or vending machine profits. The Four Seasons bill, for example, is probably related to a high school prom.

Items that begin with GF1 are funded through campus general fund budgets. This is tax money. These expenditures are for campus staff meeting meals, all from reasonably priced restaurants.

This week’s @HoustonISD checks include: $5,700 Schlitterbahn (TA2-99-203210-068-99-973); $3,500 Hard Rock Caf

Kevin Whited
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