One of the items on last night’s CCISD Board of Trustees agenda was “Consider Scheduling a Public Hearing to Discuss 2019-2020 Budget and Proposed Tax Rate.”
The good news is, the agenda item clearly states when the hearing is. Mark your calendars and hire your sitters now, folks: the Board of Trustees will schedule a public hearing for Monday, August 26 at 6 p.m. That’s during the regular Board of Trustees meeting, so it’s worth it to help pack the seats, and maybe even sign up for a one-minute speaking slot.
The even better news is, Assistant Superintendent Paul McLarty is recommending a lower tax rate for the 2019-2020 school year ($0.97/$100 for 2019-2020, versus $1.06/$100 for 2018-2019 for maintenance and operations).
But the bad news? We’re wondering when the budget will be presented for public review. The public hearing on the budget actually does start at 6 p.m., before the Board goes into closed session. After the public hearing, that’s it. Members of the public can’t voice their concerns.
Last year, the proposed budget was uploaded to CCISD’s website on August 24, 2018. The public hearing was August 27, 2018. Members of the public were treated to as general a budget as possible.
And we already know we can’t trust the majority of the Board of Trustees to question what Mr. McLarty puts in front of them. Trustees Jay Cunningham and Page Rander are on the Board of Trustees Finance Committee, a little bit like putting a couple of foxes in charge of guarding the hen house. Mr. Cunningham has an MBA but can’t figure out how to operate a tape recorder; Ms. Rander works in human resources. Neither of them are known for asking the hard questions. Trustee Jennifer Broddle is the alternate, which is worse than putting a pet rock in charge.
So it’s up to us. We need to download that budget as soon as it gets uploaded. We need to take a good, hard look at the 2018-2019 Budget Analysis & Detail and the 2018-2019 Budget Summary and prepare our questions.
But whatever we do, we can’t just look at the three lines CCISD gives us and take it at face value. We owe it to the children and the taxpayers to hold the district accountable, in every sense of the word.