AISD Bond Election: Loving our Kids to Debt

April 30, 2013

We all love our kids and want what is best for our students.

Educating young Texans is crucial to the state’s continued economic success, but we must ensure costs do not over-burden Texas taxpayers and families and that that debt does not burden today’s students.

We want students to have the opportunity to enjoy the American dream – the debt we leave them limits their opportunities.

Let’s face it – our generation is the first to leave our children and grandchildren in worse shape than we were in.

But debt equates to higher taxes which result in less expendable income.

We often hear that school bond initiatives are “for the children”.  I encourage voters to think in terms of any debt we incur today, we are placing on our children and grandchildren.

  • Local governments in Texas are $324 billion in debt (principal plus interest)
  • According to the TX Comptroller, outstanding debt issued by Texas public schools is mounting faster than the general rate of inflation and the growth of enrollment.
  • School districts have the most debt — $107 billion
  • Debt service payments have increased from 7 percent to 9.8 percent of total school district expenditures, making them the fastest-rising spending category in Texas public education during the past decade.
  • Debt services exceeds enrollment growth in the state.
  • In fiscal 2011, Texas’ $107 billion in school districts debt was over $20,000 per student.
  • In the past decade, when interest rates generally declined, debt service costs were the fastest-growing category of public school spending.
  • In the 2010-11 school year, debt service payments cost Texas school districts more than $5.3 billion, accounting for almost 10 percent of all expenditures.

Let’s look at AISD:

  • Teachers comprise only 52% of the ISD staff
  • And only 49% of the ISD revenue is spent on instruction
  • And the Superintendent – as of TEA’s last listing – is making base salary of over $285,000
  • AISD debt is currently just over $1.1 billion
      • Approximately $751 million in principal and
      • $372 million in interest

    AISD student enrollment has grown 8.9% at under 1% a year over the past 10 years according to TEA:

      • In 2001, enrollment was 77,816;
      • In 2011, enrollment was 85,273

    Yet spending almost doubled – 71.12% increaseFrom $547 million to $936 million

    And the ISD fund balance grew an astounding 117.647% in 10 years.

      • $68 million in 2001 to $148 million in 2001-10

    The bond package proposed would more than double AISD debt.

    Let’s remember the current principal is $750.5 million; This bond package is for over $892 million.

    From looking at the numbers, it is clear that spending is outpacing student enrollment – so taxpayers should beware…

    Here is the bottom line:  We are loving our kids to debt.  And this bond initiative simply sinks them further into debt.

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