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Fort Worth Star Telegram Scorches FWISD Board

Big tax increases in a recession: What are Fort Worth, Arlington schools thinking?

In the Coen brothers’ classic film “O Brother, Where Art Thou?,” a character explains his betrayal of the protagonists by announcing: “They got this depression on. I got to do for me and mine.”

Texas’ deep recession is thankfully not a depression, but Tarrant County’s two biggest school districts aren’t looking out for beleaguered taxpayers.

The Fort Worth and Arlington school districts voted recently to seek large property-tax hikes — at a time of high unemployment and ongoing economic uncertainty. If voters agree in November, Fort Worth would raise its rate by 11 cents per $100 of valuation, an astounding 7.5% increase. Arlington is modest only by comparison, asking for an increase of just under 9 cents, or about $163 more a year for an average-value home in the district.

Fort Worth’s board voted, 5-2, to add the election to the already crowded Nov. 3 ballot, with two trustees not present. Arlington’s vote was unanimous.

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