Monday marks the beginning of early voting for the Nov. 7 election.
With significant state and local issues to be decided by this year’s ballot — including the fate of several bonds and constitutional amendments — this fall’s election is not one you will want to skip.
The Star-Telegram Editorial Board has reviewed the topics on the November ballot and offers the following recommendations.
School bond proposals
Fort Worth ISD Bond and tax ratification election
It’s easy to get sticker shock from the $750 million bond proposed by district officials – indeed, it is the largest in Tarrant County history. But residents should know that they’ll be getting a lot of bang for their buck. The FWISD bond package would address many outstanding needs in the 87,000 student district, including major upgrades for 14 high schools and overcrowding at area campuses, including Tanglewood Elementary. Under Superintendent Kent Scribner’s leadership, the district is seeing improvement in reading and test scores. And while money isn’t the solution to all education needs, the bond package will provide students and teachers with critical resources to help them build on these early successes. District officials insist that soaring property values mean the tax rate will not need to be increased and have instead proposed a tax ratification that would move 2 cents from one tax pool to another to help generate more funds. The Star-Telegram Editorial Board recommends voting yes on both proposals.
Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD Bond
Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD also is asking taxpayers to support a large bond package that school officials say will not impact the tax rate. The district has proposed a $524.7 million bond program to build a fourth high school, purchase land for future schools and pay for a new natatorium in partnership with the YMCA. The areas north of Fort Worth are experiencing tremendous population growth, much of the proposed package is intended to address that and prepare for future needs. The Star-Telegram Editorial Board recommends voting yes on the bond.
Aledo ISD Bond
At $72.9 million, the Aledo ISD bond proposal is more modest than other area districts, but just as needed. If passed, the bond would build a new middle school and convert and intermediate school into an elementary school, as well as build new facilities for the district’s Ag and Career Technical Education programs. The Star-Telegram Editorial Board recommends voting yes on the bond.
Constitutional Amendment Proposals
Proposition 1 would authorize property tax exemptions for certain partially disabled veterans or their surviving spouses if their home was donated by charity for less than market value. The Star-Telegram Editorial Board recommends voting yes.
Proposition 2 would make it easier for Texans to access and borrow against their home equity. The Star-Telegram Editorial Board recommends voting yes.
Proposition 3 would allow unsalaried state appointees who have not been replaced, but whose terms have ended, to serve only until the next legislative session has ended. Currently, governor-appointed members of state boards, such as university boards of regents, can effectively have their service extended without approval if they are not replaced in a timely manner. This amendment would limit the extended service of holdover appointees. The Star-Telegram Editorial Board recommends voting yes.
Proposition 4 would require state courts to notify the state attorney general of any constitutional challenges to state laws. This proposition raises a few eyebrows for the possibility of judicial interference, but the bipartisan support is hard to ignore. The Star-Telegram Editorial Board recommends voting yes.
Proposition 5 would expand the definition of professional sports teams to allow related foundations hold charity raffles. For example, this would allow the Texas Motor Speedway to compete with leagues that include the Cowboys and Rangers when it comes to raffles. This could be very good for Fort Worth. The Star-Telegram Editorial Board recommends voting yes.
Proposition 6 would allow property tax exemptions for surviving spouses of first responders killed in the line of duty. The Star-Telegram Editorial Board recommends voting yes.
Proposition 7 would allow financial institutions to conduct innovative promotional activities to encourage savings. The Star-Telegram Editorial Board recommends voting yes.