FORT BEND COUNTY, Texas — Giving teachers raises and stepping up school security were proposals on the ballot for several area school districts.
“It was difficult to sell," Fort Bend American Federation of Teachers President Glenda Guzman Macal said.
After 12 years in the classroom, she leads the teachers’ union. While she supported the voter-approved tax rate election to raise the starting pay for teachers and fund police officers at every campus, she heard from teachers who were for it but also some who were hesitant.
“I think people were tired of just having one more thing taxed, frankly. Inflation has taken a toll on everyone," Guzman Macal said. “Teachers who live in the district and their tax bill was going to increase, it nets about $200 a year and it just wasn’t enough for them.”
The district had already cut $23 million. Now, the superintendent said it will cut an additional $47 million.
“That’s a little challenging. It may have a sting, it truly might, but we will roll up our sleeves, we will work together," FBISD Superintendent Dr. Christie Whitbeck said.
In Katy ISD, the tax rate election was similar. It was designed to fund teacher raises and school safety. In a letter, the superintendent acknowledged they knew it was, “a big ask for our community, particularly during these times of uncertainty as we continue to climb out of a global pandemic and recession.”
Back in Guzman Macal's office, she gets calls from teachers every day. Her biggest concern with the proposals failing is morale.
“We have seasoned teachers who love what they do who are just done. They are done and this is going to push them right over the edge," she said.
There was one district that had some success. Lamar Consolidated ISD had five proposals on the ballot. Three of them passed -- to fund security, technology upgrades and a career center.