School Bond Elections: If at First You Don’t Succeed – Ask, Ask Again (Audio)

School bond elections were the topic this morning on Talk 1370 AM Austin when Lou Ann Anderson joined Cardle & Woolley host Lynn Woolley and guest host Matt Mackowiak.

As the May 7 election approaches, it’s local government bond season. With November 2021 far from a stellar showing for the passage of new bonds (particularly school bonds as more than half of proposals were defeated), are voters tired from the never-ending stream of “asks”?

And it’s not to say these same voters haven’t been generous. After all, fiscal year 2021 brought Texas to $389.7 billion in local government debt (up $14 billion from FY 2020) with school districts accounting for close to 40% of all local government debt outstanding.

But nonetheless, ISDs are back asking for more and with sense of a mood change, their creative – even “artful” – efforts were part of this morning’s discussion.

Austin’s South by Southwest event is currently underway and, within its SXSW Edu offering, hosted a panel entitled The Art & Science Behind Passing a Bond Election. Major kudos to Erin Anderson at Texas Scorecard for alerting us to this eye-opening session.

Missing from the SXSW presentation were the always present smiles and happy talk of school administrators and other ISD “friends” pitching school bond proposals to their local voters. This is a behind-the-scenes look at the “hardball” school districts are prepared to play when seeking new taxpayer dollars.

Check out the clip below to learn more about existing local government debt and the strategies your local school district is being coached to incorporate in this and future bond elections.

Lou Ann Anderson worked in central Texas talk radio as both a host and producer and currently hosts Political Pursuits: The Podcast. Her tenure as Watchdog Wire–Texas editor involved covering state news and coordinating the site’s citizen journalist network. As a past Policy Analyst with Americans for Prosperity–Texas, Lou Ann wrote and spoke on a variety of issues including the growing issue of probate abuse in which wills, trusts, guardianships and powers of attorney are used to loot assets from intended heirs or beneficiaries.

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