Keller, TX recently tried to pass a tax referendum to raise property taxes to cover the impending budget shortfall in their school district. The news was flush with horror stories of how there would be massive layoffs if the referendum didn't pass. It just so happens that Keller's school tax rate is the highest in Tarrant County and one of the highest in the state. Voters said, "Oh hell no." to the referendum. Turns out things aren't as bad as Keller made them look. They managed to save slightly less than half of the positions they said they'd have to cut. Now I'm not saying 122 employees from a district of about 1,000 employees isn't a massive layoff but if you're going to put your nuts up on the table and say "Do this or else..." you lose a ton of credibility if the "or else..." doesn't happen.
While this is good news for the employees who will not be cut, this whole referendum stinks of fear-mongering. The only explanation of additional funding Keller received was "$4.8 million in federal money." Yeah, because districts don't know what federal dollars they'll get beforehand. Look, things are bad for Keller. They are facing layoffs. They are facing a budget crunch. Making things look as bad as possible to get more tax money was entirely unnecessary and will just make it that much harder for school districts to pass similar referendums throughout the state.