Dustin Marshall

If you were hoping to meet new District 2 DISD trustee Dustin Marshall next Thursday, you’ll have to wait. After he planned the meet-and-greet with constituents, the district scheduled its own meeting asking board members to approve a tax ratification election this November that would secure a 13-cent tax hike, bringing in around $100 million to Dallas public schools.

Of that, around $40 million would go toward expanding the district’s early education efforts, by providing additional resources for teachers and day-long prekindergarten for 3 year olds. Another $32 million is slated for expanding the popular efforts to allow students to earn up to 60 hours of college-level credit while still in high school, which is already in place at seven DISD schools including Thomas Jefferson High School in our neighborhood. The remaining $32 million is earmarked for teacher advancement via the Accelerating Campus Excellence program, which pays high-performing teachers and administrators bonuses if they work at low-performing DISD campuses.

“I haven’t yet made a firm decision on how I will vote as I am still gathering input from the administration and from the community,” Marshall says. “That said, I am strongly in favor of all three of the programs the [tax ratification election] would fund if it was put on the ballot and were to pass in November.”

To get the funds, the district must get voter approval to raise the current maintenance tax rate from $1.04 to $1.17, permanently increasing the state’s cap for operations taxes. It was last increased a decade ago in Dallas, and such tax ratification elections have been popular recently around the metroplex, with similar measures passed in Irving, Grand Prairie and Frisco. District officials told the Dallas Morning News the measure was necessary to prepare for the future, since Dallas’ rising property values means the district will likely get less state and federal reimbursement in the coming years.

The board is coming off a recent successful election in which voters approved a $1.6 billion bond last November that will fund infrastructure and program improvements at campuses all over Dallas.

Six DISD board members would need to approve of the newly proposed tax hike for it to make the ballot this November. They will vote during a special meeting on Thursday, Aug. 18, at 5:30 p.m. in the board room at the district’s headquarters at 3700 Ross Ave.

Those still hoping to chat with Marshall can attend his final meet-and-greet of the summer on Sept. 2 from 9-11 a.m. at Buzzbrew, 5815 Live Oak, in East Dallas.

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