With the gun control debate and school security at the forefront of many people's minds, lawmakers in Texas have proposed the Texas School District Safety Act. It would allow local taxpayers to vote for taxes to enhance school security. Under the proposed act local districts would be allowed to create special taxing districts or a dedicated sales tax to pay the costs of added security. Legislators think this would allow local districts more control on how they protect their kids. Parents and school officials in our area say, protecting kids is what matters most.
"None of us want to pay extra in taxes, and I don't know how the state itself could help us but I do know that taxes is one way of taking care of it." Annie Connor is a parent and a teacher at Jefferson ISD. She says schools need more money all the way around and she doesn't want to cut any costs when it comes to protecting her kids.
Marshall ISD Superintendent, Dr. Marc Smith said, "Parents want their kids to be safe, there's no doubt about that. So I think anything that we do to can help improve the safety of our kids and help parents feel comfortable when they're kids come to school, I think they're going to be supportive of that."
Voters would have to approve a special tax in an election. However, before that, voters across Texas would have to approve local school districts having the authority to levy additional taxes. At Marshall ISD, they've already invested into added security but they'd like to do more. "We added some security cameras and we're looking to expand that network so that would be a start for us," Smith said.
Those against the bill say they fear that kids in lower income districts wouldn't be as protected as children from districts with higher incomes.