DeSoto Residents Push Back on Proposed Tax Increase

DeSoto ISD is taking drastic measure to save cash.

Now board leaders are considering a tax hike. And there's some push-back.

Shirley and Brian Shepler said it's the eighth tax hike they're faced with in eight years.

"The valuation of our house has more than doubled what it was eight years ago," said Desoto homeowner, Brian Shepler.

With that said, he's got one question. "Where is that money going?"

It's a question previous DeSoto ISD leaders left the new regime to answer.

"None of us is satisfied with where we are," said Board President Carl Sherman. "What we do want to communicate is that we expect a new day in Desoto and we expect DeSoto to be rising. A large part of that is making the changes that we have to make."

The district plans to reduce expenditures by $17 million. Closing Northside Elementary helps, so will jobs cuts - freeing up some $12 million.

And there's a proposed $0.12 tax increase, an idea the Sheplers just can't get behind, considering all the district has been through.

"If they want to increase our taxes I would support that if the school stayed open," said Shirley Shepler.

Superintendent D'Andre Weaver and Sherman acknowledge it's not what people want to hear, but say it's necessary.

"I know our tax payers are not interested in giving up more money for mistakes of the past. But in order to for us to move forward we have to consider all of our options," said Weaver.

"I'm a parent. I pay taxes just like everyone else. I grew up in DeSoto. All of those things are personal to me," said Sherman.

The Sheplers aren't quite convinced. "I'm furious with them," said Shirley Shepler.

Weaver remains optimistic about the future.

"I think we'll be in the process of healing a broken community that has gone through way more than what they should've gone through," he said.

A public hearing on the tax rate is set for June 24.

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