HUTTO, Texas (KXAN) - There is a lot on the line this week for the Hippos in Hutto.
Voters have the power to stop a third round of school budget cuts next year by approving a property tax rate hike on the ballot this Saturday.
The Hutto Independent School District's proposition is to raise the tax rate by 13 cents. The average homeowner in Hutto, with a $130,000 home, would have to shell out an extra $169 a year which breaks down to an extra $14 bucks a month.
"That's giving up Starbucks twice a month, it's pretty easy," said Kris Andrews, who has two daughters attending Hutto ISD schools.
He has felt the effects of two consecutive years of school budget cuts that included laying off around 70 teachers plus additional librarians, counselors, art and music teachers.
"My younger daughter last year at the elementary level lost half of her music and her art program. They had to let go of a couple of teachers and split that time between districts," said Andrews.
When the district closed Veteran's Hill Elementary to save money his oldest daughter had to spend her fifth grade year at another campus.
Now, his entire family is working with a group called Hippos United to get voters to the polls Saturday for a tax ratification election. The newly formed non-profit is made up of parents and business leaders who believe the same proposition was shot down by voters last fall because of low voter turnout and lack of information.
They are posting signs and flyers at local businesses to raise awareness about what is a stake.
If Prop 1 fails, the district will have to cut another $1.3 million next school year.
"It would be quite devastating," said Dr. Doug Killian, Hutto ISD Superintendent. "Obviously we're going to have to look at some more administrative cuts, some more operations cuts and then there's no way we could not avoid the classroom."
Early voting totals look promising. Around 1,000 people have already voted. Last fall, when the same proposition failed, only 742 people cast a ballot in the entire election.
"There's only been a couple negative voices, but everybody seems to understand that we're in real need here of a community contribution to make sure our administrators and our teachers have the resources they need to educate our kids."
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