Friday, September 3, 2010

Parkie Pic of the Week:Yard Signs

Last week, my post was about the flag phenomenon that prevails in Park Cities.  This week, it seemed fitting to point out another unique trend to Park Cities - the YARD SIGN.  Drive around any neighborhood in Highland Park or University Park and you'll see sports and school signs dotting the yards of houses on almost every block.

My guess is, that these yard signs started out as fundraisers for the various school programs that rely on private donations to exist and flourish.  Most people think of HPISD as a "rich" district with an inordinate amount of wealth.  Residents know that the district’s recapture (Robin Hood) payment* to the state is our largest single operating expenditure, and it continues to increase as local property values increase. With the 2008-09 operating budget, the district paid more than $825 million to the state for recapture.

Other revenue in the district operating budget includes local property tax collections,  penalties and interest from delinquent tax collections, interest earnings from investments, athletic participation fees, athletic gate receipts, summer school fees, parking garage fees, facility rental receipts, and most importantly - gifted revenue from the PTAs, the Mad For Plaid campaign, and the Sports Club.

The gifted revenue is not recaptured, so HPISD is able to pour every penny of those dollars into education. On the other hand, property tax collections are recaptured at 72 percent, so 72 pennies of every dollar collected through local property taxes are sent to the state for redistribution. 

So, it makes sense that these yard signs would have started out years ago as school fundraisers - and are now a part of local tradition.  That's my guess anyway. Anyone else have a better idea?!

*Budget numbers and facts taken from the HPISD website.

For those of you who live outside the area, University Park and Highland Park  are together called Park Cities. Citizens of these fabled Texas towns  are called "Parkies". Hence, my weekly fun feature which I call "Parkie  Pic of the Week" in which I like to highlight an unusual or spectacular  feature of my neighborhood.

Click on any photo to enlarge it and enjoy in greater detail.