A pair of area school districts looking to adjust their tax rates to raise revenue for their schools will now put that decision before voters after approving their participation in an upcoming tax ratification election.
School board trustees for the Calallen and Tuloso-Midway independent school districts on Monday both separately, and unanimously, approved their involvement in a Sept. 11 election that will place a proposal before voters to slightly adjust their districts' respective tax rates.
The goal, school officials said, is to "swap pennies" in order to raise more tax revenue that could be used for district needs rather than solely paying off existing bond debt.
CISD trustees approved the measure Monday in a 4-0 vote, with trustees Yolanda Villarreal, Paul Peeler and Tammy McDonald not present at the meeting. TMISD school board members passed the measure, as well, in a 7-0 vote.
Tax rates for school districts are often comprised of two different categories, maintenance and operations, which is used to fund the general day-to-day operations of a school district, as well as a debt service tax. That second tax rate is used to pay off existing bond debt districts may have issued for a new school or district-wide improvements, similar to what has been ongoing in Robstown, Calallen and Tuloso-Midway the past few years.
The proposed rate swap would readjust the districts' overall tax rate by switching 13 cents from each district's debt service tax rate to the M&O side.
For example, the TMISD currently has an M&O tax rate of $1.04 per $100 valuation, while the debt service tax rate sits at .2922 cents per $100 valuation. If voters approve the measure being proposed, the tax rates would be altered to $1.17 per $100 valuation for M&O and .1622 cents per $100 valuation.
Similarly, the CISD has a current M&O tax rate of $1.04 per $100 valuation and a debt service rate of $.2585. The proposal would adjust that to $1.17 per $100 valuation on the M&O side, while shrinking the debt service tax rate to $.1285.
This would allow the TMISD to earn an additional $1.9 million in the first year following a potential approval by voters, and $300,000 every year after that. Calallen would see an annual increase in tax revenue of $700,000.
The Robstown Independent School District Board of Trustees on Tuesday voted 4-0 to participate in the tax ratification election, which school officials said could generate an additional $2 million by swapping rates.
Leaders for all three school districts have been adamant that the proposal is not a tax increase, but rather a reallocation of the existing tax rates to maximize taxpayer dollars.