PISD Board approves Tax Ratification Election

PISD Board approves Tax Ratification Election
Posted on 08/11/2017
PISD Board approves Tax Ratification Election

PISD Board approves Tax Ratification Election

By Art Del Barrio and Reesha Brown
PISD Communications

When it became evident the Texas State Legislature was not going to address funding for Texas Public Schools, the Pasadena ISD Board of Trustees unanimously approved an item calling for a 13 cent Tax Ratification Election (TRE) for the Maintenance and Operations (M&O) tax rate.

A TRE is a special election called by the board of trustees asking voters to approve a tax rate that is above the current $1.07 M&O rate.

The TRE gives the district an opportunity to maximize funding potential, as the 13 cent increase will generate approximately 16 million dollars from local property taxes in which the state will match those funds with an additional 20.7 million dollars, totaling 36.7 million dollars for M&O.

The Pasadena ISD tax rate is composed of two parts: The Maintenance and Operations (M&O) tax rate and the Interest and Sinking (I&S) tax rate.

M&O pays for day-to-day district operations such as payroll, utilities and maintenance of schools and facilities. The I&S is used to make payments to district bonds that fund construction. The I&S tax rate will not be raised.  

Pasadena ISD is holding the TRE for the following reasons:

·  Remain competitive with surrounding districts in retaining and recruiting teachers and staff

·  Continue innovative instructional programs

·   Address student growth

·   Offset costs from unfunded state mandates

·   Offset the rising cost of utilities, salaries, fuel and medical insurance

·   Maximize state funding

Over the years, Pasadena ISD has demonstrated strong fiscal accountability. The district has received a “Superior” rating from the School Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas (FIRST) for the past 14 consecutive years.

“It seems like we have reached a point where we have no choice but to follow suit of other districts in the area and ask our voters to increase the tax rate,” said PISD Superintendent Dr. DeeAnn Powell.

PISD has not raised taxes in over a decade and has maintained one of the lowest tax rates in the region, Dr. Powell added.

“PISD is unable to absorb the burden of the decreasing state funding for public education, which statewide is at an all-time low of 38 percent,” Dr. Powell said.

If the TRE is passed, the additional funds generated will help keep Pasadena ISD from depleting their reserves and help maintain the strong financial status.

Further, the average taxable value of a home in Pasadena ISD is approximately $130,000 and the impact would be an increase of $9.30 per month, or more specifically $0.33 per day.

Homeowners over the age of 65 or disabled persons whose taxes are frozen due to an approved exemption will not have a tax increase.

If the TRE does not pass, Pasadena ISD will not benefit from an additional $20.7 million in state funding. In addition, Pasadena ISD will operate on a deficit budget. Budget cuts to educational programs and staff would become inevitable.

Early Voting is from Monday, October 23 – Friday, November 3, 2017 Voters can cast their ballot for the TRE, on Nov. 7.