Monday, September 22, 2014
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SISD looks at tax ratification election

MISSION – Sharyland Independent School District will be holding a tax ratification election, although the date has not been set. The tax ratification would not raise taxes, but change how tax dollars are allocated.

At the school district’s board meeting held Monday, Feb. 11, Jesse Muniz, assistant superintendent of business and finance, suggested two proposed calendars to get the information out to the public, setting the proposed tax rate adoption, and having the election for the proposed tax rate.

The current tax rate is $1.2878, with the current Maintenance and Operations (M&O) rate set at $1.040 and the Interest and Seeking (I&S) Fund rate at $0.2478.

The school district is proposing to increase the M&O tax rate to $1.17 and decrease the I&S rate to $0.1178.

With current figures, the M&O collections could increase by $3 million, giving the school district more funds to maintain the operating costs of the district and the new high school. These numbers do not include any increase in property values.

Muniz said they would be getting preliminary numbers by late April or early May, to see how much property values increased and determine the benefits of doing the tax ratification. He would like to see a certified tax roll before going out to the public with figures. However, certified tax rolls are typically not available until late summer.

The main idea is getting the correct information to the public beforehand, said Muniz. He added that he would not have all of the appraisal information until later, making a September election more appropriate.

Eddie Montalvo, board member, also said it would be ideal to have a September election to make sure they had adequate time to inform the public. Muniz reminded board members that the figures would not be represented in the school budget if they waited that long.

Fred Ramirez, board vice-president, said he wants to make sure the board is being very transparent with the public. He wants the public to know everything that is going on in regards to swapping numbers.

This will also give the district the flexibility to raise I&S in the future if the district sees they are hurting to pay back debt.

The board proposed to go with the timeline that would have an election between June 17 and August 16 before a final school budget is voted on, or the earliest possible date available.

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