For the second year in a row residents in the Mission Consolidated Independent School District can expect a reduction in the property taxes assessed by the school system next year.
“In all it comes to just under a penny,” said Craig B. Verley, district spokesman, referring to the tax reduction from $100 of assessed property valuation the district is expecting in the 2017-2018 Fiscal Year.
The anticipated reduction is the result of the district’s refinancing tens of millions of dollars worth of bonds, Rumalda Ruiz, assistant superintendent for finance told the district’s board of trustees during a June 7 budget workshop meeting. The refinancing means a reduction in the district’s debt service tax from last year’s rate of $0.1882 to next year’s anticipated rate of $0.1802, Ruiz said.
In all the district is anticipating a total tax rate of $1.3502 in the 2017-2018 fiscal year, down from $1.3582 last year and $1.3672 in FY2015-2016, according to figures contained in the MCISD budget workbook.
Next year’s figures are a little more than ten cents higher than the $1.24 rate assessed in FY 2008-2009. Tax rates began increasing soon after the district sold $59 million in bonds in May 2008 for some major construction projects in the district, the largest being the $18 million in new construction and renovations at Mission High School. In 2014 the district refinanced, or “refunded,” in school administration parlance, $73.7 million in bonds and in 2016 refunded $47.6 million in bonds, Verley said. In all the district’s debt service is expected to decline from $9.5 million in FY 2017 to $9.1 million next year, according to revenue estimates provided by the school district. The district anticipates total general fund revenues next fiscal year of $158.1 million.
Despite the tax cut the district is proposing a 2 percent pay hike next year for district employees and it proposes that teachers receive a $1,000 a year pay increase as requested by Gov. Greg Abbott. Because the state did not increase allocations to school districts for the pay increase the district will have to find ways to cut costs in other areas, said Mission CISD Superintendent Dr. Ricardo Lopez.
The budget is based on a predicted average daily attendance of 14,490 students, up 1.32 percent from last year. A large proportion of that increase is due to the addition of 190 students enrolled in the federally funded Head Start program who next year will have dual enrollment in the school district, Ruiz told the board.
Increased revenues will also be generated by a 4 percent increase in property taxes the Hidalgo County Assessor’s Department is predicting, according to the district’s budget workshop book.