This article originally appeared in the Friday Aug. 23, 2019 issue of the Progress Times.
Three years after increasing their tax rate, the Sharyland school district is in talks to discuss lowering it.
During Monday’s school board workshop, Ismael Gonzalez-assistant superintendent for business & finance-presented to the board the new proposed tax rate of $1.29.
If approved during the next scheduled Sharyland school board meeting-set for Monday-the proposed tax rate would be on the lower end of tax rates for schools in the county.
“We’re looking at a 8.5 cents cut going back to the public, that’s very positive for the public. This is what we plan on taking to you all for approval,” Gonzalez told the board, adding that the new tax rate would mean $160 yearly property tax for a home valued at $200,000.
The lower tax rate is the result of House Bill 3, signed by state Gov. Greg Abbott last June. The bill, which was created to reform school finance, increase teacher pay, and provide property tax relief, calls for a decrease in property tax rates by an average of 8 cents in 2020 and implements a 2.5% property tax cap starting in 2021, which will result in an average tax rate reduction of 13 cents this biennium.
Last June, the school district approved a $115M budget that called for pay increases for staff.
At the workshop, trustees also discussed purchasing a new scoreboard for Sharyland Pioneer High School. The district received a quote from the South Dakota-based manufacturing company Daktronics-the company that built the $800,000 scoreboard for the Richard Thompson Stadium at Sharyland High School.
The quote, Gonzalez informed the board, was for $200,019.
“We will make payment upfront so there’s no lease agreement,” Gonzalez said, adding that the money will come from the general fund and will require a budget amendment.
The scoreboard for the Dr. Noel Oliveira Stadium will be significantly smaller than the Richard Thompson scoreboard and will feature 7 ft by 18 ft LED screen and three stationary slots for sponsors under the screen.
These sponsors will be broken up into two memberships agreements; Gold Anchor Sponsor who will be charged $10,000 annually for the biggest advertising slot in the scoreboard, and Silver Anchor sponsors, two sponsors who will be charged $5,000 annually for the remaining two slots on the scoreboard.
Oliveira was not in attendance.
According to Gonzalez, with the sponsorship payments the district expects to pay back for the scoreboard in 10 years, adding that the current scoreboard at Pioneer will be donated to another campus.
The workshop was held after the district announced that Sharyland ISD earned an “A” rating in the Texas Education Agency accountability rating system. With a score of 93, Sharyland was tied with the McAllen school district for the second highest score in Hidalgo County schools behind Valley View ISD’s 95.
In addition to this recognition, Sharyland ISD earned the Postsecondary Readiness Distinction for the sixth year in a row. They are one of only five other districts in the state of Texas to receive this honor every year since its inception.