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Sharyland ISD approves lower tax rate

This article originally appeared in the Friday Aug. 30, 2019 issue of the Progress Times.

In a move similar to what school districts across the state of Texas are doing, the Sharyland school board of trustees voted unanimously in lowering the tax rate.

During Monday’s school board meeting, Ismael Gonzalez-assistant superintendent for business & finance-presented to the board the new proposed tax rate of $1.29.

Sharyland LogoThis is eight cents lower than the current tax rate which was approved in 2016. The tax rate was increased from $1.33 to $1.37 for more capital improvement projects.

The new tax rate would mean a $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.

“The board of trustees and current administration has been laser-focused on taking advantage of the House Bill 3 initiative,” Gonzalez said. “In an effort to maximize savings for taxpayers, we are proud to announce that the recommendation to compress the current total tax rate of $1.3755 by 8 1/2 cents.”

With this tax rate, the Maintenance & Operation tax rate, which covers operating costs such as supplies and utilities, will be shifting from $1.17 to $1.0684. The Interest and Sinking tax rate, which pays for capital improvement projects, will be shifting from $0.2055 to $o.2303 to cover debt service obligations for the school year.

Last June, the school district approved a $115M budget that called for pay increases for staff.

At the school board meeting, trustees also approved purchasing a $200,019 scoreboard for Sharyland Pioneer High School that will replace the current scoreboard that has been in place since the campus opened.

The district will be working with 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 scoreboard for the Dr. Noel Oliveira Stadium will be significantly smaller than the Richard Thompson scoreboard and will feature a 7 ft by 18 ft LED screen and three stationary slots for sponsors under the screen.

Oliveira, who was present during the meeting, stepped out while this discussion was happening. The district honored him last week during a dedication ceremony to officially name the stadium under him.

Pioneer Principal James Heath thanked the school board for the scoreboard.

“Pioneer appreciates anything the school district board does to improve our facilities. An improved score board will enhance the appearance of our stadium and should help improve the experiences of our spectators and participants,” Heath said. “We take great pride in our facilities and want to continue to upgrade what we can so that we remain a first-class school facility.”

Gonzalez informed the board that the district will pay for the scoreboard with money from the general fund but that the district will make that money back in 10 years through sponsorship opportunities.

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.

“It pays for itself and will last 15 to 20 years,” Gonzalez said.

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