The MCISD school board voted to hold a Tax Ratification Election (TRE) at their monthly meeting on Monday in an effort to restructure M&O and I&S taxes without actually raising the rates themselves.
“The board as well as the administration feels very strongly about keeping the tax rate flat,” said MCISD Superintendent Keith Smith. “Part of our job is to be good stewards. We are responsible first to our kids, second to our staff and third to our constituents.”
This is not a tax increase, but a tax swap. If the TRE results fall in favor of MCISD, they will receive significantly more funding from the state of Texas without their local rates increasing. MCISD’s tax rate is also well under the state average for the two relevant categories.
When the money is moved from the I&S side to the M&O side, it enables the districts to still service their debt on the I&S side while at the same time running those pennies through the state funding formulas to generate increased state funding.
Many local districts, including North Zulch, have opted to hold a TRE since it became legal three years ago and have been successful for the most part. NZISD will have their TRE on July 16 at North Zulch Elementary School.
Many districts similar to MCISD have done this in order to receive more funding from the state that has otherwise proved stagnant. When local funding increases or decreases, that of the state fluctuates accordingly in the opposite direction to ultimately keep it the same.
“The assumption from the public is always that if my property values go up, the school receives that money,” said Smith. “This is not true. It is astounding how much money the state generates annually under the guise of public education taxes that does not actually benefit public education.”
Johnny Zolman, an independent school finance specialist and former superintendent, spoke to the MCISD school board to break down the TRE and what it would entail. Zolman has assisted many local districts who have taken on the same process.
MCISD will hold a public meeting at noon on July 23 to give the public a chance to ask specific questions about the impending restructure.
In other business, the board:
Approved minutes of the June 18, 2018 regular meeting of the board