TRE meeting scheduled for Monday

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As North Zulch ISD wrapped up their Tax Ratification Election (TRE) process this week, Madisonville CISD will also hold a similar election for a proposed tax swap as well as an informational meeting for the proposal on Monday.

The decision to hold the election is one many local schools are opting for and was made at the monthly board meeting on July 9 after a presentation from Johnny Zolman, an independent school finance specialist and former superintendent.

To avoid confusion, the passage of the TRE would not mean an increase in local taxes. Instead, MCISD would simply raise the M&O taxes while decreasing I&S by the same amount, leaving the tax rate at exactly what it would have been regardless. On the flip side of that, MCISD would be eligible for a significantly higher amount of funding from the state that could make a world of difference.

Part of the natural confusion comes when a citizen sees their property taxes increase.

“The assumption from the public is always that if my property values go up, the school receives that money,” said MCISD Superintendent Keith Smith. “This is not the case. It is astounding how much money the state generates annually under the guise of public education taxes that does not actually benefit public education.”

To see this on display, we can look to Dallas. The Texas Education Agency (TEA) estimates that 25 Dallas-Fort Worth districts are expected to surrender $539 million back to the state through recapture for the 2018-19 school year.

The TEA also estimates that 217 school districts in the state of Texas will be subject for recapture in 2018-19 with $2.69 billion of local property taxes redirected back to the state. The only way for many schools to fight against this would be increased enrollment.

“If you think this is a unique phenomenon, it is not,” said Dallas ISD Superintendent Michael Hinojosa to his trustees in March. “This is our new reality. I am an old-school superintendent; I have been doing this for 23 years. I never would have fathomed that the state would let us be here. But it is here.”

For more information on the upcoming TRE in Madisonville, attend Monday’s informational meeting at noon at MCISD.

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