Beckville ISD is considering a tax ratification election some time next year — going to the voters to ask for a tax increase on their maintenance and operations side of the budget.  “We’ve been struggling with this the last couple years,” Superintendent Devin Tate said at Monday’s school board meeting. “We know that there’s a short fall of revenue, and then the state has continued to pull back and pull back, and gone down to like around 37, 38 percent for the typical school funding, and so money’s got to come from somewhere. view article arw

WHEREAS, I, GREG ABBOTT, Governor of the State of Texas, issued a disaster proclamation on August 23, 2017, certifying that Hurricane Harvey posed a threat of imminent disaster for Aransas, Austin, Bee, Brazoria, Calhoun, Chambers, Colorado, DeWitt, Fayette, Fort Bend, Galveston, Goliad, Gonzales, Harris, Jackson, Jefferson, Jim Wells, Karnes, Kleberg, Lavaca, Liberty, Live Oak, Matagorda, Nueces, Refugio, San Patricio, Victoria, Waller, Wharton and Wilson counties; and view article arw

With the additional funds expected through Frisco ISD’s tax ratification election, the district is adding 80 new positions as well as investing in new technology and adding a classroom supplies stipend. FISD board of trustees approved amending the 2018-19 budget during the Dec. 10 meeting to allow for the additional expenses. view article arw

Limiting property tax hikes is sexy. Travis County Commissioner Gerald Daugherty warned that local officials will have to contend with the appeal of restricting property tax increases as they prepared Wednesday to fight Gov. Greg Abbott’s property tax revenue cap proposal and to have their voices heard in the debate over how to improve Texas’ troubled school finance system when the Legislature meets next year. view article arw

A state commission created to suggest fixes to how the state funds public education has instead focused on reining in property taxes — including a plan by Gov. Greg Abbott — without identifying how to pay for the idea, let alone grow the overall pot of money for public schools. Property tax and state revenue primarily fund the state’s public schools, which serve 5.4 million students. The Texas Commission on Public School Finance, created by the Legislature last year, has for months been listening to input from district officials, state leaders and analysts. It is slated to issue recommendations by the end of the month. view article arw

The largest copper tubing manufacturer in the world has started an application to open business in Sealy. The Hailiang Group, founded in China, has already expanded to the U.S. and provides national support for sales, customer service, manufacturing and regional distribution locations. Now, they are looking to set up shop in this neck of the woods and representatives came to the most recent school board meeting to begin that process. view article arw

The Texas Legislature’s strong allergy to tax increases might be abating — just as long as you don’t call them tax increases. They’re not saying so out loud — no point in riling up a price-sensitive electorate before the holidays, before the upcoming legislative session — or before lawmakers are ready to make their sales pitch. But the talk of school finance as a top legislative priority guarantees a conversation about taxes. While there are many great policy reasons to mess with that persistent and gnarly issue, the political motivation here is simple: Texas property owners have made it clear to their representatives that they want lower property taxes. view article arw

A French energy company that boasts wind power projects in Brazil, India, Norway and Kansas has set its sights just outside Mart, a one-stoplight town 20 miles from Waco. Where wind turbines may soon stand on a property straddled by Farm-to-Market Road 939 and JPM Road, 2 miles away from Mart’s city center, tall native grasses blew in the wind as Mayor Len Williams, also the interim superintendent of Mart Independent School District, described Engie North America Inc.’s proposed Prairie Hill Wind Farm project as a breath of fresh air to the community of 2,000 people, and to the school district’s tax base. If the sustainable energy project receives final approval from state and local agencies, along with Engie investors, 300 wind turbines will be constructed across 52,000 acres in McLennan and Limestone Counties. view article arw

Local governments have not been properly notifying homeowners of their expected property tax increases since 1978, disregarding a requirement of the Texas Constitution, an academic researcher told lawmakers on Wednesday.   For decades, Texas has required appraisal notices that include an “estimate of tax due,” but the notices are both too confusing and not accurate enough to comply with the state constitution, said tax expert Jennifer Rabb, director and fellow of the McNair Center for Entrepreneurship and Economic Growth at Rice University. For decades, Texas has required appraisal notices that include an “estimate of tax due,” but the notices are both too confusing and not accurate enough to comply with the state constitution, said tax expert Jennifer Rabb, director and fellow of the McNair Center for Entrepreneurship and Economic Growth at Rice University. view article arw

The 300 megawatt Sage Draw Wind farm — which is selling electricity to Irving, Texas-based Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM) under a power purchase agreement with the farm’s owner, Denmark-based Ørsted — is set to draw $22.56 million in tax incentives over the course of 10 years. The $206.5 million facility is covered by tax incentive agreements with government entities in the area of the farm, including a $14.76 million Chapter 313 agreement with Southland Independent School District near Lubbock, Texas, according to documents published by the Texas comptroller Nov. 9. view article arw

PORT ARANSAS — To the east, the Gulf of Mexico stretches out, blue-green and sparkling. To the west and north, flounder and trout meander in a chain of bays. People flock here to fish. Others come to this beach town near Corpus Christi to kayak, parasail or admire the hundreds of bird species on the barrier island, which is deep into rebuilding efforts after Hurricane Harvey damaged or destroyed 85 percent of the buildings here last year.  A perfect location, from a certain point of view, to put not one but two crude-oil export terminals for ships so big they’re called supertankers. view article arw

Better pay for teachers, improved school safety, and a petrochemical boom were hot topics at a luncheon held at Brazosport College on Wednesday. Brazosport ISD Superintendent Danny Massey and Economic Development Alliance for Brazoria County President Gary Basinger spoke during the State of the Community Luncheon at the Dow Academic Center at Brazosport College. view article arw

Texas lawmakers looking for enough money to rebalance the state’s school finance system face an obstacle course: the state’s property taxes are the sixth-highest in the country as a percentage of property values, sales tax rates are 12th-highest, and the absence of a state income tax is so dear to Texans that politicians haven’t had a serious conversation about it for more than a quarter century. Perhaps there’s another place to look: Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar issued his annual estimate of the value of taxes that Texans do not pay because of various tax breaks. His office has a lot of different descriptions of tax breaks; the report “estimates the value of each exemption, exclusion, discount, deduction, special accounting method, credit, refund and special appraisal available to payers of Texas’ sales, motor vehicle sales, franchise, oil production and gasoline taxes, as well as property taxes levied by Texas school districts.” view article arw

Early voting opens for Garrison ISD

November 2708:40 AM

Early voting in a Dec. 15 Garrison ISD tax rollback election begins Wednesday.  Due to a loss of state funding, the rural school district has faced budget deficits in recent years — and this year is looking at a shortfall of $515,000, GISD documents state.  The current Garrison ISD total tax rate is $1.1065 per $100 of property value. The tax ratification election set Dec. 15 is seeking voter approval to increase that by approximately 6 cents to $1.17 per $100 of valuation. view article arw

For the first time in a long time, the Texas Legislature is given a good shot in the coming session of increasing funding for public education, which could lead to an end in the upward spiral of residential property taxes, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports. In the last three sessions, the Republican-dominated Legislature, trying to stress its conservative credentials, has cut state aid to education funding.  That achieves two GOP enable Republicans to claim to be 'holding the line' on higher education spending, and to enable more funding to be diverted to charter and private schools. But the result, according to Northside ISD Superintendent Brian Woods, has been to push that spending responsibility down to local property owners. view article arw

The oil and gas sector worldwide lost about $1 trillion in value during a 40-day period that began in early early October and culminated last week with a record 12th straight day of oil price declines — including the worst single-day drop in three years. Crude prices in New York commodity markets slid more that 25 percent during that period, from a recent peak above $76 a barrel to less than $56, and took oil and gas stock prices with them. Energy stocks included in the S&P 500 Index shed nearly $240 billion in value during those 40 days view article arw

The Lone Star State produces more power from wind energy than any other state. Many school districts are offering tax incentives to lure renewable projects — and the big names behind them, such as Nike and Amazon. view article arw

Alvin ISD bond, TRE package approved

November 1408:30 AM

Voters in Alvin ISD again voiced their support for the school district by overwhelmingly approving a $480.5 million bond package and following that up by agreeing to a tax ratification election. With all the votes counted, the bond package received 21,934 votes in favor, or 68.48 percent, with 10,096 voters opposed, or 31.52 percent. The TRE, which will allow the district to raise the money without raising the tax rate, faced a tougher battle. But in the end, 16,885 voters cast ballots in favor with 14,922 voting against.  view article arw

The board room was full at CCISD headquarters Monday night as community members showed up to voice their opposition to the school district’s $210 million bond package passed by voters last week. Michael Miller is leading the charge and has created a petition for board members to re-evaluate the proposed location of a new Mary Carroll High School near the intersection of Saratoga Boulevard and Weber Road. “Do you think that building a school capable of holding 3,500-plus students and staff near a Naval aircraft crash zone is a responsible decision?,” Miller asked board members. view article arw

Operators of a northern Oklahoma wind farm are abandoning a creative tax avoidance scheme that was drawing statewide scrutiny because of its potentially damaging impact on Oklahoma school funding. view article arw

Voters on Tuesday approved an additional 13 cents on the maintenance and operations tax rate in Dallas ISD, placing it at $1.17 – the maximum allowed in Texas. The increase will lead to an additional $126 million paid out to the district over the next several years, which officials claim will be used for employee raises, to bolster the rainy day fund, and build specialty schools and specialty school programs. Specifically, the district is planning on increasing the budget for teacher and principal salaries from $27.8 million to $30.2 million in the next four years. view article arw

Voters Approve Dallas ISD School Bond

November 0807:45 AM

The four propositions that were on the ballot for Dallas ISD were approved by voters. Those will add an additional 13 cents to their maintenance and operations tax rate, placing it at the state maximum of $1.17.  view article arw

Voters in the Frisco Independent School District approved two measures on Election Day that will provide a major influx of cash for what has been consistently the fastest-growing school district in Texas over the past several years. Voters approved a $691 million construction bond, as well as a Tax Ratification Election (TRE). The bond money will fund major expenses, including four new schools, renovation to existing facilities, additional technology and security measures – including the installation of bullet-resistant glass on interior classroom windows – and it would also pay to resurface playgrounds at 42 schools with a rubber-like material. view article arw

Alvin ISD’s $480.5 million bond passed with 21,934 votes in support of it, winning 68.48 percent of the vote. The tax ratification election to fund the bond passed with 16,885 votes for it, winning 53.09 percent of the vote. view article arw

Voters in the El Paso Independent School District approved a tax shift that will not change the overall rate for residents. The EPISD tax ratification election, also known as a TRE or penny swap, passed with about 54 percent of voters supporting the measure. "We're very grateful to the community who supported our second TRE and our third election," said Melissa Martinez, spokeswoman for EPISD. "This shows that our community supports our schools, employees and initiatives and programming." view article arw

SAN ANGELO, TX — San Angelo ISD Superintendent of Schools promised Tuesday night that the district will take a hiatus from requesting voters approve another bond.  Two San Angelo ISD bond initiatives went down in defeat Tuesday night with over 55 and 57 percent of voters against them respectively. view article arw

With all precincts reporting, Frisco ISD’s tax ratification election has passed. About 59 percent of voters voted in favor of the measure, while about 41 percent voted against it. view article arw

Ector County voters give nod to TRE

November 0708:25 AM

Voters approved Ector County Independent School District’s tax ratification election Tuesday, according to unofficial figures from the Ector County Elections Office. The initiative passed by 61.06 percent to 38.94 percent, or 13,683 votes supporting the proposition to 8,726 votes against, unofficial results show. School district’s tax rates are made up of maintenance and operation rate and an interest and sinking, or debt service rate. Currently, that rate is $1.04 per $100 valuation for maintenance and operations and 11 cents per $100 for debt service for a total of $1.146603 per $100 valuation. view article arw

Frisco ISD’s $691 million bond package and tax ratification election passed with about 60 percent voter approval on both propositions, according to unofficial election results Nov. 6. The passage of the bond and the tax rate, FISD Superintendent Mike Waldrip said the district is ready to get started on the planned projects that the bond and tax revenue are expected to fund. view article arw

HENDERSON — The board of trustees for Henderson ISD considered an audit Thursday afternoon that will help the district recoup tax revenue it lost in a lawsuit.  Natural gas companies sued several taxing entities, including Henderson ISD, for tax revenue they received between 2012 and 2017. The Texas Supreme Court’s March 2 ruling changed the location of the entity collecting taxes from where a natural gas compressor is located to where the company’s home office is located, requiring local taxing entities to refund the tax money.  Trustees met for an update regarding the 2018-19 budget, which was led by Superintendent Keith Boles. view article arw

Three school districts are asking voters to approve tax plans to supplement their budgets. Dallas ISD and Richardson ISD are seeking tax increases while Frisco ISD is asking voters for a tax swap that would ultimately reduce the overall tax rate. This year marks the third time in three years that the Dallas superintendent has tried to get the measure on the ballot. Now that it's there, it's up to voters to decide if it's needed and if the district will be good stewards of an additional $126 million dollars a year. view article arw

I was 18 years old when I started working with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. He was so committed to us getting our education that he would tell us, "If you get picked up in a protest and are going to jail, take your books with you." He knew that we needed to continue our education. He knew how important that was to our future and to our fight for civil rights. view article arw

If you live in the Dallas school district, the tax ratification election that we’ve recommended you approve is understandably the big-ticket item that’s getting most of your attention this election. The district sorely needs the influx of the millions of dollars that Proposition C would bring to build on initiatives that we know are working, like pre-K expansion and merit pay increases for teachers.  But also tucked at the very bottom of your ballot are three other propositions that shouldn’t be overlooked — two that are important to the financial health of the district and one that goes directly to keeping kids safe getting to and from school. We recommend voters also say “yes” to all three of these. view article arw

With local opposition and the chance to increase district revenues to consider, El Campo ISD trustees voted to proceed with an application from Seventus, LLC that is seeking a tax credit to start a wind farm. The board giving the go ahead for the application process does not bind the district to any agreement with Seventus. view article arw

A tax ratification election was one of the options Hallsville ISD trustees discussed with consultants Monday night to fund a possible project. Though the district is in contract negotiations with Huckabee Architects for architectural services, Superintendent Jeff Collum said administrators are exploring its options for additional revenue before they make official plans for construction. He said trustees will set financial goals and look at the district’s facilities needs at an upcoming meeting. view article arw