The Willis school district announced limited open enrollment for four campuses to students outside its boundaries in an attempt to avoid giving money to the state to be redistributed to poorer school districts. Parents of students living outside the Willis ISD attendance boundaries will have an opportunity to enroll their children in select Willis ISD schools for the 2018-19 school year through a Limited Open Enrollment period April 23 through May 18. Those campuses include C.C. Hardy Elementary (K-5), Lynn Lucas Middle School (6-8), Brabham Middle School (6-8) and Willis High School (9-12). view article arw

The Whitney Independent School District (WISD) Board of Trustees met in a regular session Monday, April 9, and denied a request from the Hill County Appraisal District (HCAD) for an office expansion project. Entities throughout the county have been considering the proposal from HCAD, which is seeking funding from the jurisdictions it serves to increase its office space. While other entities have had concerns about the proposed price tag of up to $425,000, many conceded that the space was needed and approved the request after presentations from HCAD Chief Appraiser Mike McKibben. view article arw

Round Rock school district Superintendent Steve Flores sent a letter to parents Monday afternoon saying district staff are prepared for an expected student walkout on Friday.  The walkout is a national protest against violence in schools and the lack of new legislation on gun control.  Students throughout the nation are expected to gather outside of class at 10 a.m. and take 13 seconds of silence to honor the 13 people killed in the Columbine High School shootings in 1999. view article arw

Floresville Independent School District residents can expect to hear more about a tax ratification election in the next several months.  District trustees will call for an August election.  FISD Partners got a preview at their April 10 meeting from district officials.  Included was a picture of the school district’s financial status, which notes that since 2010, the state has reduced funding for the district by an estimated $3.6 million.  To recover an additional $1 million in state support, officials propose moving a percentage of the district’s tax revenues from paying off debt into paying for maintenance and operations. view article arw

More than 40 states, the Trump administration and three justices have criticized the Supreme Court’s 1992 decision that keeps states from collecting sales tax from retailers without a physical presence in those states, saying it is obsolete in an era of e-commerce.  But it was unclear after an hour of oral arguments Tuesday whether a majority of the court is ready to reverse the decision, or whether the issue of sales tax on online purchases is best left to Congress and the marketplace. view article arw

Third verse, same as the first.  Dallas ISD will take yet another shot at getting a 13-cent tax increase before voters. Whether they can convince enough members of the board to do so, well, only time will tell.  On Thursday, during a budget workshop for the board’s trustees, DISD administrators -- including superintendent Michael Hinojosa -- put forward their newest plan on asking for a tax ratification election in the fall that would provide approximately $116 million yearly in additional funding. view article arw

Gonzales ISD considers tax swap

April 1308:33 AM
 

At their meeting of the Board of Trustees on Monday, the Gonzales Independent School District heard a presentation given by Dr. John Walch of Walch Educational Consulting during a budget workshop. Dr. Walch has over 13 years of experience assisting districts leverage their local dollars to maximize state funding without raising taxes. Prior to serving as a consultant, Dr. Walch served as Superintendent and Chief Financial Officer to public school districts including Fredericksburg, Mason, and Bastrop ISDs, so he understands through personal experience what it can mean for a district to be deemed "property wealthy" by the Texas Education Agency.  view article arw

Klein ISD voters could be asked to approve a 9-cent tax rate increase in June. At its meeting Tuesday night the KISD board of trustees heard a budget presentation and recommendation for the district to hold an election in June to increase its tax rate to make up for budget shortfalls. The district’s tax rate consists of two parts. The larger part funds the district’s maintenance and operations, and this rate has been $1.04 per $100 assessment since 2006. In his presentation last night, KISD Chief Financial Officer Dan Schaefer recommended increasing the maintenance and operations rate by 9 cents to $1.13 per $100 assessment. view article arw

Humble ISD is requesting that Harris County conduct a reappraisal of properties within its boundaries to reimburse taxpayers whose property values may have lowered due to damage sustained during Hurricane Harvey. The school board approved an order authorizing property tax value reappraisals within the school district during their April 10 meeting. view article arw

The Texas Commission on Public School Finance met Thursday in Austin to examine property taxes and hear from a variety of stakeholders on how they’ve been impacted by the tax rates. This is part of a series of meetings the commission is holding throughout the year to develop and make recommendations on how to finance Texas’ public schools. view article arw

With the first Ector County Independent School District Bond Advisory Committee meeting set for April 9, Superintendent Tom Crowe reviewed the need for a tax ratification election and bond election at a special workshop meeting Tuesday. Crowe said a little more than 100 invitations had been sent out for the gathering, which is set to start at 5:30 p.m. with dinner at George H.W. Bush New Tech Odessa, 300 E. 29th St. The meeting will start at 6 p.m. view article arw

With Athens ISD trustees' approval of the freeport tax exemption, obstacles to enacting it in time to apply to 2018 taxes continue to fall. At a previous meeting, school board members said they were interested in exempting freeport inventory from property taxation if sufficient revenue-protection agreements known as payment-in-lieu -of-taxes agreements were obtained from taxpayers with significant freeport inventory. Texas voters approved a constitutional amendment in 1989 allowing local jurisdictions the option to exercise their authority to tax specific personal property, otherwise known as freeport goods. view article arw

Texas prides itself on economic competitiveness, but in 2017 it fell to fourth place in a ranking of top business states, landing outside the top two for the first time in 11 years. In their interim report, members of a state House committee cited increased global competition, increased housing costs, outdated infrastructure and “certain actions taken by the 85th Legislature” — the so-called bathroom bill, for example — as reasons for the low ranking. But to address an emerging mismatch between jobs and workers’ skills — another key problem the report identified — the committee said that Texas must address property tax issues by allocating more state funding to public education. view article arw

The Ector County Independent School District has scheduled a special workshop for parents next week with some very important discussion topics. The district will be discussing the possibility of having another bond and tax ratification election (TRE). view article arw

South San Independent School District leaders are considering the possibility of a tax ratification election to increase the maintenance and operation tax rate from $1.04 to $1.17. view article arw

About six years ago, Fidelity Investments was gearing up its operation in Westlake and was soon recruiting over 200 workers a month from Massachusetts, California and elsewhere.   “The first question they asked: 'What are the schools like?'” said Fidelity executive Scott Orr.  That issue has taken on more significance today because employers are competing aggressively to attract talented workers and hold on to those they already have. In a booming economy with low unemployment, the quality of education has become a major factor in corporate decisions to relocate and expand. view article arw

he South San Antonio Independent School District may soon ask voters to decide on raising taxes to pay for a more than $7 million deficit.  On Monday, district officials held their first meeting on this topic. The school board blames the deficit on a sharp drop in enrollment, with many students going to charter schools.  The district is looking to raise property taxes to where the operation tax rate is equal with surrounding school districts. The way it breaks down is if a homeowner has a house valued at $50,00 in the SSISD district, they would end up paying an extra $2.71 a month. view article arw

Texans are vexed by the amount of property taxes they pay, according to polls. The largest recipient of local property taxes are school districts, and school tax levies continue to rise. School leaders say that higher local taxes are needed just to keep up resource levels because state aid is shrinking. What’s going on? This paper will focus on transparency improvements to help citizens understand the property tax impact of reductions in state education funding view article arw

Title to property owned by BISD within Bevil Oaks will transfer to H-JISD, and the district will assume any BISD bond debt allocated to it by Jefferson County Commissioners. H-JISD will assume jurisdiction of the annexed territory for all other purposes, according to a Beaumont ISD spokesperson. view article arw

Children living in Bevil Oaks will attend Hardin-Jefferson ISD this fall after Beaumont ISD agreed this week to release the students, ending a decades-long effort by the small city to leave the largest school district in Southeast Texas. Beaumont ISD reached an agreement with petitioners this week, releasing Bevil Oaks' students and tax dollars to Hardin-Jefferson ISD. Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath approved the detachment in an order signed on Monday. view article arw

Imagine: You own a business. You love what you do, the opportunity to employ people, and satisfying customers. But the cost of doing business is escalating as local property taxes increase. Down the road, a large corporation started construction of a new building. They considered other locations before choosing your community. That corporation received a tax abatement with the school district. That means for 10 years, they will pay only a small portion of taxes due without abatement. Meanwhile, your business does not benefit from a tax abatement, and you will likely pay higher property taxes every year. Even worse, that new corporation may compete directly or indirectly with your business. view article arw

When the Texas Legislature reduces appropriations to school districts, each dollar we pay in higher local school property taxes counts for less.  The Texas Commission on Public School Finance should review how drastically reduced state funding for school districts creates pass-through property tax hikes whose value benefits the state budget rather than the 5 million children in Texas school districts. view article arw

Final judgment was entered Wednesday in a Gregg County court where the fate of about $4 million in Kilgore ISD tax payments remains in limbo. Court at Law No. 2 Judge Vincent Dulweber ruled in favor of two homeowners who paid their full tax in 2015 but sued on grounds that that year's school reform law made the formerly optional 20 percent homestead exemption mandatory. view article arw

With a myriad needs facing Ector County Independent School District, the board on Tuesday discussed the possibility of having a tax ratification election in June or September. The TRE trustees discussed it would be for 8 cents per $100 valuation, which would generate about $11 million and bring the total tax rate to $1.23 per $100 valuation. It is currently $1.15 per $100 valuation. view article arw

When the Texas Legislature reduces appropriations to school districts, each dollar we pay in higher local school property taxes counts for less. The Texas Commission on Public School Finance should review how drastically reduced state funding for school districts creates pass-through property tax hikes whose value benefits the state budget rather than 5 million children in Texas school districts. Our property values grow in Texas because our economy is booming. As market forces cause property values per student to rise, state aid declines for school districts. When the Texas Legislature doesn't maintain state aid, we pay higher local property taxes to yield the same amount of money to school districts, even as student enrollments, needs and expectations rise. view article arw

Solving the property tax paradox

March 0707:45 AM
 

On the March 6 primary ballot, both the Republican and Democrat primaries have proposed planks that deal with education and education finance. Before we vote on these proposals, let’s reflect on the history of public-school finance and explore the challenges our current system faces along with the proposed changes.  Of the 13 grievances in the Texas Declaration of independence, a lack of public education was listed right in-between being denied the right to a jury trial, and the dissolving of the Texas Legislature by the Mexican army. We can certainly see how our founding fathers valued education.   view article arw

When the Texas Legislature reduces appropriations to school districts, each dollar we pay in higher local school property taxes counts for less. The Texas Commission on Public School Finance should review how drastically reduced state funding for school districts creates pass-through property tax hikes whose value benefits the state budget rather than 5 million children in Texas school districts. view article arw

Dale Craymer is right. In his Feb. 5 column “Bad Math: Replacing property taxes with higher sales taxes doesn’t add up for Texans,” he argues that raising the state’s sales tax rate to 23 percent in order to eliminate all local property taxes is “unrealistic.” Few could argue with that.  But something else that few should contest is that it’s unrealistic to continue to rely on homeowners and businesses to foot unsustainable increases in property tax bills. According to the Tax Foundation, Texas now has the sixth-highest property tax burden in the nation. view article arw

Property taxes are on the rise, and school leaders say it's because state funding for education isn't keeping up with current costs. College Station Independent School District Superintendent Dr. Clark Ealy joined First News at Four to discuss this issue that he says hits close to home. view article arw

Residents of The Woodlands whose homes flooded due to Hurricane Harvey are expected to pay their property taxes in full to Tomball ISD after the board of trustees voted against reappraising damaged homes. Timarron Lakes resident Elias Abraham asked the board to vote in favor of a resolution to reappraise damaged homes. Taxes levied by Tomball ISD range between $2,500 to $5,000. view article arw

Lemm Elementary School remains closed, six months after Harvey sent several inches of water into the building. Klein ISD set a target of the school reopening in time for the 2018-19 school year in August. However, some parents are questioning whether that is possible. view article arw

Texas state senators are touchy, touchy, touchy when it comes time to hand out blame for rising property taxes. They’ve spent a decade hacking away at the state’s share of public education spending, and their current refrain is that the local districts have run amok by raising property tax bills. view article arw

It’s no exaggeration to say that Texans don’t like paying property taxes, as we have some of the highest in the nation. Could we kiss those tax bills goodbye by modestly increasing the sales tax? That’s among the property tax relief options now floating around the Texas Capitol. If it sounds too good to be true — you’re right. Even a cursory look at the numbers shows that swapping property taxes for a higher sales tax is unrealistic. view article arw

The new federal tax plan implements temporary and permanent changes that will affect individuals, businesses, corporations and school districts in Spring and Klein. President Donald Trump signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act into law Dec. 22, overhauling the nation’s tax code for the first time in decades. Many of the reform’s changes took effect immediately, including new federal income tax brackets, a lower corporate tax rate and tax deductions for small businesses. view article arw

A new residential community on the way east of Dallas will bring more than 1,000 new homes.  Longtime Dallas developer Wynne/Jackson plans to build the Overland Grove community in Forney on 336 acres on FM 548 between Interstate 20 and U.S. Highway 80.  The $300 million project will have homes priced from $275,000 to $400,000. view article arw