Humble ISD’s board of trustees approved several measures at its board meeting Dec. 12. 1. After thousands of structures in the Lake Houston area were damaged after Hurricane Harvey dropped more than 30 inches of rain on the area, Humble ISD has agreed to allow reappraisals for home and business owners. The district unanimously passed a resolution allowing home and business owners to seek a reappraisal for their 2017 taxes. view article arw

Kilgore ISD may refund millions

December 1106:12 AM

Kilgore ISD is mulling whether to appeal a ruling that might force the district to refund as much as $4.3 million to homeowners who paid the full tax bill on primary residences in 2015.  The lawsuit stems from a June 2015 vote by Kilgore ISD trustees to repeal the district's local optional homestead exemption.  One big question for an attorney representing the school district is whether the ruling by Court at Law No. 2 Judge Vincent Dulweber applies to only the three plaintiffs or to all homeowners in the district who qualify for the optional homestead exemption. view article arw

The House and Senate are working to reconcile their versions of a tax plan, but one thing is certain: Big changes are ahead for the nation's schools and colleges. view article arw

This will definately have an impact on tax districts and there are pics. .- js More than 1,600 Houston property owners who flooded during Hurricane Harvey likely will be forced to elevate their homes if they want to continue living there. The city's Public Works Department is preparing to notify property owners in floodplains that their structures have been declared "substantially damaged" and will require additional repairs to comply with current building codes. For most, that will mean physically raising their homes, a pricey upgrade that can cost well more than $150,000. view article arw

This is a big deal. - js - If a merger goes through, the future of Goliad County's largest taxpayer, a coal-fired plant, looks bleak.In the spring, Dynegy plans to merge with Vistra after owning the Coleto Creek Power Plant for less than a year.  While neither company will speculate about the future of the plant, which employs 75 people, Vistra has a history of divesting itself of coal plants.  Vistra, based in Irving, is the parent company of TXU Energy and Luminant.  It recently decided to close three of its coal-fired plants in northeast and east Texas by next year. view article arw

One of the final amendments to the Senate tax bill was the Student Opportunity Amendment introduced by Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas. Along with a similar provision in the House tax bill, the Student Opportunity Amendment could become the first law passed by this Congress to subsidize students attending private K-12 schools. But exactly whom this benefits remains in doubt.  School choice advocates often use the language of equity, arguing that private school choice programs merely offer low-income families the options that wealthier families take for granted. view article arw

Graduate students are used to sleepless nights. But they typically have school work to blame, not major legislative actions that threaten to undermine their financial future.  A provision in the House version of the Republican-backed tax reform bill working its way through Congress would greatly increase the amount of taxes graduate students owe the IRS. Also at risk: thousands of U.S. universities with budgets — a major research projects — that depend on healthy graduate-student enrollments. view article arw

The reappraisal of properties damaged during Hurricane Harvey was approved by the Magnolia ISD board of trustees during a Nov. 13 meeting. This move could provide some relief to homeowners who saw significant damage to their homes, as the tax bills are adjusted based on a possible lower appraised value, Assistant Superintendent of Operations Erich Morris said.  “We’re very lucky that a minimal number of properties have been affected within our district, but we do feel like it’s the right thing,” he said. view article arw

Texas school districts in the 60-county path of Hurricane Harvey must submit tax collection projections for 2017 to find out how much it will impact education funding. Why should North Texans care?  Less property tax dollars means less money in the Texas’ school funding pool. view article arw

QISD receives ‘Superior’ rating on financial integrity. The Quinlan Independent School District School Board opposed the purchase and remodeling of a former Greenville church for use as new offices for the Hunt County Appraisal District (HCAD) Monday night at its regular monthly meeting. The school board voted to act on the proposal and unanimously opposed. view article arw

Property owners in several neighborhoods in The Woodlands Township and Municipal Utilities District 386 that are in Harris County will have their properties reappraised for post-Hurricane Harvey damages and possibly receive refunds. Jack Barnett, chief communications officer for the Harris County Appraisal District, said reappraisals for property damaged by Hurricane Harvey and the associated rains and flooding were approved by the district after requests were made by The Woodlands Township Board of Directors and officials with MUD 386. view article arw

The Smithville City Council voted Monday night to have properties in the city that have been damaged by flooding reappraised. Bastrop County has been affected by five major floods since May 2015, with the latest caused by Hurricane Harvey in August dropping more than 23 inches of rain in Smithville. Officials have estimated over 100 homes were at least partially damaged in Smithville by Hurricane Harvey. view article arw

The Fort Bend ISD school board voted to authorize the reappraisal of homes and businesses damaged by Hurricane Harvey within the school district, and staff outlined a preliminary timeline for a potential 2018 bond program. view article arw

The Magnolia ISD board of trustees met Nov. 13. The following took place at the meeting. view article arw

Dear editor, I want to thank the citizens of Huntsville for supporting the Huntsville ISD Tax Ratification Election (TRE) on Tuesday. This was a very important vote for our schools, especially our teachers and staff who will benefit from salary increases before the end of the current school year.   view article arw

This is an interesting article! - js - One of the social media complaints during the most recent election was about how high tax bills have become. Some people who opposed the road bond often followed expressing their desire to see the bond fail with some version of “I can’t afford to retire here.” The thought was that Midland was the outlier, and the community’s taxing entities have taken advantage of property valuations that are high – especially for West Texas – to increase the size of government.   Others, typically those supportive of the bond, argued that progress comes at a cost, and metropolitan growth comes at a cost. They pointed out that tax rates for some entities are at, or near, multi-decade lows.   The Reporter-Telegram wanted to know what the truth is. We looked at various cities around Texas:  view article arw

Voters in Frenship ISD and Plainview approved some of the more high-profile Local Option elections held on Tuesday. Frenship ISD voters, by a wide margin, approved the Tax Ratification Election which will shift two cents of property tax revenue from Debt Service to Maintenance & Operations. FISD states they will use the additional funding for its Pre-K program. Voters in the City of Plainview approved over five different bond packages which will fund improvements to city facilities and major streets in Plainview.  “We are so grateful to the people of Plainview,” says Mark Kimball, Citizens Advisory Chair. “The citizens have made a great step to move Plainview into the 21st Century.” The total cost of the approved bond packages is over $24 million. view article arw

DeKalb voters reject school taxes

November 1008:15 AM

Voters in DeKalb, Texas said no on Tuesday to 12.5 million dollars in bonds for school improvements. The vote was overwhelmingly against the two propositions.  The superintendent said he's frustrated not with the voters, but with the lack of funding options for schools. Many signs around town, urging residents to vote against the taxes, indicate the lack of support in the community.  Superintendent John Booth said he understands why voters rejected the taxes.  "A thirty-cent tax increase is a lot to ask for.  My frustration is with the Texas school finance system where we're a property poor district, all we have to tax are trees and cows."  Booth adds that zip codes, shouldn't determine how much money is spent on school children. view article arw

Huntsville ISD had reason to celebrate on Election Day.  The school district’s tax ratification plan to approve the ad valorem tax rate of $1.10 per $100 valuation, which is 6 cents higher than the school district’s rollback tax rate, to generate additional revenue for maintenance and operation costs passed Tuesday evening with 2,627 votes in favor (73 percent) to 990 against.  School district officials want to maximize state funding. The tax change will bring the district an estimated $750,000 in additional state revenue annually without increasing the overall total tax rate for the school district. view article arw

After making a second appearance on the Conroe ISD board of trustees agenda, the reappraisal of properties damaged during Hurricane Harvey within the district was approved by the board during an Oct. 17 meeting. The move could allow homeowners who saw significant storm damage to their homes to get a lower appraised value, resulting in a lower tax bill for the year. view article arw

Voters in the Bellevue ISD are going to allow school board members to decide how to return Triangle Brick Factory tax revenue to the state. After the plant opened about 17- months ago, Bellevue moved into the so-called wealthy category of districts, because of increased property tax value from the plan.  So, for the district to be able to decide how to share that revenue and even avoid a possible forced consolidation with another district, voters needed to approve either Proposition A or B.        view article arw

New Diana ISD voters approved both a $5.5 million bond measure to expand Robert F. Hunt Elementary School and a separate 7-cent tax ratification election by a 52-vote margin, the district reported Tuesday. The bond measure passed with 268 votes, compared to 216 votes against. The tax ratification election passed with 258 votes, compared to 206 votes against. Results are unofficial until they are canvassed by the New Diana ISD Board of Trustees on Monday. view article arw

Frenship ISD voters gave the district’s tax ratification proposal a thumbs up, with about 73 percent of ballots cast in favor of the move aimed at giving the district nearly $500,000 more a year in state funding. There were 1,545 votes cast in favor compared to 565 opposed in the tax ratification election, according to the unofficial cumulative results from the Lubbock County Elections Office released late Tuesday evening after polls closed on Election Day. view article arw

Today is election day across Texas, with ballots allowing voters to make decisions on both statewide and local issues. Voters who didn't cast an early ballot can head to the polls today to make decisions on seven amendments to the state constitution. Ballots in Gregg and Panola counties carry no other questions. view article arw

Pasadena ISD voters on Tuesday will decide separate measures for a $135 million bond package and for a rollback election to authorize a 13-cent increase in the district's tax rate. The rollback measure calls for increasing the district property tax rate to $1.48 per $100 valuation - a 9.6 percent increase. Superintendent DeeAnn Powell said in August that the district needs to boost the tax rate to continue providing a variety of programs because of increasing costs for medical insurance, benefits and other expenses and in the face of unfunded mandates from the state. view article arw

Gail Coulter grinned broadly as she gestured across the room to a new plasma table that had arrived just Friday morning. “I’m like a kid in a candy store,” the Brazoswood High School agriculture teacher said. “These kids, they don’t know how blessed they really are.” view article arw

Early voting in Tuesday's elections ends today across East Texas.  In addition to elections in some area cities and school districts, Texans are being asked to approve seven amendments to the state's constitution.  Details of the seven constitutional amendments on the ballot can be found at   New Diana ISD residents in Upshur and Harrison counties are voting on two referendums: a $5.5 million bond measure to expand Robert F. Hunt Elementary School and a separate 7-cent tax ratification election. view article arw

As Eanes Superintendent Tom Leonard visited all district campuses explaining the “Penny Swap and Drop” proposal, teachers began asking what the election results might mean for them. The timing coincided with many noticing their first paychecks were less than expected, and they asked, “Why?”  School officials believe this awareness arrived when health insurance costs increased and simultaneously decreased their take-home-pay. No one has received a raise in the 2017-18 school year.  The staff became accustomed to small pay increases in recent years, and some thought it was because of automatic “step” increases, but the district says they are misinformed about the mechanism that has increased their pay in recent years; that only occurs by school board vote. In the 2011-12 school year, staff was in a similar situation and received no increase. view article arw

The amount of research done on why so few people participate in our democratic system are voluminous. The point of voting at its most basic level is that if we (the people) do or do not like something, we have the opportunity to make our voice heard. Several studies indicate a clear threat to our representative democratic government because of low voter turnout. Explanations of this include the political withdrawal of the electorate and the accession of cynicism and mistrust of government by the American voter. The topic of the apathetic voter can be explored, but the simplest explanation could be the best. Potential voters simply don’t want to take the time to learn about issues that affect them, and they rationalize the decision to not be informed by not participating in an election. view article arw

I don’t know about you, but I am not too proud to stoop down and pick up a shiny penny off of the ground. Some people think a penny really has no value in today’s world, but I have some news that I hope may change that way of thinking.  The voters of Huntsville will have an opportunity in the upcoming Huntsville ISD Tax Ratification Election (TRE) to make some pennies into “golden pennies.” Back in August, Huntsville ISD’s Board of Trustees approved an increase in the maintenance and operations (M&O) tax rate that requires voter approval.  view article arw

A political action group is now sending corrected versions of a flyer campaigning for Travis County bonds after they realized their initial flyers were inaccurate. The PAC, “Travis Forward,” which is advocating for the passage of propositions A and B, told KXAN in an email statement Thursday, “Regrettably, our information was inaccurate and we apologize to the community.” view article arw

This constitutional election, which began Monday, Hidalgo County Commissioners have extended polling hours, thus providing working voters a better chance to cast their ballots. This was done because the City of Edinburg was ready to pay the extra costs to extend voting hours in their city election and to ensure all of their citizens have an opportunity to vote. view article arw

Voters in Houston and Harris County will have a lot to consider in the comng weeks as they head to the polls during the first week of early voting, and a lot of it will have to do with money. Billions are being sought by the City of Houston, and at least five area school districts to build new schools, and buy more buses and computers, while local MUDs also hope to get a little of your tax money to fund local infrastrucure projects. view article arw

On the first day of early voting Monday, 151 people cast ballots in Bryan and College Station school board races, according to the Brazos County Elections Administration Office. Early voting runs through Nov. 3. The polls will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Friday and again Oct. 30 through Nov. 1, On Nov. 2 and 3, polls for early voting will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Election Day is Nov, 7. view article arw

Residents whose homes were damaged as a result of Hurricane Harvey may see some relief on their annual tax bills following requests from taxing entities to reappraise home values in Montgomery County.  Montgomery County Commissioners Court unanimously passed a resolution in September calling for the inspections of residential property damaged as a result of flooding from Harvey in late August.  Montgomery County Judge Craig Doyal said he wanted to offer reappraisals because he did not feel comfortable asking county taxpayers to pay more than their houses are now worth.  “I’m having a hard time sending somebody a full tax bill for a house that’s unusable, so we’d like to get the appraisal district to reappraise those homes, at least for this year,” Doyal said. view article arw