A word from superintendent Quintin Shepherd of the Victoria I.S.D. As we kick off 2022, I want to share some updates for the district. I will share a little about Mission Valley, VATRE next steps, district renovations, Stroman Middle School, and DAEP and Credit Recovery. Lots of things are happening and I want to keep everyone apprised of the work. Of course, the single best place to go for information is always the Administration Report, presented monthly to the Board of Trustees. This is a detailed explanation of all the work happening throughout the district and can be easily accessed from either our district website or the district app. view article arw

Lawmakers have ordered Comptroller Glenn Hegar to wrap up Texas’s biggest corporate tax break program, but he wants to give companies one last gift: an end to public accountability. Activists, corporate relocation specialists and lawmakers are scrambling to comment on Hegar’s proposal that companies no longer report key data about their progress toward meeting the terms of their property tax abatement agreements. If the comptroller adopts the rule, the public will find it much more difficult to monitor whether companies really create the jobs or make the investments they promised in return for $1 billion a year in school property tax breaks. view article arw

Lawmakers have ordered Comptroller Glenn Hegar to wrap up Texas’s biggest corporate tax break program, but he wants to give companies one last gift: an end to public accountability. Activists, corporate relocation specialists and lawmakers are scrambling to comment on Hegar’s proposal that companies no longer report key data about their progress toward meeting the terms of their property tax abatement agreements. If the comptroller adopts the rule, the public will find it much more difficult to monitor whether companies really create the jobs or make the investments they promised in return for $1 billion a year in school property tax breaks. view article arw

During a year in which the pandemic continued to cast a shadow over local life, Pearland ISD saw plenty of bright spots. One of the most consequential events was passage of a voter approval tax rate election (VATRE) measure in November that garners $7.4 million for district operating expenses. Other highlights included a Berry Miller Junior High School teacher receiving a statewide honor and Pearland High School’s head basketball coach, Steve Buckelew, reaching a coaching landmark when he gained his 800th career win. view article arw

As millions of Texans struggle with the economic devastation of COVID-19, the biggest corporate tax giveaway in Texas has helped businesses cut more than $10 billion from their property taxes — and there are no limits on the program’s exponential growth. The gusher of tax incentives is flowing to firms ranging from petrochemical plants on the Gulf Coast to sprawling wind farms in the Panhandle. Companies are saving billions by promising to bring their business to Texas — even if evidence suggests some never would have gone anywhere else. Meanwhile, nothing has changed during the pandemic for Texas homeowners who must pay their property tax bills on time or face stiff penalties.  It’s a far different story for the energy and manufacturing companies that qualify for assistance under an obscure section of the Texas Tax Code called Chapter 313.    (13) view article arw

UNQUALIFIED EXEMPTIONS

December 1305:00 AM
 

Texas law allows for billions of dollars in questionable tax breaks for a range of interests, from the well-connected to big corporations to prosperous churches, while everyday Texans struggle with job losses, stagnant wages and the economic fallout from the pandemic. Previous installments of the Unfair Burden series focused on the state’s biggest corporate tax giveaway, which has helped businesses cut more than $10 billion from their property taxes. Read the series at www.houstonchronicle.com/unfairburden view article arw

DSISD’s audit report on hold

December 0808:30 AM
 

DRIPPING SPRINGS — Changing personnel, short review time caused Dripping Spring ISD’s board of trustees to disapprove an audit report. After receiving the final draft less than an hour before the Nov. 23 discussion, the DSISD trustees voted to disapprove the annual financial audit report for the fiscal year that ended on June 30, 2021. School districts were given a deadline to file their annual financial reports with the Texas Education Agency (TEA) by Saturday, Nov. 27. “The auditors’ delay in delivering the final report created a very compressed timeline for the district to review,” said Jennifer Edwards, executive director of communications for DSISD, “and the board to approve the report in order to make the TEA deadline, especially given the Thanksgiving holiday since district offices were closed.” view article arw

Representatives from AEP-Southwestern Electric Power Co. as well as local community leaders will meet next week in Hallsville and Marshall to discuss the economic impact of the upcoming Pirkey Power Plant and Sabine Mine closures. The public meeting at Gold Hall Community Center in Hallsville is set 6 to 7:30 p.m. Monday, while a meeting at the Harrison County Courthouse in Marshall is scheduled 6 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. The meetings are the second round of events led by the Pirkey Transition Task Force to examine potential strategies communities could adopt to maintain a robust economy after the plant and mine close. The team has called on leaders in education, economic development and local government to participate in the meetings and brainstorm what a post-Pirkey future might look like in surrounding communities. view article arw

TAYLOR, Texas (KXAN) — We’re learning more about the deal the Taylor Independent School District is offering Samsung to get the company to build its new $17 billion plant in the area. Officials are hoping the company’s announcement will come soon. An executive is visiting North America and Samsung have said in its application filings they want to start construction in January. KXAN spoke with one of the attorneys who worked on Taylor ISD’s agreement to find out more about the incentives they hope will entice Samsung to call Taylor home. view article arw

BLOOMINGTON — Fresh out of high school, Jose Perez Jr. was taken aback on his first day of trade school by the hardware on display in the welding shop. The equipment, he said, was decades ahead of what he spent four years using as a Bloomington High School student. As a result, he found he had some catching up to do. “It was a little intimidating,” said Perez, 20, who a year into a two-year program at ​​Texas State Technical College of Fort Bend County. “I knew the basics, but I felt I was a few steps behind others in the program.” Perez found his passion while spending countless hours in the aging welding shop located behind the high school. The bulk of a $1.1-million bond proposal rejected by voters this month would have gone toward improvements to that shop and the decades-old equipment it houses. The superintendent said the proposal ultimately failed due to a lack of outreach by school officials and because of state-mandated language on the ballot that, an expert said, could have misled voters.    (15) view article arw

As oil and gas companies slowly become sources of cleaner energy, Texas schools may pay part of the price, according to research from Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy. Researchers found that because of the emerging energy transition, K-12 education funding — which in Texas relies heavily on taxes from oil and gas production — could begin to fall short of spending needs sometime between 2022 and 2029 with average annual deficits of $2.5 billion to $5.8 billion. view article arw

Arlington school trustees will consider Thursday whether to hire a new law firm to collect delinquent taxes. Campaign finance reports, however, show that trustees have received thousands of dollars in donations from the law firm Linebarger, Goggan, Blair & Sampson and attorneys who work for it, raising implications of what could be seen as a conflict of interest. view article arw

The Canyon ISD Board of Trustees heard a presentation at its regular meeting on Monday from the city of Canyon about the upcoming Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone to revitalize the downtown area.  Assistant City Manager Jon Behrens outlined the processes and objectives for the proposed TIRZ as a way to grow infrastructure and investment within the city for long-term maintenance of growth, specifically the downtown square. Logistically, the current setup of the city’s square has created traffic problems for safety and accessibility, officials have said. view article arw

AUSTIN — In Texas, public schools pay for a majority of their operations through property tax collections. Even so, state officials promise districts won't feel the weight of reduced funding despite lawmakers' touted property tax relief bill which reduces what districts can collect. Senate Bill 1 passed quickly in the third legislative special session this fall after Gov. Greg Abbott added it to the agenda. Its purpose is to provide tax relief to homeowners by raising the homestead exemption from $25,000 to $40,000. For an average homeowner whose property is worth $300,000, that translates to about $176 in temporary tax relief next year, said State Sen. Paul Bettencourt, R-Houston, who spearheaded the bill. view article arw

Victoria voters were split in their support for four school bond items Tuesday night.  Up for election was a Voter Approved Tax Rate Election, or VATRE, and three school bonds.  Voters were in favor of the VATRE proposition and Proposition C by 52.5% and 50.7%, respectively. Voters were against bond propositions A and B by 53.5% and 54.5%, respectively.  About 16.1% of Victoria County voters voted. view article arw

Lake Travis ISD voters, based on early vote totals available at 7 p.m., are approving a tax ratification election that would generate an additional $3 million in funding for maintenance and operation expenses not subject to recapture by the state. If voters go on to approve the measure, it proportionally lowers interest and sinking tax rates in the district. Under recapture, if a district generates excess funding from taxes, a threshold determined by the state, it is taken by the state to be distributed among districts that do not meet their funding requirements. Since 1993, Texas has utilized a “Robin Hood” system to recapture funds from schools who have excess income, or annual tax revenue that is higher than the maintenance and operating costs determined by the state, according to the Texas Education Agency. Those funds are then redistributed to districts that do not meet the maintenance and operating cost threshold, the TEA said. view article arw

Early voting results show that Pearland ISD voters are in favor of adopting the property tax rate of $1.3152 per $100 property value for the 2021-22 school year. Pearland ISD voters on Nov. 2 had the Voter-Approval Tax Rate Election, or VATRE, which appeared to district voters as Proposition A on ballots, and will determine the district’s property tax rate and if PISD receives additional funding for the upcoming school year. Brazoria County’s early voting results showed 2,084 people, or 66.41%, were in favor of Proposition A while 1,054 people, or 33.59%, voted against Proposition A. All results are unofficial until canvassed. Pearland ISD will canvass election results Nov. 15. If the VATRE is approved, PISD’s tax rate will be $1.3152 per $100 property value for the 2021-22 school year, according to the district. If it fails, it will be $1.2852. Both are under the 2020-21 rate of $1.3185. view article arw

Alamo Heights Independent School District voters Tuesday will decide a proposed property tax rate change that would not affect residents’ tax bills but allow the district to take full advantage of state funding formulas.  If voters approve it, the move would allow the district to allocate $1.4 million for competitive salaries for employees and educational programs for students, district officials said.  Alamo Heights Independent School District voters Tuesday will decide a proposed property tax rate change that would not affect residents’ tax bills but allow the district to take full advantage of state funding formulas.  If voters approve it, the move would allow the district to allocate $1.4 million for competitive salaries for employees and educational programs for students, district officials said.  Under the proposal, Alamo Heights ISD’s maintenance and operations tax rate would increase by about two cents per $100 assessed valuation of taxable property, and the other part of the tax rate, devoted to paying off bond debt, would decrease by that amount.  The tax stay would stay practically the same — it would decrease slightly, by $0.003 per $100. view article arw

Allen ISD voted in favor of a resolution authorizing its new tax roll for the 2021-22 fiscal year in a Monday meeting. The total appraised value within Allen ISD’s district boundaries is roughly $16.6 billion, with a total tax levy amounting to approximately $228.5 million. According to Sept. 26 documents from the Collin County Tax Office, this tax burden is shared by a total of 37,954 accounts and includes $2.2 billion worth of exemptions (which is included in the $16.6 billion calculation). view article arw

COLLEGE STATION (Texas Real Estate Research Center) – Texas’ housing market slowed in February after persistently low mortgage interest rates contributed to record sales in the existing-home sector the previous month. "Sales activity was greatly hindered by February’s unseasonably wintery weather that caused power outages and water disruptions across the state," said Dr. Luis Torres, research economist for the Texas Real Estate Research Center at Texas A&M University. Existing-homes sold through the Texas Multiple Listing Services declined 16 percent from January, drawing even with year-ago levels. Despite slower sales, the state’s existing-home inventory fell below 1.5 months in February. The number of new listings that hit the market declined for the second straight month to their lowest reading since April 2020, when the state was under a stay-at-home mandate. view article arw

Texas makes mess of taxes

May 1607:45 AM
 

Count on the Texas Legislature to come up with a painfully complicated and inefficient way to repeal a painfully complicated and inefficient tax. Lawmakers deserve praise for targeting the Texas Franchise Tax, but their methods are unsound. The franchise tax, also called the margins or business tax, ranks consistently as one of the worst taxes anywhere in the country. It was the convoluted response to the Texas Supreme Court declaring the public school finance system unconstitutional. Lawmakers had to lower property taxes to comply with the court order, so to find replacement funds they rewrote the franchise tax, what businesses pay for the privilege to operate in our great state. view article arw

The Dallas school board Thursday night voted against putting a tax ratification election before voters this fall. The proposed 13-cent tax hike would have given the district $100 million to fund early childhood education and early college high school programs. The district also wanted to expand a program that pays extra money to top teachers who take jobs in some of the district’s toughest schools. view article arw

Trustees of the Wylie Independent School District proposed a tax rate of $1.13 per $100 of property value for the 2016-17 fiscal year — a tax cut of 2.4 cents — and added more money to the proposed budget for teachers' salaries during Monday's regular board meeting. Trustees conducted their third of three workshops for the 2016-17 budget of $32.340 million and set a special meeting for Monday, Aug. 29, at 6:30 p.m. to receive comments from the public on the budget and tax rate and then consider approval. view article arw

Kilgore ISD tax rate in the air

June 2407:38 AM
 

School trustees in Kilgore began their budget-writing season Monday with an overview of what is and isn’t known about financing the 2014-15 school year. view article arw