At the special meeting of the Katy ISD board of trustees March 23, KISD Chief Financial Officer Christopher J. Smith provided an update on the 2020-21 school year budget.  “We are going to be able to lower the tax rate,” Smith said. “The question is, how much? And we won’t know that until summertime.”  He estimates KISD will lower its maintenance and operations tax rate $0.016 due to House Bill 3, a school finance reform law passed during the 86th legislative session. view article arw

Dysfunctional. Inequitable. Absurd.  Texas relies heavily on property taxes to fund schools, police and fire departments, local health districts and other essential services. But when it’s time to calculate the property values that will be used in those tax bills, Texas law puts appraisal districts in an impossible bind. Appraisers must determine the market value of each tract – the price it would likely fetch if the owner put it up for sale – without having access to actual property sales data in that community. view article arw

Following a Feb. 12 announcement from the Travis Central Appraisal District that it will not appraise residential properties this year, Eanes ISD is seeking more information regarding the TCAD’s reappraisal plans for 2020.  The TCAD’s statement was in response to the Austin Board of Realtors sending the district a cease-and-desist order in May, which prohibited the TCAD from using ABoR’s market data in the appraisal process.  According to that order, which Community Impact Newspaper obtained from the TCAD, ABoR will not license its database “for establishing property values for tax purposes” or “grant licenses to any participant, subscriber, or third party to sublicense the [database] for establishing property values for tax purposes.” view article arw

The Tidehaven ISD Board of Trustees accepted an application request for a tax abatement from a company looking to build a solar power farm partially in the district.  Sunchase Power made a presentation to the board Monday night during its regular meeting about the project, which would cover around 3,600 acres. Portions of the property where the project is proposed to be built sit in both Tidehaven ISD and El Campo ISD along the Matagorda and Wharton County lines. view article arw

Please allow me to share facts from the Central Appraisal District regarding the amount of tax money which will be generated from one solar farm planning to invest in Louise ISD, the hospital, fire departments, ambulance services, groundwater and Farm-to-Market roads in Wharton County.  All of these entities will benefit financially if the commissioners court will accept a 40 percent abatement for five years. view article arw

Please allow me to share facts from the Central Appraisal District regarding the amount of tax money which will be generated from one solar farm planning to invest in Louise ISD, the hospital, fire departments, ambulance services, groundwater and Farm-to-Market roads in Wharton County. All of these entities will benefit financially if the commissioners court will accept a 40 percent abatement for five years. view article arw

NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - You may have called the study home economics. The study has been called human sciences for decades. Now it’s undergoing more transformation.  The point was made as Nacogdoches High School students toured SFA’s School of Human Sciences. Faculty and students told them there are now so many specialized human science fields, which has led to a shortage of teachers. view article arw

SINTON, Texas — Students with interests in health care and the medical field are well on their way over at the Sinton Independent School District.  On Wednesday, Sinton ISD was awarded a $190,569 Jobs and Education (JET) grant by the Texas Workforce Commission.  The grant presentation took place at Sinton High School inside the Health Science Lab early Wednesday afternoon. view article arw

Kilgore ISD trustees were told Monday night that a recent settlement offer from plaintiffs in a longstanding lawsuit against the district was rejected and that the district will consult tonight with its attorney on the next step it should take. Axberg vs. Kilgore ISD, filed in September 2016 on behalf of Gregg County plaintiffs Darlene Axberg, John Axberg and Sheila Anderson, alleges the district improperly collected taxes after repealing its long-standing local option homestead exemption in 2015. The plaintiffs say the district’s repeal was a violation of what was at the time a newly passed school reform law. view article arw

Speculation of a potential 28% decline in lake front property value has Seguin ISD taking a hard look at what the decreases could mean in terms of local and state funding.  What the district found was there would be minimal impact on the maintenance and operations side due to the new state funding system; however, there could be some decline in funding on the debt service side of the budget. view article arw

Local voters in August supported Clarksville ISD’s tax ratification request to prevent compression of its property tax rate, as called for by new state funding formulas, and the move is paying off for the district.  Trustees were surprised to learn the school district collected more than $100,000 more in funding in January than in January 2019, Superintendent Kermit Ward said.  “What we also learned in last month’s audit was that we added almost $300,000 to the fund balance, which is significant for a district the size of Clarksville,” Ward said. “We’re a little bit more healthy, and what that does is it allows us to act with a little more aggression about providing more opportunities for our kids.”   (02/27) view article arw

At its Dec. 17 meeting, the McKinney ISD Board of Trustees authorized a special “attendance credit election” to be held on May 2 that calls upon the community to vote for or against the method by which it makes mandatory payments to the state. In doing so, MISD joins six other Texas school districts, including Allen ISD and Little Elm ISD, in calling for a special election.   (02/24) view article arw

AUSTIN — Texans are so worried about funding for education and low pay for teachers that 6 in 10 people said they are willing to support higher taxes to better fund local schools, a poll recently released by the advocacy group Raise Your Hand Texas shows. Teacher pay is too low, according to 70 percent of the respondents who participated in the inaugural statewide poll of Texans’ attitudes toward public education. About 62 percent prefer a political candidate who supporters higher school funding over a candidate who wants to reduce or hold funding steady. view article arw

Texas voters still think that property taxes are too high and that the state spends too little on public education, according to the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll.  Local property taxes are a key source of funding for public education, and last year’s Texas legislative session was focused on those two issues. Lawmakers sought to increase the state’s share of public education spending and to increase incentives for local school districts to hold down property tax increases. view article arw

AUSTIN, Texas — The Austin Board of Realtors (ABoR) released new numbers showing how much home prices rose from January 2019 to January 2020.  According to ABoR, within the Austin city limits, prices grew by about 13% and the average home price is now $384,000.  But a lot more people are moving to other Central Texas counties, increasing home prices in the surrounding area as well. Both Hays and Bastrop counties' prices increased by about 29%. view article arw

Got sales data on Travis County homes? If so, the county’s chief appraiser wants to hear from you.Marya Crigler, chief appraiser for the Travis Central Appraisal District, pleaded Wednesday for anyone with home sales data to share it with her office, to help her assess residential properties at their current market value.  “I’m making a very open and public plea: If you can provide us information, step forward. We need it to be able to do our job,” Crigler said at the appraisal district’s regular board meeting. “I’m throwing myself on the mercy of anyone that can help us to get assistance. ... I’m begging for it. It is a struggle for the appraisal district.”  Crigler told the board that her office’s inability to obtain residential sales data forced her recent decision to not reappraise residential properties for 2020 -- a move that local school districts say will have dire consequences for their budgets. view article arw

Texas voters still think that property taxes are too high and that the state spends too little on public education, according to the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll.  Local property taxes are a key source of funding for public education, and last year’s Texas legislative session was focused on those two issues. Lawmakers sought to increase the state’s share of public education spending and to increase incentives for local school districts to hold down property tax increases. view article arw

AUSTIN, Texas — The Travis County Appraisal District said they will not be re-appraising homes this year. They're having a tough time figuring out what homes are worth and they're blaming the Austin Board of Realtors.   That will have a big impact on local school districts that rely on property tax dollars.  view article arw

Millions of dollars for Austin-area schools are potentially in jeopardy in the wake of this week’s abrupt announcement that residential property values in the fast-growing region won’t be reappraised this year, throwing budget planning efforts into disarray and spurring calls for intervention by the Legislature.  “It would create a hole in the budget that there is no way we would have anticipated,” said Tom Leonard, superintendent of the Eanes school district. “We assumed there was going to be some increase in the values of property in Austin.”  A preliminary analysis by the Eanes district on Austin’s western edge indicates that no change to residential property valuations within its boundaries likely will cost it $2 million to $3 million in next year’s budget, Leonard said, compared with what it had been anticipating. view article arw

The North Lamar ISD Board of Trustees unanimously voted Monday, Feb. 10 to call a $48,915,000 bond election for May 2, 2020. Trustees approved the NLISD Community Advisory Committee’s recommendation of a school bond package that will be presented on the ballot in three propositions with a tax increase of .2039 cents, for a total tax rate of $1.1739 per $100 of property value. Area school tax rates include Paris ISD at 1.3534 cents, Honey Grove ISD at 1.28 cents, Rivercrest ISD at 1.28 cents, Cooper ISD at 1.2784 cents, Chisum at $1.15 cents, Prairiland ISD at 1.0995 cents and Clarksville ISD at $1.06 cents. view article arw

I, GREG ABBOTT, Governor of the State of Texas, certified on January 3, 2020, that exceptional drought conditions posed a threat of imminent disaster in Bandera, Bell, Blanco, Burnet, Karnes, Kendall, Kinney, Liano, Maverick, McCulloch, Medina, Real, Uvalde, Val Verde, Williamson, Zapata, and Zavala counties. I hereby certify that exceptional drought conditions continue to pose a threat of imminent disaster in Bell, Blanco, Burnet, Karnes, Kinney, Liano, Maverick, Real, Uvalde, Val Verde, Williamson, Zapata, and Zavala counties, and that the conditions also now threaten Anderson, Burleson, Cherokee, Dimmit, Freestone, Henderson, Jackson, Navarro, and Smith counties. view article arw

RepostA sizable herd of people in business suits gathered in a government hearing room this week to talk about tax law.  So why are you reading this? Because that herd was fighting about where some of your local sales taxes go — namely the sales tax from online purchases. That money doesn’t always go to the place where you live and work. view article arw

KILGORE — A yearslong lawsuit filed against Kilgore ISD by three Gregg County taxpayers might finally by nearing a conclusion.  Dulweber heard final arguments and said he would issue a decision in seven to 10 days.  Filed in 2016, the lawsuit alleges the district improperly repealed its local option homestead exemption in 2015, and the plaintiffs — John Claude Axberg, Darlene Axberg and Sheila Anderson — are suing for property taxes they say were collected when they should have been exempt.  Kilgore ISD rescinded its 20% exemption, which the district had maintained for decades, in May 2015 after the Texas Legislature’s introduction of a constitutional amendment and Senate Bill 1 that mandated Texas school districts could not remove or reduce their local option homestead exemptions from the amount set for the 2014 tax year through the 2019 tax year. The amendment also mandated an increase in the amount of taxable property covered by the exemption.  In his arguments, Kilgore ISD attorney Dennis Eichelbaum said the district’s local option homestead exemption, which was established in the 1980s, should have been exempt from the 2015 bill because the legislation as written only addressed such exemptions established in fiscal year 2014. view article arw

A Dallas judge is considering whether a Lancaster school board member can continue to serve as a volunteer advocate for students with special needs in the district.  Carolyn Morris, who was elected to the board last year, says she’s been a parent advocate for children with physical or learning disabilities for 30 years. The work allows her to sit in on meetings between parents and teachers to speak on behalf of students when decisions are made about their eligibility for special education classes.  Lancaster ISD says that’s a conflict of interest. view article arw

Don't know how much of this is true but you need to read it. -js - In a huge victory for taxpayers, a North Texas resident has won a three-year fight to hold her local school district accountable for unlawfully using tax dollars to promote a school tax increase. view article arw

Muenster ISD makes way for wind farm

January 0808:30 AM
 

Members of the Muenster Independent School District Board of Trustees are hoping for extra revenue from development of a wind farm in the area.  During a specially called board meeting Wednesday, Dec. 18, board members agreed to approve a Chapter 313 tax abatement with Texas  Comptroller Glenn Hegar’s Office for Wildcat Creek Wind Farm LLC. - All members were present; however, Matt Sicking abstained from the vote. view article arw

The Superintendent’s Budget Advisory Council reviewed projects funded, in process and completed with funds from the tax ratification election passed in 2018. This was the first meeting in several months and of the new year.  The meeting was held in the Ector County ISD  administration building.  Superintendent Scott Muri said the first meeting of the facilities review committee meeting was held in December. About 140 people gathered for that.  “They will spend the next six months together looking at the facilities and the need for facilities across our system,” Muri said. 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