Spring ISD’s budget for fiscal year 2022-23—which was unanimously approved by trustees on June 14—saw a $5.4 million increase in general fund dollars being dedicated to instructional costs. Instructional costs—which covers payroll and professional development training for teachers, teacher aides, librarians, instructional coaches and supplies, according to SISD—makes up 56.4% of the FY 2022-23 budget’s general fund cost, or just over $200.8 million. This category took up 1.4% more than the FY 2021-22 budgeted general fund, even though a smaller amount—nearly $195.5 million—was budgeted. The FY 2022-23 Instructional Leadership function saw a $2.7 million increase compared to the FY 2021-22 budget, at roughly $11.2 million and $8.5 million, respectively. This budget item covers salaries and material costs for principals, assistant principals and central office personnel, according to SISD. view article arw

The Leander ISD board of trustees unanimously approved a $451.9 million general fund budget for fiscal year 2022-23 during its June 23 meeting. Included in that approval is a pay increase of 5% on the midpoint for teachers, nurses and counselors; a 4% midpoint raise for all other staff; a $15 per hour minimum hourly wage; and an increased substitute pay rate. The budget also includes a starting teacher salary of $53,520 and 82 new full-time positions to support the opening of North Elementary School and the Early College High School in August. Of the proposed general fund expenditures, 79.8% go toward payroll, according to district documents. Furthermore, the upcoming year’s budget expenditures are $71.5 million more than the 2021-22 projected actual expenditures. A bulk of these increases are in payroll. view article arw

McAllen ISD trustees voted to direct administration to prepare for a voter-approval tax rate election Thursday, although calling that election will require another board vote and more wrangling over expenses on the board is inbound. The election would allow trustees to ask the community to raise the district’s maintenance and operations tax rate by a possible 4.14 cents. Expense wrangling is liable to focus on innovative special projects funded through federal ESSER funds and approved by the board over the past school year, among them a $2 million commitment to IMAS, a $4 million commitment to Quinta Mazatlán and a $12.5 million investment in a collegiate high school. The prospect of the election came up during the board’s struggle to approve a compensation plan over the past couple of months. view article arw

Plano ISD approved a proposed budget with a $38.9 million deficit and a lower ad valorem tax rate for the 2022-23 fiscal year as the district navigates ongoing inflationary challenges. The motion for approval was made in a Plano ISD Board of Trustees meeting on Tuesday. The proposed budget accounts for $698 million in general fund revenue against $737 million in general fund expenditures. Of these expenses, an estimated 67% ($311 million) will be spent on instruction. Payroll expenditures for the upcoming fiscal year include a 4% pay increase for teachers, librarians and nurses, and a 3% pay increase for all other employees. Starting salaries for teachers with Bachelor's degrees and no prior education experience will be floored at $58,250, while those teachers with Master's degrees and no prior education experience will be at $60,250. Additional costs for employee recruitment and retention include a $1,000 retention/new employee stipend for teachers, a $500 retention/new employee stipend for all other employees and an increase in health insurance plan contributions to $315 per month.    (24) view article arw

The Liberty Hill Independent School District Board of Trustees approved a measure June 20 that will see a portion of the Larkspur subdivision detach from the district and be absorbed by Leander ISD as part of a land swap agreement between the two school districts. In all, 25 students living in the disputed area of the subdivision will be allowed to continue attending Leander ISD schools as opposed to having to transfer to Liberty Hill ISD schools. The affected families moved into the development with the belief they were part of Leander ISD and have been attending those schools under that false assumption, but under terms of the agreement between the school districts will now be allowed to continue matriculating through their present schools. view article arw

The College Station school board will continue discussions about a voter-approved tax ratification election at its monthly board workshop and meeting Tuesday. The tax ratification election, also known as a TRE, was introduced in a special budget workshop on May 31. If ordered by the board and approved by voters, the revenue received through the TRE would go into the general fund with administrators recommending it be put toward compensation, Amy Drozd, chief financial officer for the district, said. While the district is asking for additional cents with the TRE, Drozd said taxpayers would still see an overall lower tax rate due to compression required by the state as a result of the property value growth.   (21) view article arw

he College Station school board approved two compensation plans, one based on the district’s current budget and a second that would be implemented if the board calls for a voter-approved tax ratification election and voters approve the move in November. Amy Drozd, chief financial officer for the College Station school district, presented both plans during the district’s monthly workshop and meeting Tuesday. Both plans together would amount to $6.1 million in raises to employees. Plan A, based on the original budget, would see the beginning teacher pay increase to $47,725 from $47,000. Salary increases would be 2% from the base pay for teachers, librarians and nurses, 2% of the pay grade midpoint for professionals, clerical and auxiliary staff members and 2% of the pay grade midpoint for administrators. view article arw

When state lawmakers last year decided to kill a ballooning economic incentive program that had allowed some of the country’s biggest corporations to collectively avoid paying billions of dollars in school property taxes, it shocked even the program’s many critics.  But legislators left gaping loopholes in the law, known as Chapter 313.  Instead of shutting down the program immediately, they let it fade away over the course of a year. A tidal wave of applicants has now rushed to seek billions of additional dollars in last-minute tax breaks before it shuts down. view article arw

The Plano ISD board of trustees is looking to decrease the district's tax rate for the fourth straight year. At its May 17 meeting, the board scheduled a public meeting to discuss the proposed tax rate of $1.27935 per $100 valuation and budget for fiscal year 2022-23. The public meeting will be held during the board's next scheduled regular meeting on June 21. view article arw

KILGORE — The city of Kilgore has entered into an agreement with Kilgore ISD to forgive past-due taxes on properties at the site of the former King’s Mobile Home Park on Fritz Swanson Road. The school district acquired the property from the city and slated it for use on its ongoing high school construction project. Demolition at the site began in 2020 after the last residents moved out of the park. “We did a phenomenal job of closing on these properties, but on each of them there was a small residual amount (in taxes) that then accrued penalties in interest that remain unpaid,” City Manager Josh Selleck told council members at a recent meeting. “We recognized that there were past due taxes on these properties and the school district, and the city represent over two-thirds of the total tax bill and, as such, we agreed with each other that we would forgive the past due amounts and then figure out what to do with the residuals. We are forgiving the taxes that otherwise we would have to pay ourselves.” view article arw

PERRIN – Perrin-Whitt CISD lost its appeal with the Texas Association of Tax Assessors, which will force the district to be creative with its funding for next year’s budget. PWCISD Superintendent Cliff Gilmore told board members the district had been fighting a battle with local district appraisal values in Jack County for years, PWCISD officials believing the local valuation was coming in way too low as the difference between state and local valuations was something to the tune of $40 million. That affected the amount of money the state gave them as well. The district hired tax attorneys Brandon, Fielders, Collins, Mott and Perdue for an appeal and lost. “We were told that houses in the area were selling at state valuation not local valuation, which is the reason we lost,” Gilmore explained. Gilmore said the district’s still to be used ESSER money will be used for payroll this summer. Gilmore said the district not using all of its 2022 budget will also help meet budget. view article arw

A tax rate of $1.2558 per $100 valuation has been proposed for fiscal year 2022-23 in Grapevine-Colleyville ISD. At a May 23 meeting, the GCISD board of trustees scheduled a public meeting to discuss the upcoming tax rate and budget for the next school year. The public meeting will be held on June 20. The preliminary proposed property tax rate of $1.2558 per $100 valuation is about a 1.51% decrease from the fiscal year 2021-22 rate of $1.2751 per $100 valuation, according to district documents. The tax rate is divided into two parts—maintenance and operations, or M&O, which funds daily operations for the city, and interest and sinking, or I&S, which is used to make debt payments on capital projects. view article arw

Austin ISD trustees accepted an application from NXP Semiconductors for an agreement that would give the chipmaking company tax incentives to expand its Austin facilities, and keep millions of dollars out of the district’s recapture payment.  The board authorized the application’s submission to the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts for review and approval at a May 19 meeting. Five trustees voted in favor. District 2 trustee Ofelia Zapata and District 8 trustee Noelita Lugo voted against, while District 9 trustee Arati Singh abstained.  The board reviewed a presentation on the proposed agreement between AISD and NXP last week. NXP’s proposal is based on Texas state law Chapter 313, which allows public school districts to offer companies that build up property and create jobs in their communities up to 10 years of property tax breaks. In exchange, the companies pay for a portion of the district’s property taxes. view article arw

The Bonham ISD Board of Trustees was shocked and disappointed to hear the comments made by Commissioner Magness during the commissioner’s court meeting last week. Mr. Magness, frustrated with taxpayer complaints, insinuated that because school districts are the recipient of a larger percent of property taxes they indiscriminately spend such funds and should be followed closer by the media. Furthermore, Commissioner Magness stated that school district projects are the reason for the increase in property tax valuations. As a matter of relevance, Bonham ISD has no bearing on the appraised value of a person’s property. view article arw

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Beto O'Rourke is blaming Gov. Greg Abbott for high inflation in Texas, taking a page out of the GOP playbook in attacking President Joe Biden. O'Rourke released an Instagram video on April 23 with the caption, "Greg Abbott is the single greatest driver of inflation in the state of Texas." TV news clips were stitched together with clips of O'Rourke speaking. In one clip in the montage, O'Rourke says, "Under Greg Abbott, property taxes have gone up $20 billion." O'Rourke went on to say, "When you add this to the other inflation that he's causing ..." with more clips pointing to electricity bills, traffic backups at the border in April due to additional commercial vehicle inspections Abbott ordered that he said would improve border security, and the rising costs of internet and phone for rural Texans. view article arw

An exceptionally high bid for a significant Quinta Mazatlán expansion project forced the city to reject the bid last month and head back to the drawing board in search of cost-saving measures. The project was anticipated to cost about $34.5 million. SpawGlass, the sole contractor to bid the project, submitted a bid of $59.846 million. That prompted the city commission to reject t view article arw

The governor of Texas now supports eliminating the largest component of Texans’ rising property tax bills. Governor Greg Abbott told KPRC 2 Houston this week, “I strongly support using the state surplus to reduce the amount of property taxes owed.” He then stated the Texas legislature should eliminate the school district Maintenance and Operations (M&O) tax rate in a lasting manner, not a one-time buydown. “This has to be done in a way so mathematically it can be calculated so if we put in a billion or five billion whatever, it will be enduring for every year into the future,” he added. Put together, this outline of a policy is essentially the Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF) plan called “Lower Taxes, Better Texas.” view article arw

The company would get a tax break, and Austin ISD would get to keep $67 million out of recapture.   Austin ISD is considering giving a tax break to a semiconductor chip producer that wants to expand its facilities.  On Tuesday night, the school board heard a presentation about NXP's request for Chapter 313 exemptions.  Essentially, the company would get a tax break, and Austin ISD would get to keep $67 million out of recapture. That means the money would stay in the district, rather than get pulled by the state to fund other districts. view article arw

FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) - Voters across the state voted on May 7 to pass two constitutional amendments intended to address rising property taxes. The first amendment limits ad valorem taxes for schools. It passed with 87% support. The second increases the homestead exemption from $25,000 to $40,000. It passed with 85% of the vote. Governor Greg Abbott declared the amendments a "victory for all property owners in Texas" in a tweet. view article arw

For too long, state lawmakers have taken snipes at public schools. From the 1970s through the 2010s and beyond, funding formulas have been revised, lawsuits filed and temporary cuts made permanent. Now, legislators are asking you to do their work. They’re drafting voters, already fed up with taxes and inflation, to be the front-line soldiers in their war on education. Two constitutional amendments would reduce school property taxes for the elderly and disabled as well as increase the homestead exemption for school property taxes. The overall effect is taxes collected by local school districts, like the Victoria Independent School District, would be reduced. In theory, the state would make up this shortfall. view article arw

Almost every Gregg County taxing entity would see property values increase this year by between at least 3-15%, according to estimates released this week by the Gregg Appraisal District. That means most property owners will pay higher property taxes. The appraisal district recently sent notices of estimated property values — they won't be finalized until close to the end of July — to Gregg County cities, schools and emergency services districts. "I think it's general knowledge that we are in a robust market for real estate, and the values we place on the properties are based on property sales," said Chief Appraiser Libby Neely. "From what we're seeing, there hasn't been much slow down continuing into this year." view article arw

With local property values on the rise and more development coming by the day, Pflugerville ISD’s tax base is larger than ever—but officials said the district may not be better off financially because of it.  According to the Travis County Appraisal District, the median taxable value of a home in Pflugerville ISD went up from $257,557 in 2021 to $287,944 in 2022, an 11.8% increase.  However, PfISD Superintendent Doug Killian said the rising property values have created more problems for the district than they have solved.  “[High property values have] exactly the opposite effect of what you’d think for our school finance,” Killian said. “The more property wealthy we are, the less state aid we receive—we just collect more of it local.” view article arw

A group of young women have teamed up with a prestigious Houston law firm to get the state to stop charging sales tax on menstrual products, arguing they qualify as “wound care dressings.” On a Friday afternoon last March, Sahar Punjwani ran a familiar errand — buying tampons, pads and panty liners. But this time, she was joined by lawyers from a prestigious Houston law firm.  “It was weird because we were all crowded into the aisle together, and they were just watching me, waiting for me to hand them my receipt,” Punjwani recalls.  That receipt showed that Punjwani had spent $21.56 on menstrual products — and $1.78 on sales tax.    (4) view article arw

If you’ve recently received your property appraisal and your response is, “Holy @$%—this is nuts!” you’re not alone in your expletive-filled reaction. Many Texans have received eye-popping estimates of their homes’ appraised values. Residential appraisals are up 15 to 30 percent in Harris County, 20 percent in Tarrant County, 24 percent in Dallas County, 25 percent in Bexar County, and 53 percent in Travis County, and I could go on. view article arw

Wise County’s housing boom is not slowing down. For a second straight year, the county is adding a record amount of new residential construction. According to preliminary values released this week by the Wise County Appraisal District, the county added $338 million in residential construction in the past year. With another $3 million in multi-family, $30 million in commercial and […] view article arw

The satisfaction of cruising past gas stations without needing to pull in for a fill-up is among the joys of driving an electric vehicle.  It comes with a downside for the state's finances, however, because taxes on the sale of gasoline foot a big portion of the tab for road maintenance and expansion projects in Texas.  The Texas Legislature has noticed.  The number of "alternatively fueled vehicles" in the state — including electric vehicles and all types of hybrids — constitutes only about 1.3% of the 25.2 million vehicles registered here.  But lawmakers are looking to enact new fees on them to make up for the dearth of gas taxes their drivers pay. Similar efforts have failed during previous legislative sessions, but momentum appears to have reached a tipping point. view article arw

People who own property in the Austin area recently received new valuations from the local appraisal district. This number, known as your appraised value, estimates what your property would currently sell for in Austin’s record-breaking housing market. The appraisals are a lot higher than they were last year. According to the Travis Central Appraisal District, on average, appraised values rose 56% over the past year.  People who own property in the Austin area recently received new valuations from the local appraisal district. This number, known as your appraised value, estimates what your property would currently sell for in Austin’s record-breaking housing market.  The appraisals are a lot higher than they were last year. According to the Travis Central Appraisal District, on average, appraised values rose 56% over the past year. view article arw

Belton ISD’s taxable value estimates for current properties total $5.9 billion for 2022 — 24.37% higher than the certified value total of $4.8 billion for 2021, according to information from the Tax Appraisal District of Bell County. However, that preliminary estimate would fall to $5,770,874,309 if Texas voters pass a constitutional amendment during the May 7 election that would increase the homestead exemption for independent school district property taxes from $25,000 to $40,000. view article arw

Public schools in Texas are funded largely by local property taxes and, as property values soar in Texas, many property tax bills are also poised to grow.  Texas law grants homeowners some tax relief through what are called homestead exemptions, which reduce for qualifying homeowners the amount of a home’s value that can be taxed.  And Texas voters have the chance in a May 7 constitutional amendment election to expand homestead exemptions that could lower the amount of property values upon which property taxes can be levied. view article arw

Belton ISD’s taxable value estimates for current properties total $5.9 billion for 2022 — 24.37% higher than the certified value total of $4.8 billion for 2021, according to information from the Tax Appraisal District of Bell County.  However, that preliminary estimate would fall to $5,770,874,309 if Texas voters pass a constitutional amendment during the May 7 election that would increase the homestead exemption for independent school district property taxes from $25,000 to $40,000. view article arw

AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — The Potter-Randall Appraisal District sent out notices of appraisal value for property owners on Friday, April 22, noting a sharp increase on average.  PRAD said property owners in Potter and Randall Counties will see increases of 25% on average to account for the changing market conditions and to reflect value as of January 1, 2022. “We’re tasked with appraising all the properties in Potter and Randall county, and state law requires us to appraise properties at 100% Market Value. So every year when we do our appraisals, that’s what we’re trying to do is appraise on that market value as of January 1,” said Jeffrey Dagley, PRAD’s chief appraiser. “We’re looking at what the values should be based on what the market is doing and we’re just following what’s actually happening in the market. We’re not determining those values that are out there in the marketplace.” view article arw

The average home value in Bastrop County rose by 43.55% this year, up from $229,787 in 2021 to $329,863 as of Jan. 1, according to the Bastrop Central Appraisal District. “The market value reflected on the appraisal notice will be a significate increase,” chief appraiser Faun Cullens said. “However, the increase in what a person owes in property taxes is unlikely to be proportional to the increase in home values. Those properties with a qualified homestead exemption will see a cap of 10% on the amount the assessed value increased.”    (25) view article arw

Texas school districts, cities and counties rely heavily on property taxes to pay for roads, libraries, police, firefighters and public schools. But lowering tax bills has long been a difficult endeavor. As Texas’ exploding real estate market dramatically drives up home values, homeowners are getting sticker shock after receiving notice of their properties’ new appraised values — which help determine how much they pay in property taxes.  The growth rate of home values in the state’s major metropolitan areas has surged by double digits. In Harris County, the state’s most populous county, residential values have risen between 15% and 30%, according to Roland Altinger, the county’s chief appraiser.  In Bexar County, the median value of a home appreciated nearly 25% to $265,540.    (22) view article arw

AUSTIN — Texas state lawmakers are working to address convoluted proposition language that leaves voters confused at the ballot box. When ballot measures are written, they often are wordy and filled with complex, dense technical terms and can make it difficult for voters to decipher how they choose to vote and what the outcome of that vote would be. The Texas Senate Committee on Local Government took up the issue Wednesday speaking with government officials and advocates on how to approach language selections in the future. “At the end of the day, the most important thing is to be honest with the voters on what they're voting on,” said Committee Vice-Chair Sen. Jose Menendez, D-San Antonio. Lawmakers highlighted the language used in the upcoming May 7 election where two statewide amendments are on the ballot. The first proposition in particular is wordy and can be difficult to interpret upon the first read.    (22) view article arw

Based on the Fort Worth Report’s investigation into Bridges’ accusation, the Tarrant Appraisal District is starting a review into the homestead exemption of the house Dixon owns at 1104 E. Leuda St. When the Report visited the home this week, someone other than Dixon was living there. view article arw