Voters passed San Felipe Del Rio CISD Tax Ratification Election Tuesday, providing the district with millions of dollars in additional funding, district officials say.
The election passed with 4,811 votes in favor and 4,561 opposed, a margin of only 2.66 percent, according to the unofficial election results.
The results will become official after the school board canvasses the ballots.
“We want to thank all of the voters who cast their ballot for the proposition and shared the facts about the TRE with thereof families and friends,” said Superintendent Dr. Carlos Rios. “Having the TRE proposition on a uniform election day was a difficult challenge, but our district and students prevailed. We are excited to move forward with the means to make safety improvements to our schools, provide our employees with cost of living increases and insurance benefits in the years to come.”
The tax ratification will move 12 cents of the $1.1598 property tax rate from the district’s Interest and Sinking fund into the district’s Maintenance and Operations fund, said SFDRCISD Chief Financial Officer Yanakany Valdez. This change will provide the district an additional $3.5 million in 2018 and an additional $1.6 million in following years, she said.
“We can do a whole lot with the additional funds that we will be receiving as result of the passing of this proposition,” said Board of Trustees President Raymond Meza. “It has taken all of us together to get this district to the level of success that it’s already achieved and it’ll take that same level of community engagement in order to maintain a district that people want to move to.”
Dax Gonzalez, Governmental Relations Division Director for the Texas Association of School Boards, said school districts across the state, including Dallas, Greenville and Frisco ISDs, are turning to TREs to gain more funding to compensate for the state’s declining contributions.
According to data from a Legislative Budget Board, provided by Gonzalez, since 2010 the state has increased its public education spending from $44 to $55 billion, but in terms of “constant dollars,” which takes inflation into consideration, spending has actually decreased to $41 billion in today’s dollars.
“Essentially a TRE is when a district is trying to generate more revenue when they can’t sustain or develop the programs and services they’d like to provide to their students,” Gonzalez said. “What has happened over the past decade is the state has not increased its support of public education.”
According to reports, Texas Education Agency Commissioner Mike Morath recently projected a $3.5 billion drop in the state’s contributions to public education due to increased property values state-wide.