The board voted unanimously Aug. 17 to adopt a tax rate of $1.3071 per $100 in valuation. The rate will be down $0.0319 from 2019-20, when it was $1.339 per $100 of taxable value.
The new rate is composed of $0.9781 for general operating and $0.329 for debt service. The maintenance and operations tax rate has been lowered $0.0319 from $1.01 last fiscal year, and the debt service rate remains the same as last year to help the district pay down debt, GISD Chief Financial Officer Pam Sanchez said.
“We adopt the budget in June to start the fiscal year, and then we have to wait by late July for the certified values to be release before we can set our tax rate,” Sanchez said.
The reduction is a result of House Bill 3, the school finance reform legislation Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law in June 2019. The legislation sought to provide more money for school districts by reducing the amount of recapture wealthy districts paid to the state in lieu of property tax cuts for taxpayers, according to the Texas Education Agency website.
Recapture—also known as the Robin Hood tax—is the collection of school funding from wealthier districts that is then redistributed to poor school districts in the state.
Sanchez added that this is the first year school districts are subject to the maximum compressed rate set by the TEA.
The board unanimously adopted the fiscal year 2020-21 budget on June 15.
For revenue, the district anticipates bringing in a total of $174.56 million, including local, state and federal funding. That is broken down into $130.14 million for the general fund, $5.44 million for the food service fund and $38.98 million for the debt service fund.
The budget has an anticipated $167.98 million in expenditures.
In other business:
GISD moved forward to purchase 18.33 acres of land for a future elementary school in the southwest quadrant of the district after the school board authorized GISD Superintendent Fred Brent to close on the contract.
“The land is needed in that area based on demographic studies that have been conducted for a new future elementary school,” said David Biesheuvel, GISD executive director of construction and development.
Biesheuvel said the contract to purchase the land was signed May 21, and a feasibility study has been completed.