Editor's note: This story was updated to reflect the most current revenue estimates in the district

To balance the district’s budget, the New Braunfels ISD board of trustees voted to call a Nov. 7 election to ask voters to authorize the addition of three pennies to the district’s tax rate.

Diving in deeper

According to district officials, since the adopted tax rate for fiscal year 2023-24 of $1.0419 per $100 valuation exceeds the voter-approval tax rate by three pennies, the district is required to hold an election to approve the new tax rate adopted by the board of trustees.

The voter-approval tax rate election, also referred to as VATRE, will be held Nov. 7 and ratify the action the board took on Aug. 21 to increase the tax rate, if approved. The additional funding will go toward maintenance and operations in the district, which pays for operating expenses as well as teacher and staff compensation in the district.

If voters approve the tax rate in the VATRE election, the district will see an estimated $2.5 million net increase in revenue, which will provide funding for educational programs, including programs originally funded with COVID-19 funding, according to a news release.

“The decision to call for the VATRE did not come lightly,” NBISD Superintendent Laurelyn Arterbury said. “Without the additional three pennies, the district would have a $4.5 million budget deficit if we continued to offer at least the same level of educational programming for our students.”

Arterbury said she looks forward to visiting with the community about how this election will impact our students and staff.

The background

The state had a record budget surplus this legislative session that was partially used to fund reductions in school district tax rates and a proposed increase in the homestead exemption from $40,000 to $100,000. School district tax rates were compressed by as much as $0.18 per $100 valuation across the state, according to district officials.

If the VATRE is approved by voters in November, the tax rate for FY 2023-24 will be a $0.1535 reduction from the tax rate approved by the board last year, compared to an $0.1835 reduction if voters reject the proposition.

What’s next?

If the proposition passes, the district will receive funding on an additional three pennies, and the budget will be funded for the fiscal year. If the election does not pass, the district will propose the use of the general fund's fund balance to meet the financial shortfall for FY 2023-24, according to a news release.

District officials said they do not intend to use the general fund's fund balance to fund shortfalls on an annual basis, and NBISD officials would need to consider options to reduce expenditures or find alternative revenue sources going forward if the state does not pass a school funding bill in a future legislative session.

“It’s important to remember that in this voter-approval tax rate election, we’re giving the choice back to our stakeholders,” NBISD Board Secretary Steve Minus said. “We encourage everyone to participate in the upcoming election.”