Citizen committee recommends GISD tax ratification election

A committee of citizens organized by the Georgetown ISD board of trustees met July 30 to discuss a possible tax ratification election to help raise funds for the district. After nearly an hour of discussion, the group unanimously voted to recommend the board approve calling an election in October.

The board of trustees appointed the committee July 16. The group met twice to discuss the possible election with GISD Superintendent Joe Dan Lee, who said the district was at a critical point with its funding.

The board of trustees will consider calling the election at an Aug. 6 meeting. If approved, the board could ask voters to approve a 4-cent per $100 valuation tax increase on Oct. 9. If approved, the district's maintenance and operations portion of the tax rate would increase from $1.04 to $1.08 per $100 valuation.

"It is becoming more of a challenge with the resources we have to continue to provide the same level of services to our students," Lee told the committee at its July 23 meeting.

In the last two years the district has cut more than $7 million from its budget due to funding reductions from the state and federal government, he said.

The 4-cent tax increase would raise nearly $2.2 million for the district, which would help cover a nearly $600,000 deficit in the 2012–13 budget, said Steve West, GISD's Interim chief financial officer.

Lee said additional monies raised with the increased tax could help fund needed transportation and technology costs or teacher raises; however, the money would most likely be put in the fund balance until the district knows the future of education funding in the state Legislature.

"We feel confident that [the 4 cents] will carry us through the next two years," Lee said. "We are not going to spend this additional money until we know what our financial future is going to be. We're not going to spend it all this year and be in this situation again."

Lee said if the 4 cents were not approved, the district would have to make additional budget reductions.



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