Ordinarily, the district's tax rate would have been set by the Oct. 1 deadline for the new fiscal year, but because PfISD sought an election to raise the rate for fiscal year 2021-22 above the no new revenue rate, that figure was not set pending the election results.
On Nov. 2, residents voted against the ratification 7,620-5,938.
Had it passed, the new tax rate would have been $1.408 per $100 of property value, a decrease compared to the $1.4223 rate during the 2020-21 school year. However, the highest tax rate the board could pass without an election was $1.388, which officials set during the Nov. 18 PfISD board meeting.
In August, PfISD Chief Operating Officer Ed Ramos said if the ballot measure passed, it would allow the district to save $7.1 million. Because it failed, Ramos said the anticipated deficit next year would grow from $885,000 to more than $7 million.
Jennifer Land, the district's chief financial officer, said because property values within the district have increased substantially in the last year, revenue brought about by the $1.388 rate are still calculated at more than 17% higher than the previous year.
However, it is still the lowest tax rate the district has passed in more than two decades, Land said.
The board on Nov. 18 also voted to amend the district's FY 2021-22 budget to make up the roughly $7 million deficit the district is facing.
Essentially, the board adjusted anticipated revenue line items for local, state and federal taxes, including a reduction of $3.3 million from local tax revenue.
Following the vote to set the tax rate, board members expressed frustration with the results of the election as well as state verbiage requirements for how the district must characterize the new tax rate.
"We're not increasing our rate, but the Legislature has said that we have to say we're increasing our rate, and we're not," Board Member Tony Hanson said. "We do everything we can to make sure the district is running in the best way possible, but individuals with other motives want to take that away. I just don't like it."