As property values jump by 10%, PfISD approves reduced tax rate in 2019-20 budget

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When PfISD homeowners open their property tax bills next year, they will see the lowest tax rate the district has issued in the past 15 years.

Because of rapidly climbing property values, however, PfISD projects the average homeowner in district boundaries will see their total tax bill go up by $61.

The PfISD Board of Trustees adopted Aug. 22 the school district’s budget and property tax rate for its 2019-2020 school year.

According to PfISD documents, the new property tax rate of $1.45 per $100 valuation is the lowest rate the school has adopted in the past 15 years. However, that is above the calculated effective tax rate of $1.3427 per $100 valuation, according to PfISD documents. The effective tax rate is the rate that would generate the same amount of tax revenue if applied to properties taxed in consecutive years, according to the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts.

“Being able to get to this [tax rate]but still being able to pay our bills and pay our debt, that is a good start,” said PfISD Trustee Tony Hanson.

This comes as the district projects its total 2019-2020 revenue of taxable values at $154.16 million, a 5.46% increase from the total amount of taxes collected in the 2018-19 school year.

According to PfISD documents, the average home price in the school district in the upcoming school year projects to stand at $265,394, an increase from the prior year of more than $10,000. PfISD estimates the total property value in the district grew 10% from last year, now standing at a combined $15.1 billion.

In all, the school district increased its year over year expenditures budget by more than $17 million. For the 2019-20 school year, PfISD will spend a total $246.9 million across the board in expenditures.

The great majority of those expenditures will go towards district staff compensation. According to documents shown Aug. 22 by PfISD CFO Ed Ramos, 87% of the district’s budget is going to compensation for all district staff—including nurses, bus drivers and other non-faculty employees—with 59% going to instructors, specifically.

Trustees in June approved a minimum 6.7% pay increase for teachers, librarians, nurses, counselors and licensed professionals. The starting pay for new teachers at PfISD is now set at $50,000 annually, while the starting pay for a teacher with six years or more of experience will be $51,450.

The pay increases came after the Texas Legislature passed House Bill 3, a state education funding bill signed into law June 11. Through that bill, PfISD was awarded up to $12.03 million from the state for the 2019-20 school year.

“Had HB 3 not passed, I’m not sure we would be doing this right now,” said Vernagene Mott, president of the PfISD Board of Trustees.

PfISD’s cost per student—the ratio of its total budget spending per capita in the district—for the 2019-20 school year is 6.7% higher than the year prior, up to $9,582. Ramos told board members the district initially projected to see an enrollment increase of 1% for the upcoming school year, a projection which jumped to 2% after the numbers from the first week of the school year.

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Iain Oldman
Iain Oldman joined Community Impact Newspaper in 2017 after spending two years in Pittsburgh, Pa., where he covered Pittsburgh City Council. His byline has appeared in PublicSource, WESA-FM and Scranton-Times Tribune. Iain worked as the reporter for Community Impact Newspaper's flagship Round Rock/Pflugerville/Hutto edition and is now working as the reporter for Northwest Austin.
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