Pearland ISD's board of trustees approved a tax rate of $1.3585 per $100 valuation for fiscal year 2020-21 at its Aug. 11 meeting, triggering a Voter-Approval Tax Rate Election, or VATRE. The election Nov. 3 will determine whether the district receives an additional $10 million from the state and local funds.

Of the $10 million, 65% would be state-funded and 35% would be funded locally. For the district to receive the additional $10 million, the voters must approve four golden pennies for the tax rate. If the ballot measure fails, the tax rate will drop to $1.3185 per $100 valuation.

According to PISD Chief Financial Officer Jorgannie Carter, if the ballot measure passes, the money will help fund:

  • The Connect:ED device initiative, which allows every student to receive a device from the district;

  • Competitive compensation packages for teachers and staff;

  • Reinstating funding cuts made during the last two years;

  • 2020 Strategic Goals specifically providing resources for students;

  • Expenditures related to the coronavirus pandemic, including electronic textbooks, PPE, and cleaning and sanitation supplies; and

  • Money that may be cut by the 87th State Legislature.

Due to decisions made by the 86th State Legislature, the tax rate in the school district was compressed. The district’s FY 2020-21 rate was compressed due to the 11.76% increase in property taxes.

“Let me remind you that the fact our property values grew by 11.76% doesn’t mean that we get to keep the money. It means that the funding we get from the state is lower. The only way we can generate additional money is by asking for those four additional pennies,” Carter said at the district’s Aug. 11 board meeting.

One of the four golden pennies could have been approved with a unanimous vote by the board of trustees instead of the voters at the Aug. 11 meeting. However, the vote failed 6-1, with former trustee Mike Floyd voting against the measure.

If the additional four cents pass, the total tax rate will still be lower than the FY 2019-20 rate, which was $1.3956 per $100 valuation.