While district officials were disappointed the measure failed, it is not surprising, Superintendent John Kelly said in an email.
“While we are disappointed that the VATRE did not pass, we think it is understandable,” Kelly said. “Most people coming to vote during this election cycle were focused on other matters. So, we found it difficult to adequately inform the vast number of voters anticipated during election.”
Kelly also said he thinks the state-mandated wording on the ballot might have discouraged some voters as well.
“The state required wording for the VATRE item on the ballot was difficult to understand and misleading,” Kelly said. “The language could not inform voters that their tax rate would be lowered by its successful passage. So, I can’t blame voters for responding to the words 'increase,' 'tax,' and 'revenue,' without adequate explanation of how the VATRE affected them and the school district.”
Had the measure passed, the district would have had a tax rate of $1.3585 per $100 valuation and would have received $10 million. Of the $10 million, 65% would have been funded by the state, and 35% would have been funded locally. With the failed ballot item, the district's tax rate is $1.3185 per $100 valuation.
While the only way for the district to raise the tax rate is with voter approval, Kelly mentioned there may be other ways for the district to maximize its funding at the district’s Nov. 10 board meeting. However, Kelly did not mention any specific ways the district could do that.
“There are ways to enhance our funding in the wake of our funding not going through,” he said.
As for the possibility of another election, the district will not know if that is possible until the Texas Legislature meets next year, Kelly said in an email.