Pearland ISD’s board of trustees approved a proposed tax rate of $1.3152 per $100 property value for fiscal year 2021-22 at its Aug. 16 meeting, triggering a Voter-Approval Tax Rate Election.

The election will determine whether PISD receives an additional $7.4 million in state and local funds. The VATRE will be Proposition A to voters on Election Day on Nov. 2 or during early voting from Oct. 18-29.

“If Prop A passes, the district will receive $2.7 million from local tax revenue; in addition, the state will increase funding by $4.7 million,” PISD Superintendent John Kelly said in an email.

The proposed tax rate is broken into two components: $0.9196 for maintenance and operations and $0.3956 for the interest and sinking fund, or debt service.

The total district tax rate would decrease by $0.0033 compared to the $1.3185 rate from FY 2020-21, and PISD taxpayers would save $3.30 per $100,000 of property value compared to last year’s rate if approved, PISD Chief Financial Officer Jorgannie Garza Carter said.

While PISD is lowering its tax rate from last year, the district is swapping pennies from its debt account to its maintenance and operations account, and due to state law, PISD is required to seek voter approval to raise that account even if the total rate decreases, Kelly added.

PISD will use the $7.4 million to provide funds to sustain the district’s initiative to ensure each student has access to technology, maintain educational opportunities for all students, and for recruiting and retaining its employees, according to a news release.

If Proposition A does not pass, the tax rate would be $1.2852, broken down into $0.8896 for maintenance and operations, and the debt fund would stay at $0.3956, the district confirmed in an email. PISD taxpayers would save $33.30 per $100,000 of home value, Carter said.

In addition, PISD could be forced to eliminate some optional programs if Proposition A is not approved, such as dual language, gifted and talented, optional bus service within 2 miles of schools, athletics and other programs, including some of the electives offered at Turner Career and College High School, Kelly said.

“Our ability to increase teacher [and] staff salaries and benefits would be negated,” Kelly said. “We would be forced to increase our already large class sizes even if our current student enrollment does not increase.”