At its meeting Tuesday night the Klein ISD board of trustees unanimously approved a tax ratification election in June to increase the maintenance and operations portion of its tax rate to $1.13 per $100 valuation, an increase of 9 cents.
The election will take place June 16. The voter registration deadline is May 17.
KISD Chief Financial Office Dan Schaefer said the tax rate increase is necessary for the district to keep pace with its growth, offset a lack of state funding and fund staffing needs in new school buildings as well as security items.
KISD joins 525 other school districts in Texas that have called a tax ratification election since 2006, Schaefer said. State law mandates that school districts cannot increase the maintenance and operations portion of their tax rates above $1.04 without voter approval.
A tax ratification election was initially expected to go before the board last year, Schaefer said, but the district was able to delay it because of fund balance accumulated when growth in the district was stronger.
According to the estimate of certified values the district received on April 30, taxable property in the district is $21.37 billion—a 2.77 percent increase since last year. Before Hurricane Harvey, that growth was expected to be 5 percent, he said.
In previous years, that growth was much higher—as much as 13 percent in 2015, Schaefer said.
“Growth is slowing,” he said. “The over-65 population is growing in the area. It’s growing faster than overall growth rate, so some taxes are being frozen.”
A higher tax rate would also bring about an increase in the amount of the state’s contribution, Schaefer said. Two cents of the proposed additional 9-cent tax increase would bring about $9.2 million in additional state aid, Schaefer said.
The maintenance and operations portion of the tax rate comprises the larger of two parts of the district’s property tax rate. The rate also includes the interest and sinking rate, which is currently 39 cents per $100 assessment. Funds generated by this smaller portion of the tax rate can only be used to make payments on bonds that fund construction and other items. Combined, the new tax rate would be $1.52 per $100 valuation if the rate increase is approved by voters.
Early voting for the June 16 election will begin May 30, and early voting locations will be Champion Forest Baptist Church, located at 15555 Stueber Airline Road, Houston; Klein Multipurpose Center, at 7500 FM 2920, Spring; and Klein Forest High School, at 11400 Misty Valley Dr., Houston. Klein ISD has prepared a website with information on the TRE election in four languages: English, Spanish, Chinese and Vietnamese.
Public information sessions on the election will be held at 6:30 p.m. at the following days and locations: May 22 at Benignus Elementary School, 7225 Alvin A. Klein Drive, Spring; May 29 at Klein Forest High School cafeteria, 11400 Misty Valley Drive, Houston; and May 30 at Klein Cain High School's Large Group Instruction room, 10201 Spring Cypress Road, Houston.