The board unanimously approved a tax rate of $1.43 per $100 valuation at its Oct. 8 meeting—down $0.08 from $1.51 per $100 valuation in FY 2018-19. The tax rate is broken down into $0.97 for maintenance and operations and $0.46 for interest and sinking, which supports the district's debt service, Chief Financial Officer Ann Westbrooks said.
Westbrooks added that the last time SISD approved a tax rate decrease was more than a decade ago in FY 2007-08.
"I know our neighbors have been asking us when we're going to go down, so now all of us can go back and happily tell our neighbors that we have lowered your tax rates," President Rhonda Newhouse said during the meeting.
The 5.3% tax rate decrease is a result of the 86th Texas Legislature’s passage of House Bill 3 earlier this year, which allocated $11.6 billion to reform the way public school district are funded. The bill, which was signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott on June 11, increases teacher salaries, decreases property tax rates and expands full-day pre-K programs for eligible students.
Based on the district’s median home value of $137,817, the average homeowner in SISD will pay approximately $1,970.78 in school district taxes this fiscal year, not including homestead exemptions. If the district had maintained its FY 2018-19 tax rate of $1.51 per $100 valuation, the average homeowner would have paid $2,081.04 in SISD taxes this year—a difference of $110.26.
District officials estimate SISD has about $14.43 billion worth of taxable value within district boundaries this fiscal year, Westbrooks said.