The Fort Bend ISD board of trustees has officially given the go ahead for a voter-approval tax rate election.

The board of trustees voted 6-1 during its Aug. 22 meeting to approve a $0.0755 tax rate increase, bringing the proposed fiscal year 2022-23 tax rate to $1.2101 per $100 of assessed property value, according to district documents. Position 5 board member Denetta Williams voted against the resolution.

Because the board of trustees approved a tax rate above the district’s voter approval tax rate of $1.1546, the board was required to call the election, according to the Texas Tax Code. The tax rate will go before voters during the Nov. 8 midterm elections.

If voters approve the election proposition, the new tax rate would remain equal to the current rate of $1.2101 per $100 of assessed property value, according to district documents. However, because average taxable property values have increased since last year—$293,793 versus $276,576—residents would still pay higher taxes, district officials said. Should the election pass in November, the average resident would see a $208 increase on their annual property tax bill.

The call for a tax rate election comes as FBISD looks to bridge a $47 million budget deficit in FY 2022-23 and provide the district room to pay for additional compensation increases and programs and safety measures, including providing officers at every elementary school campus, according to district officials.

“I know that you’re really going to be looking at longitudinally what we’re doing and looking at forecasting and getting systems in place to really show our public that we’re working on all fronts to improve our deficit situation,” Position 1 board member Angie Hanan said during the meeting.

That includes, as a board, potentially crafting future school finance-focused resolutions for the upcoming 88th Texas legislative session, which is set to span Jan. 10-May 29, 2023.

That also includes a $23 million commitment from FBISD officials to cut additional expenditures starting in the 2023-24 school year, according to district documents. Though not set, FBISD is discussing meeting that number through cutting positions, abandoning programs and consolidating schools.

“We will continue to press on, and we will continue to push for cuts wherever we can,” board President Kristen Davison Malone said during the meeting. “At the same time, we have to step up for our youth and do the difficult thing, which is move forward with this tax rate election. I hope everybody understands where we are coming from because this is hard. But it’s worth it.”

Some stakeholders, such as Texas House Rep. Jacey Jetton, R-Sugar Land, condemned the move during a period of “record-high inflation and declining economy” and encouraged a "no" vote from voters.

“It is unacceptable for a school district that is not growing in student population to ask families to pay more in property taxes and grow the FBISD budget when families are cutting their personal budgets to contend with rising food and fuel costs,” Jetton wrote in an Aug. 23 statement. “I have had repeated meetings and calls with the FBISD board members and strongly encouraged them not to increase property taxes.”