UPDATED: Residents oppose Magnolia ISD Tax Ratification Election proposal for 10-cent tax swap

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Editor’s note: This story has been updated with a comment from the district.

Magnolia ISD voters opposed the Tax Ratification Election on Tuesday that would have provided the district with more funds for its day-to-day operations without increasing the total tax rate.

About 51.3 percent of voters, or 1,686 individuals, voted against the tax swap while 48.7 percent of voters, or 1,598 individuals, supported the measure, according to information from the Montgomery County Elections Office. In total, 3,284 voters cast a ballot during the early voting and election day periods.

All results are unofficial until canvassed.

“We are disappointed with the outcome as the community will be unable to to enjoy the additional resources this election would have brought to our students and teachers, all without a tax increase,” Superintendent Todd Stephens said in an email. “We will have a balanced budget and be moving forward for the 2018-19 year.”

If approved, the tax swap would have increased the maintenance and operations portion of the tax rate by 10 cents by subtracting 10 cents from the interest and sinking portion of the total tax rate, holding the overall tax rate at $1.3795 per $100 valuation.

This tax swap was expected to bring the district $4 million more in revenue to be used for daily operations in fiscal year 2018-19, providing funds for additional safety improvements and staff, salary increases, student programs and campus budgets, according to district information.

The ballot asked voters to approve a 10-cent increase to the M&O rate. According to district information, state law only allows MISD to tell voters that the M&O rate is increasing. The ballot cannot include wording that the I&S rate is also being lowered.

Even though the total tax rate would not be increasing, MISD had to seek voter approval to increase its M&O rate above $1.04 per $100 valuation, according to state law, Assistant Superintendent of Operations Erich Morris said previously.

Due to the election’s timing and the start of the 2018-19 fiscal year Sept. 1, the district has been developing two budgets this summer to plan for the results of the election. The MISD board of trustees will hold a public hearing on the final proposed budget Aug. 20, Morris said previously.

The budget draft planning for the election to fail totals $106 million in both general fund expenses and revenues, prioritizes $1 million for safety improvements and proposes no change in the district’s overall tax rate of $1.3795 per $100 valuation, according to district officials.

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Anna Dembowski
Anna joined Community Impact Newspaper as a reporter in May 2016 after graduating with a degree in journalism from Cedarville University in Cedarville, Ohio. In July 2017, she transitioned to editor. Anna covers education, local government, transportation, business, real estate development and nonprofits in the Tomball and Magnolia communities. Prior to CI, Anna served as editor-in-chief of Cedars, interned with the National Journalism Center in Washington, D.C., and spent time writing for the Springfield News-Sun and Xenia Daily Gazette.
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