GISD approves lower tax rate for 2023-2024

After taking all data into consideration (and recalculating after new state legislation this summer) Gladewater ISD trustees approved a 28.25 decrease to the district’s tax rate Monday.
Following a requisite public hearing, a Fiscal Year 2023-2024 rate of $1.002449 per $100 valuation was unanimously-approved 4-0.
Now, the district is waiting, like so many others across Texas, for the state to make up for a loss in operating funds since the passage of Senate Bill 2 and its looming increase to the homestead exemption.
“The amount that we thought we were going to have, the State of Texas is saying they’re going to make sure all school districts are going to be held harmless,” GISD Chief Financial Officer Glenda Hickey explained Sept. 11. “They’re going to give us state aid to compensate us for what we’re not getting in local dollars.
“I’ll keep you abreast on that. What I’ve found over the years is that ‘hold harmless’ is not exactly dollar for dollar. We may get hurt a little bit.”
Later, the school board heard an update on damages to the Weldon Elementary Auditorium and considered applicants to fill Place 5 on the dais.
Trustees approved a $21 million balanced budget for the district June 26. As Gladewater ISD adopts its budget mid-summer, it does so using the preliminary values available at the time and follows up months later with official tax rate adoption based on certified values and current law.
“There’s been some change in law since we last talked,” Hickey said Monday.
The passage of Senate Bill 2 increased the state’s homestead exemption from $40,000 to $100,000. Still awaiting voter ratification in a constitutional amendment election in November, the legislation also decreased the maximum compression rate for Texas school districts.
“Basically, Senate Bill 2 was tax relief for homeowners and all property owners,” Hickey said.
Locally, it reduces Gladewater ISD’s values from preliminaries of $781 million to certified values of $695 million. It impacts the calculation of the district’s Maintenance & Operations (M&O) tax rate as well, reducing it from $0.8538 per $100 valuation in the prior law to $0.7575.
Combining the M&O rate of 0.7575 per $100 valuation with an Interest & Sinking rate of 0.244949 reaches the total tax rate of $1.002449.
“Not a lot of wiggle room in here because the state kind of dictates how we get our maximum compression rate,” Hickey said.
Ultimately, M&O tax revenues drop from $6.35 million under prior law to $4.9 million following passage of SB2.
At least the state has committed to make up the difference, Hickey added: “I should see our state funding probably by the middle of the year.”
Regarding the board’s vacancy, there are seven trustee spots with one vacancy.
According to Dr. Sedric Clark, GISD superintendent, seven applications have been submitted for consideration.
The school board went into closed session to review applications to-date but took no action when they reconvened to adjourn their special meeting.
Per Clark, “They will continue the process at Monday’s regular board meeting,” Sept. 18.

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