WOISD board plans to cut tax rate

By James Draper
White Oak ISD could lower its tax rate 2.5 percent to collect the same amount of local revenue – taking all variables into consideration, though, the administration has proposed a decrease of more than eight percent.
Importantly, that won’t necessarily mean a cost savings for every taxpayer after the recent surge in appraised values. However, with an injection of additional funding from the state, the district will be able to get the job done using a bit less from locals.
The tax rate for the current fiscal year is $1.30027 per $100 valuation. To maintain the same revenue, a rate of $1.26844 would suffice.
“If we do that, it actually generates less local revenue and more state revenue,” Dr. William Paul told trustees during their regular meeting Monday. That said, the superintendent noted an alternate option of $1.19218, “Both lower than last year’s rate and lower than the current rate to maintain the same, and we’re going to generate a lot more money on local revenue and state revenue.”
The tax rate will support a budget of about $16.4 million, which includes a 3 percent boost to the teacher pay scale and 3 percent more across-the-board for district employees.
Some elements could change between now and the public meeting and vote on the proposed tax rate and budget at 5 p.m. Aug. 31, but Paul says he’s pretty confident in the current figures.
“On the school’s end, we’re lowering the overall tax rate,” he said, acknowledging this year’s spike in local appraised values means the decrease in the tax rate will impact residents in various ways: “If their values went up high enough, their taxes could be higher, but there’s also a possibility they’re paying less. The situations could be different.”
If the $100,000 homestead exemption out of Austin this session is approved by voters – as expected – in November, more homeowners will see a break.
“Now you’ll be able to exempt up to $100,000 value on your taxes. At that point, I think people will see a little relief,” Paul said. Meanwhile, “The state is supposed offset what (school districts) get from local taxes with new revenue.”
On a related note, trustees on Monday approved a new partnership between White Oak ISD and Linebarger & Associates for tax collection services. The district’s contract with MVBA Law ends Aug. 24, and Linebarger is set to help the school close the gap between the ISD’s local valuations and the figures put together by the state’s appraisers.

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