The Krum school board tonight will consider a notice for a special September election in which district voters will be asked to increase the district’s maintenance and operations tax rate by 13 cents.
Board members voted on June 25 to call the Sept. 6 election. In a separate vote, the board set its tax rate. It included a 13-cent increase to its maintenance and operations rate, which supports day-to-day operating expenses, and a 13-cent decrease to its interest and sinking rate, which funds the district’s debt obligations.
School districts wanting to increase their maintenance and operations tax rate above $1.04 per $100 valuation are required by the state to call a tax ratification election.
“What the election will do is it will allow us to tax ourselves an additional 13 cents on the maintenance and operations side, which will generate an additional $1.3 million [annually], and we’re going to lower the debt service rate by 13 cents to 37 cents so that there is no tax rate increase to our local taxpayers and the tax rate is still $1.54,” Superintendent Cody Carroll said. “If the election is successful, the additional funds will be used towards attracting and retaining quality teachers with pay increases across the district, and it will also be used for facility and technology needs.
“There will not be an increase in taxes.”
If the election fails, the district must revert or roll back the maintenance and operations rate to $1.04. That would equate to an annual decrease of $130 in property taxes for a house valued at $100,000, according to Carroll.
He said the maintenance and operations rate increase, if approved by voters, will generate $1.3 million annually “as long as the state funding template remains the same.”
Over the next four years, Carroll said the district intends to absorb any shortfalls to its interest and sinking fund with $2.8 million in reserves. The district’s debt service obligations this fiscal year, which began July 1, are projected to total nearly $3.2 million and include a $630,000 shortfall that the district will look to absorb with reserves.
“At the end of those four years, we’ll have to make up the difference with the additional funding on the [maintenance and operations] side,” he said.
Michelle French, Denton County’s tax assessor-collector, said that within a day or two of the special election in Krum, her office should know what the district’s tax rate will be for the current fiscal year. It’s “wonderful” that the election is being held early in September, she said, because by law, taxing jurisdictions are required to submit their entity’s adopted tax rates no later than Sept. 29. Tax statements will be mailed to homeowners around the middle of October, French said.
Last month, the school board adopted a $19.4 million balanced operating budget that included state-mandated increases for educators on a salary schedule and a 2 percent increase for all other salaried personnel, Carroll said. The passage of the 13-cent increase to the maintenance and operations rate would allow the district to increase salaries by an additional $1,125 for employees on the salary schedule, increase pay by an additional 1 percent for all other salary personnel, and offer additional raises for auxiliary staff, Carroll said.
Early voting for the special election will last from Aug. 20 to Sept. 2, Carroll said. Public forums will be scheduled to discuss the special election, but Carroll said no dates had been confirmed.
The school board will meet for a regular meeting at 6:30 p.m. today at the Krum ISD Administration Building at 1200 Bobcat Blvd.
BRITNEY TABOR can be reached at 940-566-6876 and via Twitter at @BritneyTabor.