Goose Creek CISD disputes representative’s tax reduction figures
Gov. Greg Abbott may have signed the school finance reform package into law, and there may be substantial changes coming down to the school finance system, but some officials are not ready to do a victory dance just yet.
House Bill 3 includes over $5 billion in property tax relief, merit-based pay increases for educators, an increase in the state’s basic allotment of per-pupil funding to school districts, an increase in the state’s share of public education funding, and a reduction in “Robin Hood” recapture paid by certain districts.
“I am grateful to the Governor for signing this landmark legislation and proud to have delivered meaningful property tax relief as well as a considerable decrease in the recapture paid by school districts in Chambers County. House Bill 3 will reduce recapture by nearly 50% statewide. Chambers County taxpayers and school districts will benefit extensively,” proclaimed state Rep. Mayes Middleton, R-Wallisville, who represents Chambers County.
For nearby Barbers Hill ISD, the bill will reduce its tax rate by 7 cents, increase state funding by $10.6 million, and cut recapture by $10.7 million, which is a reduction in recapture of over 50 percent, according to a statement from Rep. Mayes Middleton’s office.
Dr. Greg Poole, Barbers Hill ISD superintendent, said while the numbers sound good, it is not a cause for celebration.
“Barbers Hill is cautious to declare this legislative session a victory for public education in Texas,” Poole said. “The legislature did provide relief to the taxpayer as Rep. Middleton states, but the legislature did not address how to fund the tax cuts beyond the biennium and much of our funding is temporary transition money. We are hopeful Rep. Middleton will consider changing his opposition to Chapter 313s if he is serious about his desire to address Robin Hood. HB 3 reduces the recapture by $10 million over two years, but Chapter 313s reduces Barbers Hills’ recapture by $20 million over the same two years. In addition, unlike the ongoing funding uncertainty of HB3, 313s are guaranteed for their 10-year lifespan.”
Middleton also stated Goose Creek CISD will see a tax rate reduction by about 12 cents. However, Margie Grimes, the district’s chief financial officer, disputes this assessment.
“The tax rate will not decrease by 12 cents, but rather will decrease a net of $0.04659 cents, from $1.43189 to $1.3853,” Grimes said.
HB3 is expected to reduce Goose Creek CISD’s Maintenance and Operations rate, which pays for salaries and ongoing expenses, from $1.17000 to $1.0684, which is about a $0.10 cent reduction from the previous year. The Interest and Sinking rate, a tax that repays bonds, would go up $.05501 from $.26189, where it was last year. This makes the new I&S rate $0.31690.
Efforts to reach Middleton’s office to explain the discrepancy were unsuccessful.
Now that the bill has been signed into law, the tax rate reduction should be seen in the fall, most likely September.
Middleton’s release also stated Anahuac ISD’s tax rate would drop by 7 cents, and the district will experience increase state funding by nearly $950,000. In addition, it claimed East Chambers ISD’s tax rate will decrease by $0.09 cents, and state funding will increase by nearly $2.4 million.