The New Braunfels ISD Board of Trustees voted to call an election on November 7th that will ask the district’s voters to authorize the addition of three pennies to the district’s tax rate, the revenues from which will go toward balancing the district’s budget.
Since the adopted tax rate for the 2023-2024 tax year of $1.0419 exceeds the voter-approval tax rate by three pennies, the district is required to hold an election on the next uniform election date to obtain voter approval of the adopted tax rate. The Voter-Approval Tax Rate Election (VATRE) will be held on November 7, 2023. This election would ratify the action the Board took on August 21, 2023 by authorizing the increase in the tax rate for Maintenance & Operations (M&O), which is the component of the overall school district tax rate that pays for operating expenses, including teacher and staff compensation.
If voters approve the tax rate in the VATRE election, the district will see an estimated $2.5 million net increase in revenue, which will provide funding for educational programs, including programs originally funded with COVID (ESSER) funding.
NBISD Superintendent, Dr. Laurelyn Arterbury explains, “The decision to call for the VATRE did not come lightly. Without the additional three pennies, the district would have a $4.5million budget deficit if we continued to offer at least the same level of educational programming for our students.” Dr. Arterbury, “looks forward to visiting with the community about how this election will impact our students and staff.”
The state had a record budget surplus this legislative session which was used, in part, to fund reductions in school district tax rates, and a proposed increase in the homestead exemption from $40,000 to $100,000. As a result, school district tax rates were compressed by as much as 18 cents per $100 in property valuation across the state. The Board’s action Monday night authorized an additional 3 cents to the tax rate which set in motion a required voter-approval tax rate election in November. If approved by voters, the tax rate for this year will be a 15.35 cent reduction from the tax rate approved by the Board last year (as compared to a [18.35] cent reduction if the voters reject this proposition).
If the election passes, the district will receive funding on an additional three pennies and our budget will be used to keep current academic programs in place. If the election does not pass, the district will propose the use of our General Fund – Fund Balance to meet the financial deficit for the current 2023-24 fiscal year. The District does not intend on using its General Fund – Fund Balance to fund budget deficits on an annual basis. The district would need to consider options to reduce expenditures or find alternative revenue sources going forward if the State does not pass a school funding bill in a future special legislative session.
Secretary of the NBISD Board of Trustees, Steve Minus says, “It’s important to remember that in this voter-approval tax rate election, we’re giving the choice back to our stakeholders. We encourage everyone to participate in the upcoming election.”
For more information on the VATRE, please visit nbisdnews.org/elections