CLUTE — Brazosport ISD officials proposed lowering the district’s tax rate by about seven cents, meaning there should be some savings for taxpayers and slightly less revenue for the district. However, the district’s recapture payments to the state were substantially reduced by the new Legislature.
The rollback tax rate is proposed at $1.1853 per $100 of appraised property value, down from $1.2553 last year, District Chief Financial Officer Rebecca Kelley said at Monday’s board of trustees budget workshop. This means a homeowner with a house valued at $100,000 will save about $70 a year.
The rollback rate is the highest rate a taxing entity can assess before requiring voter approval. It is set at 8 percent above the effective tax rate, which is the rate that will bring the same amount of revenue from properties listed on the tax rolls both years.
All local districts likely will compress their tax rates in a similar way to align with requirements from House Bill 3, Kelley said.
The school district is expected to bring about $10.3 million less in maintenance and operations revenue next fiscal year, but the district’s recapture payments were reduced by about $8 million, Kelley said.
“With $10 million less that we’re collecting in M and O taxes, we’re also going to send $8 million less to the state next year,” she said.
House Bill 3 substantially reduces recapture, but Brazosport ISD will still send more than $27 million to the state this year, Kelley said.
Prior to HB 3, the district budgeted to send $49 million to the state under the “Robin Hood” system, Kelley said by email.
“Without these changes, we would be in a much different position going into 2020 budget year,” Kelley said at the meeting.
HB 3 changed the way recapture is calculated and now bases it on funding above entitlement, Kelley said.
Entitlement refers to Tier 1 funding a school district is entitled to based on the number of students in average daily attendance multiplied by the basic allotment adjusted for special population groups including career and technology, special education and economically disadvantaged, Kelley said by email.
HB 3 will yield BISD an additional $11 million in entitlement, but it will also reduce the burden of recapture to $27 million, she said.
Texas Education Agency determined that Brazosport ISD’s local revenue is in excess of entitlement, so paying $27 million is the cheapest option for the district to align with state standards, Kelley said.
The certified property values in Brazosport ISD went down by about one percent this year because of value limitations, or tax abatements, will kick in for Freeport LNG and Dow Chemical Co., she said.
The one percent decrease in values follows a 26 percent property value increase last year.
Though the district will take in about $2 million less than last year, there should be a surplus of about $179,334 with another $3.4 million in contingency funds in next year’s proposed budget, Kelley said.
There was a surplus in last year’s budget of $6.4 million, Kelley said by phone Tuesday.
The budget has to be presented by Aug. 20 and adopted by Aug. 31, she said. There will be a public hearing regarding the tax rate and budget Aug. 19.
Also at Monday’s meeting, Chief Human Resources Officer Kristi Kirschner requested two new positions at a price of about $135,000.
One is a bond project manager, who will help manage construction projects related to the 2014 and 2019 bond programs, she said. The funding for the bond project manager will be through the bond programs, Kirschner said.
The other is a child nutrition chef and production supervisor, she said. This person will bring a fresh perspective of menu offerings, expand catering and adult menu options for the district and help the department remain within its own standards and U.S. Department of Agriculture Guidelines, she said.
That funding will go through the child nutrition budget, with is self-supporting and brings in excess funds, Kirschner said.
Child Nutrition Director Rachel Arthur does a “jam-up” job with what she has, Trustee Joe Rinehart said, and the board is happy to do anything they can do to help her reach kids.
The board unanimously approved the two positions.