Dallas ISD Considering Tax Hike Vote In November

Steven Pickering
April 16, 2018 - 5:52 am

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DALLAS (1080 KRLD) - Board members in the Dallas Independent School District could put a tax hike on the ballot this fall. The Superintendent's office has proposed a 13-cent increase, which would trigger the need for a Tax Ratification Election. 

State law gives voters the authority to approve a school district's tax rate hike in certain cases, the amount under discussion meets those criteria. The rate hike would raise about $116-million per year for the district at a time when officials anticipate a decrease in funding from the state.

"We are not expecting any new money from the state during the upcoming legislative session," said Deputy Superintendent Israel Cordero. "With no new money coming to the school district and a decline in enrollment for different reasons...low child birth rates and the fact that Dallas ISD has lost quite a bit of its enrollment to charter schools... there's actually a decrease in revenue that the district  will be having as a forecast for next school year."

A $0.13 increase would bring the Dallas ISD's tax rate to $1.17 per $100 of property value. District officials say that would mean a $240 per year increase in the bill for the owner of a home valued at $184,574. Much of the funding would go to teacher pay raises and shoring up the district's financial reserves. 

"We want to continue to attract and retain high quality staff," Cordero said, "and we want to continue to be fiscally prudent. One way we can do that is to continue to grow our fund balance here in the district."

The proposal will require a super-majority vote from the school board to even go before the voters, and some members of the board expressed skepticism about the proposal when they were briefed at their most recent meeting. The board has until August to decide whether to move ahead with the plan. If they approve, the tax hike proposal would be on the ballot on November 6th.