Keller ISD Voters Pass Tax Ratification Election, Lowering District Tax Rate
Keller ISD voters have overwhelmingly passed a Tax Ratification Election by a vote of 80.69 percent to 19.31 percent, which will result in a lower overall tax rate while bringing in an additional $19 million in net annual operating revenue for the District.
With approval of the TRE, Keller ISD voters approved the KISD Board of Trustees to raise maintenance and operations (M&O) tax rate from $1.04 to $1.17 per $100 appraised property valuation. That move will generate the additional operating revenue and allow Keller ISD to give its employees a four-percent raise, balance its budget, and provide improvements for athletics, fine arts, and security. The Board will offset the 13-cent increase to the M&O rate, by lowering the District’s interest and sinking (I&S) rate by 14 cents, from $0.48 to $0.34.
“We are excited the community understood what we were trying to do through this Tax Ratification Election – gaining more local control of our tax revenue and taking advantage of a moment in Keller ISD’s history where we could bring in additional revenue while lowering our tax rate,” said Keller ISD Superintendent Dr. Rick Westfall. “This is clearly a community that values education, and as educators, we appreciate the demonstration of trust and confidence in the work we do for KISD students.”
Due to Texas state funding formulas for public school districts, Keller ISD receives as much as $1,000 less per student in revenue than neighboring peer districts. The District is consistently in the lowest 25 percent of school districts in the state when it comes to per-student revenue, despite rising property values in the District’s borders. As the amount of revenue from local property taxes increases, the state reduces its contributions to the District, meaning that Keller ISD may only see pennies on every additional dollar that comes in from local taxes year-to-year.
“Despite the fact that this was an election for a lower tax rate that also generated additional revenue, it was a challenge to make sure that our community was educated on complicated school funding concepts and what we were trying to accomplish through this TRE,” said KISD Board President Cindy Lotton. “Thankfully, our community made an effort to seek out the facts and approve a measure that will not only benefit our schools, but ultimately our community as a whole.”
More than 6,800 total ballots were cast, with 5,684 votes cast in person, in the special election that was held September 8, with Early Voting August 22-September 4. When calling for the TRE, Keller ISD’s Board of Trustees also passed a resolution stating their commitment to continue to look for ways to lower the tax burden on residents even further.