Vernon ISD Planning Public Meetings Before September Property Tax Election

- In just over a month, Vernon voters will head to the polls to decide on a property tax increase. School officials say the hike is needed to make up for revenue the district lost from state budget cuts.

If approved, the Vernon property tax increase would be three percent, which Vernon school officials say would bring in just over half a million dollars. And while school officials say it's desperately needed to prevent further cuts or layoffs in Vernon ISD, some residents i spoke to say they're wanting more information before casting their votes.

For nearly 10 years Tom Woody has been the superintendent of Vernon ISD. He says last week, school board members voted to hold a tax ratification election to generate revenue he says the district has lost from state budget cuts.

"Over the last four years going into next year our cumulative loss from that cut will be over $4 million," says Tom Woody, superintendent for Vernon ISD.

Superintendent Woody feels the best way to generate that money is through a three percent property tax increase.

"If you owned a $100,000 house it's gonna cost you $30 per year in increased taxes.  If you're a larger business owner then that cost goes up," Superintendent Woody explains.

Some Vernon residents told us they are for the increase to make sure students get a top quality education while a few said they were against it.

"I guess you'd call it a necessary evil.  It's just something that is needed and we have to recognize the need and just tighten our belts and do it," says Peggy Harris, a Vernon resident.

School officials hopes a majority of voters feel that way in September when they head to the polls to cast their ballots.

Superintendent Woody says because of state budget cuts, over the past four years the district has had to reduce some programs and cut 30 positions, including professional librarians at all campuses.

Early voting in Vernon is August 20th - September 2nd. And election day is Saturday, September 6th.

School officials are planning at least three public meetings so residents can get more information on the election. And as soon as those dates are set we will pass them along to you.

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