A Wichita Falls is group is speaking out against the WFISD Tax Ratification Election.
The WFISD is in the midst of a Tax Ratification Election. By voting for this tax ratification, the debt service rate, which is currently $.18 cents, will be dropped to zero, and the maintenance and operations tax rate will increase from $1.04 to $1.17.
The tea party held their monthly meeting Thursday to discuss their opposition on the Tax Ratification Election and Tea Party leader Ed Stein said that the I&S reduction is a temporary one, and he said he believes the I&S rate will not remain at zero.
“What happens is at a later date the school board could re-raise the I&S tax rate to pay for existing debt,” Stein said. “Not new debt like a bond, but they could do it without a vote.”
WFISD Superintendent Michael Kuhrt disagrees and said the school board will not raise the I&S tax rate.
“The board has the ability to raise the I&S tax rate where they want the I&S tax rate to pay off current debt but the board is not going to do that,” Kuhrt said. “This board has been very fiscally responsible. This board has been very committed to building trust in our community. Last year we lowered the I&S tax rate a penny because we didn’t need the extra funds.”
Kuhrt said the WFISD plans to use the extra revenue to pay down its debt. If voters pass this tax ratification, the state would pay 60% of the current debt. Stein said he feels the school district needs to figure out how to pay their debt instead of having the taxpayers do it for them.
“When the school district got the loan, I think it’s, like, $94 million they have in debt, I find it not right to reach out to Texans across the state and say ‘Hey, can you help us pay down our debt?'” Stein said.
With this Tax Ratification Election in full swing, it is now up to the voters to decide what’s best for the district.
Early voting started on May 29, 2019, and goes until June 11 and election day is on June 15. So far, almost 900 residents have taken advantage of early voting.