WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) Voters in Wichita Falls have passed the Wichita Falls ISD Tax Rate Ratification Election. With 3,499 total votes, 83% voted for while 17% voted against.
The tax ratification election, also known as the “Tax Rate Swap & Drop,” allows the school board to increase the Maintenance and Operation tax rate from $1.04 to $1.17 and be in position to drop the current debt service tax rate of $0.18 to $0.00. This is something school board members say would lower the overall tax rate by $0.05
With overwhelming results in their favor, Wichita Falls ISD officials are thrilled by election results.
“Very happy, very excited about the additional revenue this brings to WFISD and the opportunities it gives us to address some of the needs in our district,” WFISD school board president Elizabeth Yeager said.
While school board members are pleased with the outcome, it’s quite the opposite for members of the “No Campaign.”
Volunteer Ed Stein said, “Improve the schools that we have with the money that we have and also seek private donations, let’s get creative and improve the schools without adding debt and without adding taxes.”
Yeager said adding debt and taxes is not the case here.
“It’s a win-win for both the taxpayers and the school district cause the taxpayers to get a $0.05 decrease on their property tax rate from WFISD and WFISD gets additional income,” Yeager said.
Stein said raising the M&O rate and lowering the I&S rate isn’t set in stone. The school board has two options.
“One is through a bond election which requires a public vote, but the other one does not require a public vote and that could be by the school board deciding that they want to pay down existing debts and they can raise the I&S rate as necessary without a public vote,” Stein said.
WFISD superintendent Michael Kuhrt said on a recent episode of Texoma Politics Now, the school board has no intention of pulling a “bait and switch,” going back and raising the I&S tax rate to pay off bond debt.
Although the election passed, those against it said they will continue to push for changes come November.