Texas Education Agency could nullify WFISD Tax Ratification Election

News

WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL)—1.4 million dollars in additional revenue the Wichita Falls ISD hoped to get following a voter-approved tax rate change in June, could be no more.

The tax ratification, also known as the “Tax Rate Swap and Drop” allowed the school board to increase the maintenance and operation tax rate from $1.04 to $1.17 and be in a position to drop the current debt service tax rate of $0.18 to $0.00. Something school board members said would lower the overall tax rate by a nickel.

WFISD officials believed a tax change could also give the school district an extra 1.4 million dollars per year from the state.

School leaders said that money would be used for much-needed repairs.

However, the passage of House Bill 3 before the local election closed that tax swap loophole according to the Texas Education Agency which will potentially nullify the WFISD’s TRE.

Wichita Falls State Rep. James Frank said he is disappointed local taxpayers and the WFISD will not be allowed to take advantage of the same taxing mechanisms that numerous other districts previously did before HB3.

Rep. Frank released this statement to KFDX:

With the passage of HB 3 during the most recent legislative session, the state significantly streamlined the complexity of the school finance structure. However, that legislation also closed a tax swap loophole that has been available for years. I am disappointed that local taxpayers and the WFISD will not be allowed to take advantage of the same taxing mechanisms that numerous other districts around the state have enjoyed and the increased state funding that comes with it.

While the way Texas funds schools is better and more streamlined after HB 3 than before, this is another example of the real-world effects an overly complex school finance system has on our students, teachers, and taxpayers. I will keep working with local administrators to determine if there’s a way forward to accomplish the two positive goals of the “swap and drop” proposal—lowering local property taxes AND bringing additional revenue to the district.

Superintendent Michael Kuhrt said the school district is seeking the advice of its attorneys and school finance experts about the direction the district should pursue.

A clause in the bill has the TEA telling Texas school districts they had to have a TRE mentioned in the strategic plan before January 1, 2019.

Kuhrt said the board did not know of the specifics of HB3 by that deadline.

“If they don’t allow our TRE because we didn’t pass it soon enough, or we didn’t have language in our strategic plan six months ago before the election, before House Bill 3 was even proposed so there was no way we could’ve known we had to have that in our strategic plan,” Kuhrt said.

Because of HB3 compression, taxpayers will still see a $0.07 reduction in taxes even if the TRE is nullified.

Click here to view how the rates vary based on HB3 and the TRE.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Don't Miss

More Don't Miss

Trending Stories

Turkey Day Giveaway

Days

Hours

Minutes

Seconds

Recent Videos

Girls VB: NOCONA VS. CITY VIEW

Thumbnail for the video titled "Girls VB: NOCONA VS. CITY VIEW"

Lake Wichita Revitalization Committee looks to cut costs

Thumbnail for the video titled "Lake Wichita Revitalization Committee looks to cut costs"

October 15 officially Arthur Bea Day

Thumbnail for the video titled "October 15 officially Arthur Bea Day"

Bellevue ISD residents to vote on $4.5 million school bond

Thumbnail for the video titled "Bellevue ISD residents to vote on $4.5 million school bond"

What The Tech: Fortnite addiction

Thumbnail for the video titled "What The Tech: Fortnite addiction"

Bellevue ISD residents to vote on $4.5 million school bond

Thumbnail for the video titled "Bellevue ISD residents to vote on $4.5 million school bond"

WFISD aims for "22nd-century" school

Thumbnail for the video titled "WFISD aims for "22nd-century" school"

WF Police Department to receive new e-citation system

Thumbnail for the video titled "WF Police Department to receive new e-citation system"

City officials working to resolve multiple water main breaks

Thumbnail for the video titled "City officials working to resolve multiple water main breaks"

HY: 3D Mammograms

Thumbnail for the video titled "HY: 3D Mammograms"

City Council approves bid for construction on Circle Trail Project

Thumbnail for the video titled "City Council approves bid for construction on Circle Trail Project"

UPDATE: Body found by Lawton PD is now released to determine cause of death

Thumbnail for the video titled "UPDATE: Body found by Lawton PD is now released to determine cause of death"
Get FREE Text Alerts
Report It

Latest News

More Local News