We are getting ready for what promises to be an amazing school year!
The first day of classes won’t be until Monday, August 27, but the staff is already hard at work getting our schools ready. I want to bring you up to speed on what has happened this summer.
In June, our School Board called for a Tax Ratification Election (TRE) for September 8. Safety and security were clearly the focus when the Board called for this “no total tax rate increase” Tax Ratification Election. Board members are in full agreement that, if the TRE is approved by voters, the additional state revenue generated would be invested into the following:
- Making district-wide facility security upgrades
- Police department security upgrades
- Hiring a police officer for each elementary school
- New science labs at McAllen High, Memorial, Rowe & Lamar Academy
- Making intercom upgrades in four schools
- Installing 134 defibrillators in facilities across the district
- Increasing staff compensation
It is important to know that, whether or not the TRE is approved, the total tax rate will remain the same. How is that possible? The TRE would essentially shift taxes collected for debt repayment into daily operations. This “penny swap” would then allow the district to claim an additional estimated $7.8 million annually in state revenue from the Texas Education Agency.
McAllen ISD’s total tax rate is the lowest school tax in Hidalgo County at $1.155 per $100 of property valuation. The School Board has not raised this total tax rate in nine years and in fact, reduced it in 2015.
We wanted the community’s feedback so, in May, the district collected input on the matter from the public through various face-to-face meetings with the community, parents and district staff, plus an online forum called Thought Exchange. More than 1,800 students, parents, employees and other members of the community participated. The district is guided by this decision in its Strategic Plan and a Facilities Education Master Plan.