Local voters approved the tax restructuring measure put forth in the Brownsville ISD Tax Ratification Election (TRE) held on Tuesday, October 6, 2015.
The single item ballot asked voters to allow the school district to move .11¼ cents from the Interest & Sinking (I&S) fund that pays for debt to Maintenance & Operations (M&O) that pays for day-to-day operations. The total tax rate will remain the same at $1.15¼ as presented and approved in the budget at the June 25, 2015 BISD Special Called Board Meeting.
The voter approved restructuring will not impact the total tax rate but will bring an additional $5 to $6 million net per year in additional state funding to be used for one-time expenditures to improve, repair, and expand district facilities and enhance school security. Moving the .11¼ cents to the M&O will generate more revenue because it is weighted at a higher level than the I&S.
Although the total tax rate will not increase with the TRE, Texas law required BISD to seek voter approval to restructure the funds. Brownsville ISD has one of the lowest tax rates of all Rio Grande Valley school districts. Hundreds of communities across the state have already successfully completed the TRE process. Locally, Harlingen, Los Fresnos, San Benito, La Feria, Lyford, Donna, Edcouch-Elsa, Edinburg, Mission and PSJA have already passed Tax Ratification Elections to meet the needs of students and schools.
“We have identified several campus facility upgrades that will directly impact our students. After these projects are completed, more campus facility upgrades will follow. The only question was whether BISD would capture additional state matching funds or allow those funds to be redistributed to other school districts,” said Superintendent Dr. Esperanza Zendejas.