News

Tax ratification vote Tuesday at high school

$900,000 more revenue at stake for RISD ‘M&O’
By MIKE BROWN
Reporter Editor

Voters in the Rockdale Independent School District go to the polls Tuesday to decide the fate of an election school officials say will provide an additional $908,556 for the district’s general fund.

All without raising taxes.

Sound like a slam dunk? The RISD isn’t treating it that way.

The voting is in an unfamiliar time for an election, August, and in unfamiliar voting locations, the high school on election day and the Central Administration Building for early balloting through Friday.

(There were 102 early votes cast through Tuesday.)

WORDING—Then there’s the wording on the ballot.

Even though school officials have many times said the $1.36 tax rate will not change if the election is approved, the required-bylaw ballot wording might be confusing. It says:

Approving the ad valorem tax rate of $1.49 per $100 valuation in Rockdale Independent School District for the current year, a rate that is $0.13 higher per $100 valuation than the school district rollback tax rate.

There’s more to it than that. Supt. Denise Monzingo said: “While it looks like the tax rate is going up by 13 cents, the RISD Board of Trustees passed an ordinance on May 17, stating if the tax ratification passes, 13 cents will be moved from the Interest and Sinking Fund (I&S) to our Maintenance and Operations Fund (M&O). This makes the overall tax rate $1.36.”

That’s the same as the current rate.

POCKETS—School officials have compared the situation to taking money out of one jeans pocket and putting it into another.

School budgets are like that. Revenue and expenditures for debt service— RISD is paying off debt incurred in a $28.8-million bond issue passed 10 years ago—are in one “pocket” and the general fund is in the other.

Currently, the $1.36 RISD tax rate is composed of $1.04 for maintenance and operations and 32 cents for debt service.

It’s being proposed that trustees okay shifting 13 cents of the tax structure from interest and sinking (INS) to maintenance and operation (M&O).

The move would make the split $1.17 for the general fund and 19 cents for debt service. That also adds up to $1.36.

So, why the election? Because of state rules, tied to revenue per student, the district can’t set an M&O rate above $1.12 without consent of the voters.

BUDGET—How will it affect the bond payoff? Not at all, say the RISD number crunchers.

The district owes $24,524,996 on the 2007 bond package. Dr. Monzingo said shifting the 13 cents will not affect the district’s ability to make timely bond payments.

A preliminary budget reflecting expenditures of $13,033,485 was presented to trustees May 1.

The budget is based on no change in the tax rate.

WHO CAN VOTE?— The election is only for voters who reside within the Rockdale ISD.

If you are in the city, and vote in city election, you are eligible. The entire city of Rockdale is within the RISD.

If you are not in the city, look at your current voter registration card to see if you are in the Rockdale ISD.

The door to the Central Administration Building is normally locked but it is unlocked during early voting hours.

It’s the same at RHS where voters Tuesday will enter the “rotunda” at the end of Childress Street.

Those doors are usually locked but they will be unlocked on Tuesday.

EARLY VOTING

Through Friday— Central Administration Building, 520 West Davilla, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

TUESDAY

Rockdale High School, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.


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2017-08-10 digital edition

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