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LISD voters could increase state funding while lowering taxes

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LIBERTY – LISD school trustees will be asking district voters to help generate an estimated $ 1.9 million annually while lowering the tax rate during the upcoming election.

School officials are trying to take advantage of a rare opportunity that would allow them to move funds and, in turn, force the state of Texas to provide $705,000 annually to LISD coffers.

“We are trying to make up for the money we lost with Boomerang a couple of years back. The tax rate would be lower relative to last year’s, yet it would raise $ 1.9 million annually and get this district back towards where it was,” said Superintendent Dr. Cody Abshier.

Boomerang was one of the major sources of tax revenue, coming in at about 12 percent of the districts taxable valuable in 2020, or $115 million, a number that has dwindled to around $ 30 million in 2022.

Those funds allowed the district to expand programs offered to students and enhance educational opportunities across the district.

“ The board and administration don’t want to just pull back on any of that. We don’t want to pull back on any of those programs because our kids seem to be enjoying the various programs we have. They deserve them, and we want the best for the kids here in this community,” said Abshier.

School districts are funded through two primary sources, local tax dollars and state funding.

Once collected, local taxes go into two funds; one is for Maintenance and Operations ( M& O) and the other is for Interest and Sinking (I&S). The higher the M&O, the more funding a district receives from the state.

Officials are asking voters to reallocate 12 cents of funding that must be approved through a voter- approval tax rate election (VATRE).

Moving those 12 cents from the I&O to the M&O would allow LISD to capture those additional funds.

Currently, the district has a total tax rate of $1 and 30.13 cents from the combined funds. If voters approve reallocating those funds, the tax rate will drop to $ 1 and 27 cents while bringing in that additional funding from the state each year.

If voters reject the VATRE, those funds would be lost, and the district would be forced to consider cutting off programs.

“There are going to be some tough choices if it does not pass,” said Abshier.

Early voting begins on Monday, Oct. 24 and runs through Friday, Nov. 4, and election day is Tuesday, Nov. 8.