JOSHUA INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT
Tax Rate Election
Questions and Answers
1. What is a Tax Rate Election?
A Tax Rate Election is the method by which voters approve a maintenance and operation tax rate that exceeds the statutory limit of $1.04 per $100 of assessed valuation.
2. Why is Joshua ISD holding a Tax Rate Election?
The Joshua ISD Board of Trustees has called for the tax rate election in order to maximize state funding for its children by generating additional revenue of $2,900,000 for the District. At this time, the District can generate additional revenue only by enrolling additional students. Although enrollment continues to increase, the number of new students does not allow us to keep pace with the accelerating increase in operating costs associated with fuel, utilities, instructional technology, supplies and materials, salaries, and other operating costs. The Board has proposed an M & O tax rate of $1.17 and an I & S tax rate of $0.22. The total proposed tax rate is $1.39 per $100 of valuation, which is an overall decrease of $0.07 per $100 of valuation.3. How will the proposition be worded on the ballot?The ballot will read as follows: “Approving the ad valorem tax rate of $1.39 per $100 valuation in Joshua Independent School District for the current year, a rate that is $0.13 higher per $100 valuation than the school district roll back tax rate.”
This ballot language is set by the State, but the $0.13 increase refers only to the M & O tax rate. The debt service tax rate will actually be reduced to $0.22, making the total tax rate $1.39 which is a $0.07 reduction in the 2007/2008 combined tax rate of $1.46.
4. When will the Tax Rate Election be held?
The Tax Rate Election will be conducted on Tuesday, October 7, 2008.
5. Who can vote in the Tax Rate Election?
A person who resides within the Joshua ISD boundaries and has been a registered voter for at least 30 days prior to the election is eligible to vote.
6. When and where will the election be held?
Registered voters may vote on election day, Tuesday, October 7, 2008, from 7:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. at the Joshua Community Room which is located at 909 South Broadway in Joshua.
7. When and where will early voting be held?
Early voting by personal appearance will be conducted from Monday, September 22, 2008 , through Friday, October 3, 2008, at the following times and locations:
Joshua ISD Administration Building - 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
310 E. 18th StreetJoshua, Texas 76058Early Voting at Branch Locations – 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.Caddo Grove Elementary7301 FM 1902Joshua, TX 76058Joshua High School909 S. BroadwayJoshua, TX 76058A. G. Elder Elementary513 HendersonJoshua, TX 76058Loflin Middle School520 Stadium DriveJoshua, TX 76058North Joshua Elementary100 S. RanchwayBurleson, TX 76028Staples Elementary520 S. MainJoshua, TX 76058Plum Creek Elementary500 Plum StreetJoshua, TX 76058
8. What is the current Joshua ISD tax rate?
The current maintenance and operation tax rate is $1.04 and the current debt service tax rate is $0.42. The combined tax rate is $1.46 per $100 of assessed valuation.
9. What will the Joshua ISD tax rate be if voters approve the tax rate election?
The proposed M&O tax rate is $1.17 and the proposed I&S tax rate is $0.22. The combined tax rate as proposed is $1.39 per $100 of assessed valuation.
10. What is the difference between the M & O (maintenance and operation) tax rate and the I & S (interest and sinking) tax rate?
Funds generated by the M&O tax rate are used to pay for the day-to-day operating expenses of the district – utilities, supplies, salaries, fuel, etc. Funds generated by the I & S tax rate cannot be used for any purpose other than for payment of the bonded indebtedness of the district.
11. When will the proposed tax rates take effect if voters approve the proposed taxes?
The proposed tax rates will become effective for the 2008-2009 school year (the 2008 calendar year) if approved by the voters of the District.
12. How will my property taxes be affected if voters approve the proposed tax rates?
Tax Rate Election Property Tax Impact
Appraised Value of Home
@ Current Rate of $1.46
@ Proposed Rate of $1.39
Taxpayer Savings if Voters Approve the Tax Rate Election
13. How will my taxes be affected if I am 65 or older?
Those over 65 years of age who have a homestead exemption are exempt from tax increases unless improvements are made on the property. The taxes remain frozen at the level they were in the year in which the exemption was filed. Such individuals will receive a tax rate decrease if the proposed tax rates are approved by voters.
14. What are the financial benefits to Joshua ISD if voters approve the proposed tax rates?
The District will be able to generate $2,900,000 in additional revenue for the 2008-2009 school year, and annually thereafter until or unless the legislature changes the state funding formulas. These additional funds will be used for four purposes:
· to address the rapidly increasing operational costs related to salaries, fuel and utilities, instructional technology, and supplies and materials.
· to maintain the current level of programs, services, and staffing levels currently provided by the District.
· to provide salary increases to maintain a highly qualified level of instructional and support staff.
· to set aside funds to meet future expenses resulting from future operating expense increases.
Recent property tax reduction mandated by the Legislature is not a gift from heaven. The money to pay for property tax reduction comes from three new state taxes – the new business tax, the liar’s tax and the cigarette tax. All Texas taxpayers, including those who live in Joshua ISD, are paying these new taxes. Even though property taxes have declined the past two years, other taxes are increasing. District consumers will pay, one way or the other.
One way to bring our share of the new state tax dollars back to our community is by giving voters the opportunity to approve the $1.39 total tax rate adopted by the Board of Trustees. Otherwise, the dollars will remain in Austin to be accessed by another school district.
15. What will Joshua ISD do if voters do not approve the proposed tax rates?
If the proposed tax rates are not approved, the District budget must be reduced. The District cannot continue to provide services and programs at the current level without additional maintenance and operation funds. District staff will develop a recommendation for Board consideration that would reduce expenses at a level that can be supported by the current tax rate.
16. Are other school districts holding Tax Rate Elections?
In 2006 and 2007, 134 school districts called tax rate elections. The voters in 108 of them approved the rate adopted by their Boards. Voters in these districts approved the tax rates in 80% of the elections with an average approval rate of 65%. Several districts within our local education service center region are planning tax rate elections this year. By next year it is anticipated that the majority of school districts in the State will be forced to consider a tax rate election in order to meet continually rising operational costs.
17. What if I have questions or need more information?Please contact staff in the superintendent’s office by calling 817-426-7500 or 817-202-2500. You may also visit the district website at www.joshuaisd.org to ask for and receive responses to additional questions.