By Valerie Reddell
Early voting is underway in the Woodville ISD Tax Ratification Election, which would give the district permission to raise the maintenance and operations tax (M&O) by 13 cents for the coming fiscal year.
Superintendent Glen Conner and the board of trustees say that the tax increase is necessary to offset lost state revenue with the expiration of more than $1 million Woodville has received under the Additional State Aid for Tax Reduction (ASATR). The ASATR program was created when the Texas Legislature reduced tax rates by a third in 2006.
If voters approve the proposed combined tax rate of $1.285 per $100 in taxable value, the district expects to generate $988,000. If rejected, school funding will drop $1,030,000.
The average home value in Woodville is $46,241, according to a notice produced by Woodville ISD. Under last year's rate of $1.145, homeowners paid $529.46 in school taxes. Based on tax appraisals for this year, the average home is valued at $64,751. If the tax increase is approved, the school tax on that property would be $597.89. If voters reject it, the rate will revert to $1.155 per $100.
If voters approve the rate increase, that average tax bill would climb by $68.43 to $621.44.
The increase does not apply on any homestead belonging taxpayers who are over 65 or disabled. Those tax bills remain frozen unless improvements are made or the property is sold.
District officials say the increase also generates additional $988,000 in state revenue. If rejected, those matching revenues are essentially left in Austin, according to Conner.
Voters can cast a ballot between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. at Woodville ISD Administration Bldg., 404 N. Charlton. In addition, voting will be held at Woodville High School, 700 Eagle Drive from 5 to 7 p.m. Aug. 17; at the Woodville ISD Community Room from 4 to 6:30 p.m. Aug. 18; and at Woodville ISD Summit, 5:30 to 7 p.m. Aug. 19. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 26, at the WISD Administration Bldg.
The Texas Legislature is considering a number of bills that would impact public school finance. Stay up to date on those efforts at the Booster's Facebook page.