LINDALE — Lindale ISD trustees voted Monday night to decrease the total tax rate by two cents, including a four cent tax decrease on the interest and sinking tax rate and a two cent tax rate increase on the maintenance and operation tax rate, a move that will need approval from LISD voters. Trustees voted to increase the maintenance and operation rate to $1.08 per $100 property valuation. By statue, any increase in the maintenance and operation tax rate must be ratified by election. A tax ratification election will be held on Tuesday, October 8. The two cent M&O increase will generate approximately $275,000 in school funding primarily for the purchase of technology for classrooms and additional security at the elementary campuses.
“This new rate will be lower than our current tax rate and generate some needed extra funding for the school district,” Lindale ISD School Board President Matt Watts said. “This is an excellent opportunity for our schools to continue to conservatively manage our funds and improve the quality of education we provide. The board of trustees is asking our community to continue to support the school district by coming out to vote in favor of the new, lower tax rate.”
This tax rate referendum is separate from past construction bonds. In 2009, the LISD held a $42 million bond election that included the construction of a new junior high campus, the Lindale ISD Performing Arts Center, expansion of Lindale High School, and upgrades to the district’s athletic facilities. Construction from the election was completed in 2012. The last LISD tax ratification election was held in 2008 and passed by a wide margin.
LISD made major upgrades to technology and security during the 2012-2013 school year and made goals to continue improvements during the 2013-2014 school year. Funds provided through this tax ratification election would include additional security at the elementary campuses and classroom technology purchases. Budget amendments in December 2012 were approved to install monitors, security buzzers and intercom systems to restrict access to the elementary campuses during certain school hours.
School officials say LISD’s emphasis on providing tools to educate 21st century learners led to recent budget amendments to purchase iPads for each classroom and improve the wireless infrastructure. However, reductions in state funding the past two years have hampered the district’s ability to make additional technology upgrades, according to officials. Funding approved through this tax ratification election would allow the district to take a major step towards this technology goal, according to an LISD news release.
“I am excited about what this extra funding could bring to the classrooms and our students,” LISD Superintendent Stan Surratt said. “This will actually put the technology in the hands of students. Sometime in the near future we would like for every student to have access to some form of a tablet throughout the school day and perhaps at home as well. The extra funding would be a big step in making this a reality. Also, the extra funding could help us provide additional security features at the elementary campuses. “We want to make sure we do all that we can to provide a safe learning environment for our students and voter approval of the tax rate would help us reach that goal.”