Your School Finance Guide

Friendswood ISD is a slow growth (enrollment) district surrounded by fast growth districts, and staying competitive with teacher salaries is a real challenge. The formula (what formula??) does not provide enough funds to keep us competitive with these fast growth districts. For that reason, we had a tax ratification election (TRE) last year, which our voters approved, and increased our maintenance and operations tax rate by nine pennies.

This money was used to give raises to our teachers to keep their salaries competitive with our neighboring districts.

We offset most of this increase on the M&O ( what is M&O) side with a seven penny decrease in our I&S or Interest and Sinking tax rate, the portion of the tax rate that pays off the bonds used to build (and maintain) facilities. Those funds cannot be used for any other purpose. The board approved another two penny decrease on the I&S rate. This means that our overall tax rate will be back to where it was before the TRE.

2¢ TAX BACK to you.

It is important to note, if the TRE had failed, the District would be facing a $2.8M budget deficit in 2017-18, so the importance of its passing cannot be overstated. Thank you

A TRE is a special election to approve an increase in a district’s Maintenance and Operations (M&O) tax rate above $1.04. The school board has the authority to levy an M&O tax rate up to $1.04 but any increase above that amount requires voter approval. On June 13, the Board adopted an M&O tax rate of  $1.13, an increase of 9 cents, and lowered the I&S rate by 7 cents for an overall tax rate increase of 2 cents. Since the M&O amount is greater than $1.04 voter approval is required.

The District’s tax rate is composed of two parts:
Maintenance and Operations (M&O) tax rate and the Interest and Sinking (I&S) tax rate.

The M&O fund pays for day to day district operations such as payroll, utilities, and maintenance of schools and facilities. The I&S fund is used to make payments on district bonds much like the principal and interest on a home mortgage.

Currently, the District’s tax rate is $1.367 ($1.04 for M&O and $.327 for I&S). The board adopted a tax rate of $1.387 ($1.13 for M&O and $.257 for I&S) for 2016.

This tax rate increase will be used to balance the budget, which includes a $1500 salary increase for teachers.

2 Cents Overall

The Board reduced the debt service tax rate by 7 cents and increased the operations tax rate by 9 cents for an overall increase of 2 cents.
The adopted tax rate is $1.387 ($1.13 for M&O and $.257 for I&S).

If your taxes are currently frozen due to an Over 65 or Disabled Persons exemption, then your taxes will not be affected by a tax rate increase.
TRE Calculator

Voter approval is required to increase the M&O tax rate above a $1.04. The board adopted $1.13, a 9 cent increase above last year’s M&O rate. At the same time, the board lowered the debt service tax rate by 7 cents; therefore, the total tax rate increase will be 2 cents.

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1. Increase teacher salaries
2. Balance the budget

2015-16 Surrounding Districts Salaries.xlsx

2015-16 Surrounding Districts Salaries.xlsx

No. Many districts tax above $1.04 in order to meet the educational needs of their students. FISD has not increased its M&O tax rate since 2002 (14 years ago). As local revenue increases from higher appraisals, state funding decreases. The only increase to funding is through increased student enrollment/attendance, increased tax rates, or changes in state funding.
No. Not all districts are alike and the formula funding system is not entirely equitable. Recently, the state Supreme Court ruled that the funding system is constitutional but broken. If Friendswood received the same amount of funding per pupil as surrounding districts, the financial position would be significantly better. See the comparison chart below.

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