Ore City ISD voters Saturday overwhelmingly approved a change in the way school property taxes are distributed—a move aimed at obtaining about $580,000 more in state aid to the district.
The proposition passed by a vote of 135-23, said School Supt. Lynn Heflin. Some 111 voters had cast early ballots before Saturday, a school spokeswoman said.
“We’re very pleased,” Heflin told The Mirror Monday. “The district (will) benefit from this. Maximizing the state revenue is important.”
Heflin had said before the election that it did not involve increasing taxes. Instead, he had said, voters would decide whether to raise the maintenance and operation (M&O) part of the tax rate by 13 cents.
The school board had approved lowering the interest and sinking (I&S) part of the rate by the same amount if the proposal passed, Heflin said.
Thus, the total tax rate would have remained $1.335 per $100 valuation whether the proposal passed or not, Heflin had said.
Voters approved raising the M&O part of the rate from the current $1.04 to $1.17, which will result in lowering the I&S part of the rate from the current 29.5 cents to 16.5.
“We are actually looking at doing a tax swap,” Heflin had explained. The move would increase the state’s aid—which hinges on the M&O part of the tax rate—to a total of $7,357,000 for the 2012-2013 fiscal year, he said.
Although the overall tax rate will not rise from the passage of Saturday’s proposition, Heflin said state law nonetheless requires an election anytime a school proposes increasing the M&O portion of the rate.
The loss in I&S revenue can be made up by using part of the school’s reserves to pay on the district’s debt, he said. The hike in state aid is “a plus for us,” Heflin had said.
“We’re a property-poor district, and every penny is important to us,” he said.