About 70 people had voted early in the election as of about 10:40 a.m. Thursday, said Judy Moore, secretary to GISD Supt. Rick Albritton. Early voting continues at the school Administration Building at 500 S. Trinity from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday and Tuesday.
This is the first of two special elections recently called by the Gilmer School Board. The other, a $36.2 million bond issue proposal split into three propositions, is set Nov. 5.
Under a quirk in state law, the ballot for next Saturday’s election says voters are deciding whether to approve an ad valorem tax rate of $1.31 1/2 cents per $100 valuation, but the board has already set the rate at $1.18 1/2 and it will stay there whether the issue passes or not, Albritton said.
The election is actually on whether to increase the part of the $1.18 1/2-cent tax rate used for Maintenance and Operations (M&O) by 13 cents, and reduce the portion used for Interest and Sinking (I&S, or debt service) by that amount.
The M&O part would rise from the current $1.04 to $1.17, while the current 14.5 cents portion for I&S would drop to 1.5. GISD said it can receive the extra $205,000 in state aid only by raising the part of the rate used for M&O.
Albritton said Thursday that approving the proposal would not set the tax rate at $1.31 1/2 for the 2014-15 fiscal year. And if the change passes, he said, the school will still have a debt payment, but it would be made from M&O funds instead of I&S .
If all three propositions of the November bond issue pass, the tax rate would rise by 26 cents per $100 valuation, school officials have said.