Glen Rose Independent School District Superintendent Wayne Rotan has been keeping close watch on the Texas Legislature’s actions concerning school finance issues that are threatening to wreak havoc on many school budgets.
Some examples of how the budget problems are affecting some school districts are highlighted in the accompanying Texas Tribune article in this edition of the Glen Rose Reporter.
Glen Rose, which is categorized as a “property rich” school district, is one of those facing trouble caused by the changes in school financing and the school’s “Robin Hood” contributions.
Below is a summary of the current situation, contributed by Rotan:
"In 2006, the Texas Legislature compressed school district lowered property tax values by 1/3 over a two-year period in response to the Texas Supreme Court ruling school funding unconstitutional. Additional State Aid For Tax Reduction (ASATR) payments from the state were promised to make up the difference in revenue from the tax rate compression.
"In 2011, the state reduced funding to public schools by 2% reduction in Weighted Average Daily Attendance (WADA) and cut ASATR payments by 7.65%. Also, they planned to completely break the promise of no funding loss for the tax compression by eliminating ASATR on September 1, 2017.
"The latest session of the 85th Legislature also failed to fund the promise of ASATR. The 84th Session in 2015 did fund a new property tax relief but did nothing to fund the promise from 2006.
"Since 2006, any increase in local property values has benefitted the State 100%.
“'Property Poor' or Chapter 42 Districts see a decrease in state aid as property values increase and 'Property Wealthy' or Chapter 41 Districts send the increase to Robin Hood payments. In 2017-2018 the State will fund approximately 38% of public education leaving local taxpayers to pick up the remaining 62%.
"Glen Rose ISD is currently operating at 12% - 15% less operating funds than in 2007-2008. In 2009, Glen Rose ISD received $1,092,056.00 from ASATR and $6,484,490.00 in 2015. ASATR payments are determined by total tax collections, as collections decrease ASATR increases, as collections increase ASATR decreases or phases out.
"Glen Rose ISD has prepared for the loss of ASATR since 2011, but with the volatility of property values in the district, ASATR has fluctuated from $0 to $6,484,490.00.
"It is very difficult to plan for such a fluid number that is reliant on property values and the collections. Glen Rose ISD is very much trying to hit a very mobile target in its effort to prepare for the loss of ASATR.
"On September 1, 2017, it will still be very difficult to determine the impact of the loss of ASATR since we are in the process of appealing the 2015 and 2016 taxable values to be lowered by the Comptroller and the Texas Education Agency.
"Once these appeals are finalized, we will know the true impact of loss of ASATR on Glen Rose ISD. The loss of ASATR is actually less devastating to Glen Rose ISD than with HB21 proposed in the 85th Legislative Session.
"The Somervell County Appraisal District must certify taxable property value to the Comptroller before all appeals, litigation and settlements are finalized. The 2015 “Final Taxable Value” is significantly less than the value certified to the Comptroller due to litigation and settlements."