In reaction to a decline in revenue, the Glen Rose Independent School District’s Board of Trustees voted unanimously Monday to approve a 2 cent increase in the property tax rate, making it .994 per $100 valuation.
Superintendent Wayne Rotan explained that the rise will increase the tax obligation of the average home by approximately $28 per year.
The state ranks the GRISD as one of the top property-rich “Chapter 41” districts in Texas. As a result, Glen Rose annually must send large sums of money to Austin under the recapture rule — often referred to as Robin Hood — to help fund “property-poor” school districts across the state.
“Glen Rose ISD had an approximate $2.6 million decline in revenue due to the Texas Legislature failure to meet its obligation to fund their mandated 2006 tax compression,” Rotan stated in a news release. “The Texas Legislature continues to shift the cost of public education back to the local taxpayer.
“GRISD will send approximately $6 million of local tax dollars to the state in 2017-2018 through Robin Hood. Since the inception of Robin Hood, Glen Rose ISD has sent $575 million of local tax dollars to the state of Texas.”
The 6-0 vote for the new property tax rate was adopted by vote of the trustees in attendance — President Kelley Snodgrass, Vice President Tom Lounsberry, Secretary Andy Snow, Kevin Taylor, Brady Brown and Jason Dillard. Trustee Wade Busch was not in attendance.
“Last year we were the eighth-lowest tax rate in the state. I expect us to be somewhere in that vicinity (this year),” Rotan said. “We try to be conservative with it, but at the same time we’ve got to do what’s best to maintain programs for the students of the GRISD.”
Rotan noted that the recapture money is the state’s third-largest source of revenue.
“Starting this February, the GRISD will send about $1.8 million a month to the state,” Rotan said, noting that will continue each month for the current budget year, through September 2018. “The board has been very pro-active in anticipating that this was coming.”
Rotan said that most of the money lost to recapture has been made up through staff attrition, with 30 vacant positions going unfilled during the past four years.
The GRISD’s budget reflects a decline in total revenue of $2,082,733 (7.74 percent), and expenditures decreased by $2,233,381 (8.34 percent).
Rotan said that the budget planning process was frustrating for the board because of the uncertainty about what the current Legislature might do.
“We really didn’t know until mid-August what revenue was going to be available to us,” he said.