House Bill 3 nullifies WFISD tax ratification

WFISD Board Meeting: State nullifies TRE

WICHITA FALLS, Texas (TNN) - The Wichita Falls ISD board voted to approve a new budget today which removes any additional funding the district might have received from the tax ratification election.

This is after wording in house bill three annulled the new tax ratification, which was passed just three months ago.

“Due to the restraints of House Bill 3, Texas Education Agency has requested Wichita Falls Independent School District set a tax rate of $1.15,” said the district’s chief financial officer Tim Sherrod.

“Unfortunately the process did not yield the results we had hoped it would and we were denied allowing our TRE to go into effect,” added school board president Elizabeth Yaeger.

In June the tax ratification election held by the WFISD swapped and dropped tax rates for the district, overall lowering the rate to $1.17 from $1.22 the previous year.

This change would have given the district an extra $1.3 million towards capital improvements.

Today those changes were nullified with the passing of a new budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

“It’s really disappointing,” said Yaeger, “and we were really optimistic.”

House Bill 3 sets the maintenance and operations rate at $0.97 and the interest and sinking at $0.18

While this overall means a lower tax rate for taxpayers, it means no more extra funding for those capital improvements.

“We’ll still continue looking at those needs. We have a list and we’ll be looking over that over the next month or so and determining what our priorities are. We’ll just be a little bit shorter on funding for those needs,” said Yaeger.

During his presentation to the board, the district’s chief financial officer added that without the extra money from TRE there is still some excess in the budget to help check off some items on the list.

“We weren’t able to have it in the balanced budget but we have a large excess that we don’t typically have in the fund balance this year,” said Sherrod.

“We were doing our very best to manage our financial resources to the best of our abilities, and really appreciate our taxpayers trusting us to do that," said Yaeger, "I’m really sorry that we weren’t able to move forward with that TRE.”

The next board meeting is set for next Tuesday, October 8th, and at the point they’ll start figuring out how they can move forward with this new budget.

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