Comal ISD Trustees Adopt Tax Rate, Approve Separate Elections to Address Compensation, Growth
Comal ISD trustees adopted a proposed tax rate and called for two separate elections at their monthly board meeting on Monday.
A Voter Approved Tax Ratification Election (VATRE) addresses compensation for teachers and staff. A separate election for a bond package would help pay for facilities that support district growth.
Early voting runs from Oct. 18-29. The last day to register to vote in these elections is Oct. 4. The elections are scheduled for Nov. 2. For more information on voting, click here.
Also on Monday, trustees approved a maximum maintenance-and-operations (M&O) tax rate of $0.9420 and a tax rate of $0.35 for interest and sinking, which remains the same.
The total tax rate is $1.2920 per $100 of appraised property value.
The proposed tax rate is $0.0163 more than the 2020-21 school year.
If approved by voters, the M&O tax rate for 2021 would be 94 cents compared to 2020’s tax rate of 92 cents.
In the future, the tax rate is projected to lower back to 92 cents in 2022 and 91 cents in 2023 due to rising property appraisal values, the district said.
The new rate must be approved by voters because under 2019’s HB 3, the proposed M&O rate is higher than the tax rate used to estimate maintenance-and-operations revenues for the 2021-22 budget approved in June.
Taxpayers still enjoy a 20% local homestead exemption, which equates to $65 per month, or $780 per year, in savings, the district said.
This special election would generate local revenue to provide teachers and staff with additional compensation, and fund new teaching positions to cope with student growth.
If the ratification is approved, teachers and staff would receive a 3% pay increase and support personnel would see a $1.50 hourly pay increase.
Revenue generated by VATRE could fund compensation increases of up to three percent annually over the next three to four years.
“In June, this board approved a resolution that would ensure that revenue generated by the VATRE, both this year and in future years, is dedicated solely to fund teacher and staff compensation as well as new teacher positions,” Comal ISD Board President Jason York said in a statement today.
“As a board, we are committed to ensuring that our teachers, staff and auxiliary employees are compensated fairly for the work they do on behalf of our students,” he said.
Funds rasied through a bond package would allow the district to better serve the nearly 6,000 new students projected to enroll in Comal ISD over the next five years.
Trustees said the $411,287,320 they’re asking for would fund the construction of four new schools:
- Elementary #19, to provide relief for Clear Spring and Freiheit elementary schools.
- Elementary #20, to provide relief for Garden Ridge and Morningside elementary schools.
- Middle School #8, which would relieve Pieper Ranch Middle School.
- A new Hill Country College Preparatory high school.
Proposition A also would fund campus reinvestment-and-infrastructure projects, and the purchase of campus safety-and-security measures, buses and land.
At $61,487,803, this bond item would fund a variety of athletic-program projects at Canyon, Canyon Lake and Smithson Valley high schools and at Mountain Valley Middle School, including:
- Weight rooms, wrestling facility and lockers at Canyon High School.
- Baseball and softball facilities at Canyon Lake High School.
- Baseball and softball facilities at Mountain Valley Middle School.
- Locker rooms and a wrestling facility at Smithson Valley High School.
- Pavilion/agriculture area for an event center planned by Danville Middle School.
Budgeted at $20,397,672, Proposition C would fund stadium capacity-expansion projects at Canyon Lake and Davenport high schools.
This $34,540,000 measure would fund student and teacher instructional technology and network infrastructure projects.
It’s ridiculous to pour more money into athletics facilities, when the primary purpose of our public schools is to teach core competencies in language, mathematics and science. Our tax dollars should not be spent on facilities that will not benefit the whole student body. With rising property values, the burden of supporting the operating costs of these additional facilities, as well as the debt service has begun to compromise a lifestyle that I have worked hard to attain. With a paid off house, and a fixed income, I am getting to a point where I cannot afford to live in the house I built due to the Comal ISD tax rate. For my property, Comal ISD tax amount is now triple all other property taxes combined.
While all this additional funding comes at a cost, both to those with and without students, it adds necessary value to our community. These students are our future, and those that support them every day also deserve our support. I no longer have children in Pre-K through 12th grade, but I see this as a way to contribute to the public school system which supported both my wife and I as well as our children. What do I get out of it? Better educated children in our community, which will one day also be local homeowners and more. If I benefit from having a better property value, because communities with good schools often have higher values, I’ll accept that as an additional benefit.