Several valley school superintendents are turning to Action 4 News to get the word out about a special tax ratification election underway. For most, the money is there, it just needs to be approved by you the voter. They say a few cents can go a long way for valley schools even saving lots of jobs.
Three school superintendents are trying to figure out how to get voters to pass a tax rollback which could make San Benito and La Feria teachers very happy or very displeased if it doesn't go through.
Dr. Nabor Cortez, La Feria ISD Superintendent says, "If we do pass it the district has access to the 1 point 3 million dollars in additional funds and we don't have to reduce staff to the tune of 1 point 3 million dollars."
Superintendent for San Benito CISD Antonio Limon says, "Our teachers are scheduled to get a 12 hundred dollar salary increase, 6 percent for hourly and 2 percent for non teaching professionals. The only way we can afford it is if we have additional money. If the election is not successful, then employees won't get a raise, it's as simple as that. " With a revenue cap on state funds, not enough resources are coming in for school districts to operate at their current levels and that's why they need voter approval to move money from one existing fund to another. May sound confusing, but La Feria Superintendent Dr. Nabor Cortez says the money will make more of a difference if placed in the maintenance and operation fund. Doesn't make much sense to the average person, but the rollback does actually bring in more than enough cents to school districts.
Dr. Cortez says, "We are looking at in the swapping of 13 pennies is realizing one point seven million dollars. Even after we take care of the I and S, we are still left with one point two million dollars without costing a sent to the taxpayer." That's right, the rollback wouldn't affect the tax rate in La Feria or San Benito as Superintendent Antonio Limon reiterates, In our case, the taxes would remain the same, regardless if election is successful or not, taxes will not change." The same is not true for Lyford CISD.
Superintendent Eduardo Infante says, "In our particular case, we are going to the voters for a proposed 13 cent tax increase." The Lyford superintendent says funds for his district don't already exist so it's imperative that voters take a bit of a tax hike to keep teachers and ultimately students competing with the rest of the valley.
"Accountability standards keep going up, but our resources are going down and so ultimately we have to go to the taxpayers for approval to continue operating at current levels, otherwise, we'll have to make cuts.. "
Early voting is already underway with Election Day September 18th.
You can get voting information at the following school district sites:La Feria Independent School District Lyford Consolidated Independent School District San Benito Consolidated Independent School District