It’s not as much as they once thought they would raise them, since enough money was restored by the Legislature to stave off the need to raise taxes for that purpose.
Superintendent Terry Grier’s budget proposal, released Monday, would increase the tax rate by 2 cents and would expand his Apollo school reform program, a three-year-old effort that some trustees have not embraced.
If the board agrees to hike the tax rate more – by 4 cents – Grier proposed giving raises to teachers and other staff.
“I don’t mind paying more taxes,” Grier said at a board meeting Monday. “We know some of our schools need more help.”
A 4-cent increase would cost the owner of an average $209,000 home roughly $60 extra, assuming no change in value.
Taxpayers in the Houston Independent School District already were expected to face a 1-cent increase next year to help fund the recent bond issue for school construction, but that may not be necessary. HISD’s chief financial officer, Ken Huewitt, said Monday that higher property values may mean the district can delay the first tax increase related to the bond.
On the high end, HISD property owners would see a 5-cent tax increase in 2014 – if the 1-cent bond-related hike remained and if the school board approved another 4 cents for the general operating budget.
Trustees won’t formally adopt a tax rate until October, but they are scheduled to vote Thursday on a budget based on the rate they expect to approve.
The district’s current tax rate of $1.1567 per $100 of assessed value is the lowest among local school systems.
K-12 Zone has more on the budget considerations. They key driver here is the Apollo initiative, which remains a point of contention. The Chron op-ed pages on Wednesday had pro and anti Apollo articles, which I’ll leave you to read. I don’t feel like I know enough to make a judgment on this. HISD Board Chair Anna Eastman has some good discussion of the pro and anti pieces, if you want more reading. I need to give it some more thought. In the meantime, we’ll see what direction the Board takes.