Education

Education

The Temple school board Monday evening approved the final puzzle piece to its $119.8 million budget — its tax rate.

The Temple Independent School District will levy a rate of about $1.35 per $100 valuation for the 2019-20 school year. That is a 5-cent decrease from last year’s rate of $1.40.

The school board approved the new rate in a 6-0 decision. Trustee Shannon Gowan did not attend the meeting.

Although the tax rate is lower, that does not mean residents will see a decrease in their tax bills.

The certified value of Temple ISD increased $394,090,770 to more than $4.3 billion. Last year, the school district had a value pegged at more than $3.9 billion.

The average home in Temple ISD is valued at $108,929 — a $8,290 increase from last year’s average home of $100,639. That homeowner will pay nearly $1,477 in Temple ISD taxes this year. Last year, that resident paid about $1,409.

For residents not to see an increase in their tax bills, Temple ISD would have had to levy a tax rate of about $1.37. This is known as the effective rate.

The voter-approval rate — the highest rate the district could have levied before voters could petition for an election on it — was about $1.44 cents. This rate was known as the rollback rate until the Texas Legislature renamed it this year.

Temple ISD officials attributed the lower tax rate to House Bill 3 — the $11.6 billion school finance and property tax reform measure lawmakers approved and Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law earlier this year — and the sale of the last of the 2015 bonds in July.

“This bill was a rare occurrence in which district needs aligned perfectly with legislative intent,” Superintendent Bobby Ott said.

Board President Dan Posey said the slightly lower tax rate is “very good.”

“We appreciate what the state did in funding for us, and the legislation to require this,” Posey said, referring to the $2.84 million Temple ISD received in new funds from the state.

The school board approved the district’s $119.8 billion budget in late June. It included a raise between $3,000 to $5,725 for teachers based on their years of experience.