In the past few years, Galveston ISD has been improving.

Improvements have been made in accountability, test scores, enrollment, collaborations and performance results across many different sectors within the district. Improvements have been made with GISD’s perception, both within and outside our community.

Why is this important to the Galveston Economic Development Partnership? As GISD improves, Galveston improves.

On Tuesday, we as a community have an opportunity to participate in another step toward GISD’s continued improvement. Tuesday is election day for the tax ratification election for GISD.

The administration at GISD has been hard at work, educating as many folks as will listen about the tax ratification election proposal and its impacts on Galveston, the teachers and staff within GISD and the tax rate charged to island taxpayers.

As a result of the district’s refinancing of bonds to a lower interest rate, about $8 million has been saved, and the district can lower its interest and sinking fund by 3 cents.

With your permission, here’s what GISD proposes to do with these savings:

1. The total tax rate to the taxpayer will decrease by one cent (from $1.165 to $1.155 per $100 of assessed value).

2. The district has committed to using the remaining 2 cents (that are not subject to recapture by the state) for teacher and staff raises in an effort to bring starting salaries in Galveston closer to those in neighboring school districts.

Financing public education in Texas is broken. Galveston, as a “property wealthy” school district, is returning 25 cents of every dollar to the state for use in other districts outside of Galveston. This election is an opportunity for GISD to return 2 cents back, without losing them to recapture, to benefit the island’s teachers and staff.

The GEDP supports this proposition because of the strides being made by GISD in accountability, test scores, enrollment, collaborations and performance results across many different sectors within the district. Because improving GISD makes Galveston more attractive — and that increases the island’s economic opportunities.

Please vote Tuesday, if you have not done so already.

Guest Column

Jeffrey Sjostrom is president of the Galveston Economic Development Partnership.

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