The Galveston Coalition of Concerned Taxpayers strives to hold public entities accountable for their finances and keeping tax rates at reasonable levels.

Members of the organization recently met with Larry Nichols, superintendent of schools for Galveston Independent School District, to discuss the tax ratification election recently called by the GISD board of trustees. Based on those conversations, we are endorsing voting for the proposition.

Taxpayers are saving money before they walk into poll locations. The district has been able to save $8 million by smartly refinancing bonds, a cost that would have been paid by local property owners. This means a reduction in the district’s interest and sinking tax rate by 3 cents per $100 of assessed value.

Voting for the proposition will raise the school district’s maintenance and operations tax rate 2 cents, allowing for teacher and staff raises. Those 2 cents, or golden pennies, will raise $1.1 million that cannot be touched by the state finance system that takes a portion of GISD’s raised revenues to be redistributed to districts considered property poor.

This election will keep more local money in Galveston, rather than the pocketbooks of the Texas Education Agency.

Keep in mind, raising the maintenance and operations tax rate 2 cents will still result in an overall reduction by 1 cent. The current $1.165 per $100 of property valuation school tax rate is already the lowest in the region. Lowering it even further shows the district is thinking of those who fund local schools.

The state of Texas needs to overhaul the way we finance public education. Districts like GISD are burdened with having to send a portion of our precious local tax funds to the TEA instead of being spent locally.

The only long-term solution is statewide reform of school finance.

However, prudent measures like GISD is attempting in this election do make sense. Our hope is that GISD continues to strive to be fiscally responsible.

The Galveston Coalition for Concerned Tax payers encourages you to cast a vote for this proposition on or before Aug. 26.

Don Mafrige is chairman of the Galveston Coalition of Concerned Taxpayers.

(4) comments

Don Schlessinger

Thank you Mr. Mafrige and GCCT for being a watchdog over our tax Dollars. After reading this article I will be casting a vote in favor of the 2 cent tax increase.

George Croix

How is this different from a previous story?
It says smart use of refinancing has resulted in an ability to lower tax rates by 3 cents.
That's good work, and should be applauded.
Then it says that voters should approve a 2 cent tax rate that will go to raises and upkeep, and says those voters will still be saving 1 cent rate out of the 3.
True, but most people would say that all things equal, 3 things in hand is really more than 1 thing in hand. The reason then is not to just save the touted 1 cent for taxpayers, but to keep some money to use for worthy things.
Why not just say, straight up, we could give you 3 cents back, but want to keep 2 cents of that to pay for genuine needs?


Paula Flinn

Teacher raises or Administration raises, also? Inquiring minds want to know.

1 cent lower per $100, or 3 cents lower per $100... let's see...which would I prefer? Duhhhh!

GISD Communications

All info is available at www.gisd.org/election2014. Feel free to post any additional questions you may have there.
-GISD Communications

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