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Proposed tax rate increase topic of Galveston ISD public meetings - The Galveston County Daily News : Editorials

November 26, 2014

Proposed tax rate increase topic of Galveston ISD public meetings

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Posted: Tuesday, August 5, 2014 12:00 am

The Daily News came out early in support of the Galveston Independent School District’s proposal to raise the tax rate for routine maintenance and operations.

On June 15, the newspaper said: “The request, which will be on the ballot Aug. 26, boils down to a matter of trust. The district has earned it.”

While The Daily News has weighed in, readers that want to check for themselves will have a chance to do so this week.

The school district has scheduled two public meetings — one in Galveston and one on the Bolivar Peninsula — to give taxpayers a chance to look school officials in the eye and ask questions.

If you have any doubts, you should take advantage of one of those opportunities.

As a reminder, The Daily News was sold on this concept for a couple of reasons.

First, as votes on tax increases go, this one has an unusual amount of good news.

While the segment of the tax rate that supports maintenance and operations will increase 2 cents per $100 of assessed property value, the overall tax rate will drop a penny.

That’s a savings of $10 per $100,000 of assessed value.

That’s possible because the segment of the tax rate that supports bond debt is dropping 3 cents per $100 of assessed value.

That, in turn, is possible because the district refinanced debt remaining from old bond issues.

It made that move when interest rates dropped, saving about $8 million.

Second, while the state takes a bite out of the district’s tax levy under its Robin Hood plan for financing public schools, all of the proposed 2-cent increase in the tax rate would stay in the Galveston district.

That should generate $1.1 million — and that money would go for raises.

It’s time to reward the people who have answered the challenge and fought for needed change.

Since Hurricane Ike hit in 2008, the district has gotten better.

It’s gotten its finances in order.

Discipline at its campuses has improved.

It’s making an effort to improve its instruction and raise test scores.

That’s our view.

If you have doubts, drop in on one of these meetings.

Public meetings

• 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, GISD Support Center Administrative Annex, 3906 Ave. T, Galveston

• 5:30 p.m. p.m. Thursday, Crenshaw Elementary and Middle School, 416 state Highway 87, Crystal Beach