If property values continue to rise, why do local school districts continue to request more funds?

Posted by Office of the Superintendent on 10/9/2018

As you receive your tax bill this fall, I feel it is important to demonstrate the complete picture of why the largest portion of the property taxes you pay is designated “Denton ISD” but does not benefit our local schools.


Many ask… "With the increase in property values, why can’t our school district lower the tax rate for our public schools, after all, the property tax we pay for our schools is the largest portion of our tax bill?”


What does all this mean?  The answer lies in the public-school finance system.  An early projection has our state decreasing state funding to public education and using our local school property taxes to fill the gaps.


The Texas Legislature has created a school finance system that depends on more than half of our property tax bills to fund the state’s budget – and this includes budget functions and projects that do not directly impact education or local public-school districts, even though they are labeled as such on your tax bill.


One would think a rise in property value and economic boom, would mean districts could or should lower their rates. However, the funding formula dictates that as property values rise, our state reduces its share of funding that legislators return to our public schools.


Frankly, we don’t have a tax problem in our state, we have a state allocation problem.  And the only way for meaningful property tax relief to occur in our state of Texas is to address the state funding of our public schools.


Voters in our community and in the majority of those across our state agree, continuing to support tax ratification elections and bond elections, demonstrating their approval of their local schools.


Our community passed a TRE last fall by more than an 80 percent margin in an effort to help our district gain $7.9 million, which was needed because the state’s share of funding our schools dropped to 31 percent this past school year.


This fall, Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath confirmed that the Texas Education Agency has projected a drop in the state’s general revenue for public education by more than $3.5 billion over the next two years. TEA’s solution is not to come up with a solution for this shortfall. Why not? Because our local tax revenue is making up the difference.


Denton ISD hit a record enrollment of 30,019 student on the 10th day of this school year. We currently rank first in the North Texas area for number of undeveloped lots, so growth will continue.  Denton County sits as the ninth-fastest growing for population in the United States, and every one of the district’s 41 campuses saw a double-digit increase in enrollment.


Again, your tax bill will continue to increase while our campuses will work to educate more students with fewer supplies, higher class sizes and less support.


Like many other areas with a thriving local economy and strong public schools, Denton ISD is one of the largest employers in our community. Not only do we operate an organization that ensures we maintain an educated workforce, we ARE the educated workforce. And our employees are often the most stable, economic drivers of a community’s economy.


We know the majority of you understand this and the current situation public schools are in because you continue to support Denton ISD. In order for us to make meaningful change, I urge each of you to exercise your right to vote, and to let our state elected officials know we expect true property tax reform that includes adequate public-school funding.