McAllen school board maintains tax rate, moves on ratification

McALLEN — Following a successful tax ratification election, the local school district’s board of trustees voted unanimously Tuesday night to maintain its tax rate but change where some of the money is allocated.

McAllen ISD trustees approved keeping its overall tax rate at $1.155 per $100 valuation, but switching the portion of this rate going into interest and sinking, or I&S, which pays for the district debt, to nothing.

As discussed by district officials before the election, the entirety of the taxes collected will be kept instead in the maintenance and operations side, known as M&O, in order to levy more matching dollars from the state as this side gets matched at a higher rate.

District officials estimate being able to levy a total of $14 million by having all pennies in the M&O side. This is about $7million more than they would otherwise receive — enough to cover both the debt and maintenance needs.

The board held a brief presentation during Tuesday’s meeting, in which officials stated each penny is slated to levy $712,036. A public comment section followed the presentation before the vote, but no public comments or discussion ensued.

All five board members present approved the proposed rate and change.

The approved change will become official as of Jan. 1, 2019, and continue up until Dec, 31, 2019. At that point the board will decide whether to keep the tax rate the same.

Superintendent Jose Gonzalez has repeatedly said the district has no intention of increasing the overall tax rate, based on its history of maintaining or lowering its taxes.

But the approved ratification also means the board does have the green light to increase the tax rate up to $1.285 in the future without an additional election.