Two of the largest Hidalgo County school districts announced plans to lower taxes for the 2020-21 school year this week.
Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD and McAllen ISD released statements touting the decreases at the respective school districts.
At PSJA, the board of trustees voted to decrease the tax rate for the school year by half a cent during Monday’s board meeting.
The board approved the half cent reduction for an overall tax rate of $1.2675 per $100 valuation, a release from the district says, noting that the rate includes $1.0507 for the Maintenance and Operations (M&O) and $.2168 for the Interest and Sinking (I&S) funds.
“I’m extremely proud of our team for successfully balancing the budget in line with our goals,” PSJA Superintendent Jorge L. Arredondo wrote in the release. “Going into the budgeting process, we aimed to preserve quality of instruction and services, retain and recruit quality staff, and prioritize staff and student safety, and I believe we have accomplished that.”
According to the statement, the district has been decreasing taxes for several years.
“The district’s tax rate has been declining over the last five years,” PSJA Chief Financial Officer Janet Robles wrote. “I would imagine most of our community would like to see our tax rate continue to decrease. The state funding system does not make it easy to drop the tax rate very much without losing state aid.”
Through provisions of the Texas Tax Code, the board was able set a higher M&O tax rate without an election for a one-year period following a disaster declaration for Hidalgo County issued by Gov. Greg Abbott in June, according to the release. District officials say this has since expended funds to mitigate the effects caused by the severe storms earlier this summer.
“Our Superintendent and School Board have made it a priority to take care of the district staff in terms of compensation and benefits,” Robles said. “Our district has even continued to pay 100 percent of the employee share of health insurance and given raises consistently over the last 20 years.”
At McAllen ISD, the board voted to reduce the overall total tax rate by nearly 1.5 cents per $100 of property valuation, the second consecutive year the district has reduced taxes.
The decrease would save a family with a $100,000 home about $14 per year, a release from the district said.