Why a VATRE?
China Spring ISD has lost teachers over the years to competing districts who pay higher salaries and, at times, miss out on potential new hires who would take a pay cut to join CSISD.
This past school year alone CSISD lost 43 employees to other districts with many of them getting a higher salary.
The proposed November VATRE will generate over $2 million in funds for CSISD to:
- Increase salaries by $7,000 for teachers, nurses, and counselors.
- Increase salaries by $3,500 for auxiliary staff, which includes hourly employees, classroom aides, secretaries, office personnel, and cafeteria workers.
- Increase bus driver salaries by $4.75 a route.
Review the Board-approved resolution stating that revenue generated by the VATRE would be used solely for teacher and staff compensation – not for buildings, buses, or any other district initiatives.
What is a VATRE?
A Voter-Approval Tax Ratification Election is required by the state in order to approve a tax rate increase that generates additional revenue for public schools.
How do CSISD starting salaries compare to nearby districts?
Over 600 school districts across the state have passed a VATRE, including Robinson ISD, Connally ISD, La Vega ISD, Lorena ISD, and Crawford ISD. Midway ISD is currently considering a 2023 VATRE.
If the VATRE is approved by CSISD voters, the projected tax rate would remain lower than it was in 2019-2020. The impact on the average $288,284 CSISD home would be $42.36 a month.
Citizens aged 65 and older who have an Age 65 Freeze on their homesteads and make no home improvements will not be impacted
by the VATRE. During the recent public hearing, this matter was brought up, and the McLennan County Tax office has verified this to be fact. In addition, CSISD residents inside city limits should know that the Waco City Council passed an ordinance over the summer offering an additional $10,000 exemption for people 65 and older. Details on the exemption process will be finalized by the City this fall.
Historical Tax Rates
CSISD was able to keep up with raises and stay competitive on salaries through 2019 when mandatory tax compression started under state law. Compression was intended to lower property taxes, but resulted in no new revenue for schools.
Consequently since 2019, the only way to receive more state revenue is to increase enrollment significantly. Most schools around us that we compete with have already passed a VATRE for salary increases, including Robinson, Connally, Lorena, Crawford, and LaVega ISDs. Midway ISD and Waco ISD are larger districts with commercial tax revenue that CSISD does not have. Midway ISD is seeking a VATRE in May 2023.
The total tax rate is made up of two components: (1) the maintenance and operations or “M&O” tax rate, and (2) the interest and sinking or “I&S” (also known as debt service) tax rate.
- The M&O tax rate is used to fund the day-to-day operations of the district, including teacher and staff salaries, utilities, books, electronic devices, student supplies, district insurance, maintenance and custodial supplies, transportation, mental health needs, and other items to educate our students.
- The I&S tax rate can only be used to pay the principal and interest payments on bonds sold to construct and furnish district facilities. It cannot be used to fund the district’s operating costs.
- CSISD’s 2021-22 total tax rate is $1.26576.
- If the VATRE passes, then the new tax rate will be $1.29407, a 2.8 cent increase from last year’s rate.
The District posts job opportunities on multiple job boards, including the CSISD website, ESC Region 12, TASA, and social media. The district has also opened up an Indeed account. The Executive Director of HR attends job fairs (along with some administrators) at Tarleton State University, Baylor University, Region 12, Stephen F. Austin State University, Texas State University, Texas A&M University, and Sam Houston State University yearly.
No. The one-time election will provide funds for staff salaries each year.
Tax compression, which shrunk our M&O tax rate, didn’t start until 2019. The M&O tax rate is how school districts pay for salaries, supplies, and operating expenses. Since 2019, CSISD’s M&O tax rate has been compressed by almost 20 cents.
Prior to 2019, CSISD was able to stay competitive with the salaries offered by surrounding districts. Now that compression has taken place, the pandemic is mostly behind us, the new elementary has opened, and the bond impacted the tax rate by less than a penny, the Board is addressing our low starting salary with the goal of retaining highly qualified staff.
No. State law prohibits school districts from using bond proceeds for employee salaries.
There will be one proposition, and it will read as follows based on state law requirements: “RATIFYING THE AD VALOREM TAX RATE OF $1.290604 PER $100 VALUATION IN THE CHINA SPRING INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT FOR THE CURRENT YEAR, A RATE THAT WILL RESULT IN AN INCREASE OF 12.31 PERCENT IN MAINTENANCE AND OPERATIONS TAX REVENUE FOR THE DISTRICT FOR THE CURRENT YEAR AS COMPARED TO THE PRECEDING YEAR, WHICH IS AN ADDITIONAL $2,365,188.”
Voters will be asked to vote “For” or “Against” the proposition.
Because state law does not allow CSISD to deviate from the statutory language, the Board of Trustees passed a resolution explaining that the anticipated new revenue, if passed by voters, will fund salaries only.
A “For” vote means you approve the tax rate of $1.290604, which would generate approximately $2,365,188 to be used for staff salary increases.
An “Against” vote means you do not approve the tax rate of $1.290604, which would generate approximately $2,365,188 to be used for staff salary increases.
If the VATRE does not pass, the tax rate will roll back to the calculated rate instead of the proposed rate of $1.29407, and CSISD staff salaries will remain unchanged.
No. The instructional budget of $16,970,938 increased by $867,175 for this school year. This increase allowed CSISD to hire 16 additional teachers and classroom aides to address student growth within the district.
The budget for school leadership of $1,815,716 increased by $171,413 for this school year, also to address growth within the district. This increase allowed CSISD to hire an additional assistant principal at the high school, a second assistant principal at the elementary school, and a clerk for the district’s “Public Education Information Management System (PEIMS),” which processes all data requested and received by the Texas Education Agency.
On a percentage basis, the increase to the leadership budget appears higher than the increase to the instructional budget, but in real dollars, the increase is the instructional budget was five times greater than the increase to the leadership budget. In either case, the increase funded new positions, not increased salaries.
Early vote at any of these locations from Monday, October 24 – Friday, November 4.
|Monday, 10/24 – Friday, 10/28||8 am – 5 pm|
|Saturday, 10/29||7 am – 7 pm|
|Sunday, 10/30||1 pm – 6 pm|
|Monday, 10/31 – Friday, 11/4||7 am – 7 pm|
Election Day is Tuesday, November 8 from 7 am – 7 pm.