What is a Tax Ratification Election or TRE?
A TRE is an opportunity for voters to approve or disapprove the tax rate adopted by the Board of Trustees, and if passed, will allow Harlingen CISD to access the maximum amount of state funds to focus on replacement and upgrades of our facilities and equipment without incurring long-term debt.
According to Texas Law, school districts are required to hold an election for voters to approve an adopted tax rate that exceeds the rollback rate, or which increases the Maintenance and Operations or M&O component of the total tax rate.
The proposed tax rate adjustment is an increase to the M&O and a decrease to the Interest and Sinking or I&S component of the total tax rate. M&O funds the maintenance and operations of schools, and I&S pays for any bond debt that may have been issued to fund the construction of schools and facilities.
The TRE will allow the voters of Harlingen to give the district their input on the tax rates that fund their schools. Twenty-two school districts in the region have already approved a TRE and have been accessing these additional state funds as early as 2006.
Why did the school board call for a TRE?In May, the district saved over 8 million dollars by refinancing a portion of their long-term school bonds, which resulted in an estimated decrease of 3 cents in the I&S fund. In return, the district has an opportunity to reallocate these savings to the M&O through a TRE. If the TRE passes, the District will leverage these recent savings and receive much-needed additional funds which the District will dedicate to improvements on each campus based on the areas of greatest need.
Voter approval of the TRE will generate approximately 5.8 million dollars in state funds and another 4.2 million dollars in local funds, bringing the total to ten million dollars annually to address replacements and upgrades at HCISD campuses.