Thank you, Lockhart!
On November 7, 2023, voters approved the Voter Approval Tax Ratification Election.
The passage of the VATRE means that we can now move forward with plans to provide raises for all staff and school security enhancements at every campus in the district. Your commitment to our schools, our teachers, and, most importantly, our students, showcases the values that our community upholds – values that place our children at the forefront.
We are immensely grateful for the support that you have shown us!
The deadline to register is October 10, 2023. Remember to print and mail your application.
Information for Voters:
October 10, 2023 | Voter Registration Deadline
You MUST be registered to vote by October 10, 2023 to take part in the November 2023 election.
October 23, 2023 | Early Voting Begins
November 3, 2023 | Early Voting Ends
November 7, 2023 | Election Day
Links & Resources:
Note: You MUST print out and mail your form to the Caldwell County Office of Elections AFTER filling it out online. Voters who do not physically mail their registration forms will NOT be registered to vote. Mail your form to:Caldwell County Elections Office 1403 Blackjack Street, Suite A Lockhart, TX 78644 firstname.lastname@example.org. Join us at a community meeting! View meeting dates here. View our 2022 Efficiency Audit Report.
Lockhart ISD is calling for a Voter Approval Tax Ratification Election on November 7, 2023.
If approved by voters, the Voter Approval Tax Ratification Election (VATRE) will provide three things:
Higher pay for ALL Lockhart ISD teachers and staff.
- Safety enhancements at all Lockhart ISD schools.
- A decrease in the school tax rate AND a decrease in your tax bill.*
* Pending simultaneous approval of SB 2.
Watch the video to learn more about the upcoming election.
Why is Lockhart ISD calling for a VATRE?
This year, Lockhart ISD and over 150 other rural school districts saw unprecedented state funding cuts after legislative inaction during the 88th State Legislative Session.
School districts are funded first through local property taxes. Then, the State of Texas provides the remaining funds. The Texas Education Agency calculates a district’s state funding by estimating how much local tax revenue the district should collect based on local property values.
But this year, county property appraisals in LISD’s taxing zone haven’t kept up with rising property value estimates from the Texas Comptroller’s Office.
Simply put: the State of Texas doesn't think Caldwell County voters are paying enough taxes. Can you believe that?
This has led to a $3M funding loss that the State of Texas will not fill.
The funding gaps forced us to make hard budgeting decisions. Free school supplies for all students (something we've proudly provided since 2020) and yearly staff raises were cut. Even with these budget cuts, the funding gaps left by our State Legislature have left us with a $710,000 budget deficit for 2023-2024.
As faithful stewards of our community's tax dollars, we know that a low school tax rate is essential -- and we have one of the lowest school tax rates in Central Texas and a consistent record of financial conservatism to prove it.
That's why we've called for a Voter Approved Tax Ratification Election. If approved, your school tax rate will decrease by 15.54 pennies. If not approved, the school tax rate will decrease by 18.54 pennies.
If approved, the average LISD taxpayer's tax bill will decrease by $496.00/year. If not approved, the average LISD taxpayer's tax bill will decrease by $536.00/year.
That's a difference of $3.33/month for $3M in funding.
What does "Voter Approval To Raise Earnings for All" mean?
This year, we were unable to provide staff raises due to $3M million in funding losses from the State of Texas. Even with cutting raises, the losses in state funding were so drastic that we are now in a budget deficit of $710,000.
If the VATRE passes, ALL Lockhart ISD employees will receive a pay raise.
Non-teachers will receive up to 3% more. Teachers will receive up to 5.7% more.
“Lockhart ISD is proud to have the second-lowest school tax rate in Central Texas, but we also have one of the lowest starting teacher salaries. Passing the VATRE means LISD can ‘Raise Earnings for All’ to retain and recruit the best teachers while lowering taxes." - Superintendent Mark Estrada
How will the VATRE impact my taxes?
If approved, the VATRE will decrease the school tax rate and decrease your tax bill*.
The VATRE's proposed tax rate is $0.9569. This is a decrease from the current tax rate of $1.1123.
If the VATRE is not approved, your tax rate will decrease to $0.9269, but $3M in funds will not be generated for the school district's Maintenance & Operations budget.
If approved, the average LISD taxpayer will see a tax decrease of $496.00/year. If not approved, they will see a tax decrease of $536.00/year.
That is a difference of $3.33/month to generate $3M in funds.
* Pending simultaneous approval of SB 2, also on the November ballot. SB 2 proposes changing the homestead exemption from $40,000 to $100,000.
Calculate your tax bill with and without the VATRE.*
In 2023, all taxpayers will pay less than they did in 2022 -- regardless if the VATRE passes or fails.*
If the VATRE passes, LISD taxpayers will see an average tax bill decrease of $496.00/year. If the VATRE fails, LISD taxpayers will see an average tax bill decrease of $536.00.
The total decrease in your 2023 tax bill is dependent upon your property value growth. To calculate your tax bill decrease, subtract the result under each scenario from your 2022 Lockhart ISD tax due.
You can view your 2022 tax due by searching for your property in the Caldwell County Appraisal District Property Search.
*The homestead exemption used by this calculator is $100,000. This calculator assumes that SB2, which raises the homestead exemption, will pass.
Learn more about how Lockhart ISD is funded.
What will the ballot say?
After the Texas Legislature refused to fix school funding issues this year, LISD was forced into a budget deficit. Our district's record of financial conservatism enabled us to offset the funding loss by utilizing fund balances. However, this will not be sustainable beyond 2023-2024, thus requiring a VATRE. - Board President, Michael Wright
- How does a VATRE work?
- How is a VATRE different than a bond?
- Why is LISD calling for a VATRE after recently passing a bond?
- What will the ballot say?
- How will VATRE-generated funds be used?
- Which employees will receive a raise?
- How do LISD's teacher salaries compare to similar districts?
- How can a decrease in the tax rate generate $3M?
- What happens if the VATRE is not approved?
- I have more questions.