Lockhart ISD Board calls for a $71 M bond election and a Penny Put-Back through Voter Approved Tax Ratification Election
DATE: August 15, 2022
Lockhart ISD Board calls for a $71 M bond election, with no increase in the school tax rate, and a Penny Put-Back through Voter Approved Tax Ratification Election
The Lockhart Independent School District Board of Trustees called for a $71 million bond election for the November ballot during the regular meeting Monday night. The bond would not result in any increase in the school tax rate. Additionally, Lockhart ISD voted to lower the school tax rate to $1.123 per $100 valuation, triggering a Voter Approved Tax Ratification Election (VATRE). With voter approval, the “Penny Put-Back” would result in approximately $1 million in additional funding that the school district intends to use for school safety enhancements and competitive teacher pay.
As the community has grown through economic development and new residents, Lockhart ISD has also grown. The $71 million bond would provide for the purchase of land for a proposed elementary school #6, the construction of the proposed elementary school #6, and a new wing at Lockhart High School to support 500 more students. If approved, the construction would be completed in approximately two years.
In 2024, Carver Early Education Center, Bluebonnet Elementary School, Navarro Elementary School, and Alma Brewer Strawn Elementary will have exceeded maximum facility capacity. Clear Fork Elementary has already exceeded maximum capacity, and in two years, it will be at 126%. Lockhart High School is also already over maximum capacity, and in two years, it will be at 110%. The bond would alleviate overcrowding at elementary schools and Lockhart High School.
The Penny Put-Back through VATRE would enable voters to put back a penny into the maintenance and operations part of the school tax rate after the Texas Education Agency decreased the maintenance and operation rate by 1.74 pennies for 2022.
Since 2018, the school district has decreased its overall school tax rate by 20 pennies. If the voters approve the Penny Put-Back through the VATRE, it would still decrease the school tax rate by .74 pennies, and the penny that voters put back into the maintenance and operations tax rate would result in approximately $1 million the district intends for school safety enhancements and competitive teacher pay.
“Lockhart ISD has the lowest school tax rate in Central Texas and is able to do the $71 million bond without a school tax rate increase because of the work the Board has done to diligently pay down debt over the years,” said Superintendent Mark Estrada. “If voters approve the bond and the Penny Put-Back through the VATRE, the district will have more classrooms, less crowding, an overall decreased school tax rate, and additional funding for school safety enhancements and competitive teacher pay.”
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