NEWS HEADLINES

PISD looks at raising taxes

By Jimmy Alford | Published Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Citizens in Paradise ISD’s tax base could see a bump in their upcoming taxes.

The Paradise school board met for a budget workshop Monday night. In the discussion, the board has considered calling a tax election to cover the school district’s current budget deficit of about $300,000.

The deficit is the result of decreased state funding, according to Superintendent Monty Chapman.

“Local money has stayed the same or increased,” Chapman said.

It’s been more than a dozen years since PISD raised taxes. In fact, the maintenance-and-operations rate in 2003 was $1.50, which was lowered because of laws passed by the state legislature. The M&O rate was down to $1.04 by 2005.

Paradise’s only tax increases have been the result of bond repayment.

The board called for a public hearing for Aug. 19 to discuss raising the M&O tax by as much as 8 cents.

Taxpayers also have a 30 cents per $100 valuation in interest and sinking, or I&S, to pay bond debt. That added to the current M&O of $1.04, means homeowners paid $1.32 per $100 valuation in 2013. An 8 cents increase would raise total school tax to $1.42.

According to figures presented to the board by Chapman, the current average valuation for Paradise homes is $112,797, which is up from $109,415 in 2012.

If the school board were to adopt an 8-cent tax increase, homeowners’ school taxes could increase by about $123.56.

Chapman said the district budget has stayed relatively flat and only increased by about .26 percent.

“This possible tax increase would only balance the budget,” Chapman said. “We aren’t raising and spending.”

Chapman said the school is just trying to maintain the quality of education the community expects.

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