MILLSAP — A majority of Millsap ISD voters gave their approval to a 13-cent property tax hike by passing a tax ratification election last Saturday.

This was the district’s second attempt to pass a TRE to raise monies for its daily maintenance and operations costs, and this time it worked with 55 percent of voters in favor of the local tax rate hike.

The district canvassed the votes in a meeting Wednesday, resulting in an official vote of 300-244, according to MISD Superintendent Jerry Lee Hunkapiller.

The one-time election means MISD is able to raise its previously capped $1.04 M&O rate to $1.17 per $100 valuation for this year and following years. Combined with its interest and sinking tax rate of 49.5 cents per $100 valuation, the district’s total tax rate is now $1.665 per $100 taxable value.

Prior to last Saturday’s election, Hunkapiller called it “the most important” in the district’s history.

“Thank God,” he said Thursday. “We’re very proud of our community and now we will start getting everyone together to start getting ready for this next legislative session.”

“We’re under one of the most inequitable public school finance systems,” he explained when asked, citing that Santo ISD will face the same type of 13-cent TRE election Saturday.

“It’s not fair that because of a legislative decision, or lack of, we’re having to place our community through a lot of emotion with these elections. It’s just not fair,” he noted.

The district projects the increased tax rate will generate a little over half a million more dollars to cover general operations like salaries, educational supplies and textbooks, maintenance and utilities.

“The TRE will help balance this year’s budget and help put some money back into fund balance [it’s savings account] to help with last year’s deficit,” said Hunkapiller. “And it will help allow us to have a balanced budget next year.”

“What this means is we no longer have to cut positions or programs,” he said of the voter-approved TRE. Last year, MISD cut its programs across the board by 20 percent and eliminated 12 staff positions.

“Before we decide what positions we can add in the future, we’ll have to wait and see what happens in the next legislative session,” he said.

Staff writer Libby Cluett can be reached at (940) 325-4465, ext. 3422, or lcluett@mineralwellsindex.com.

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