by Coy Holcombe.
Property owners recently received tax notices from Henderson County and from EISD. I received my notice from Henderson County a few weeks ago. My notice from EISD came yesterday. I want to spend a few minutes talking about the EISD tax process.
While EISD does set the tax rate for school property taxes, it does not set the value for property in the district. That is done by the Henderson County Appraisal District and the Van Zandt County Appraisal District. The majority of our property is in Henderson County. We only have a small portion of district property in Van Zandt County.
We are all very much aware of how our property values have increased over the course of the last few years. While this may provide more local revenue for EISD, it does not provide a windfall for school funding. As our local property values increase, the amount of state funding decreases. Currently, EISD is funded about 50% from the state and 50% from local property taxes. A few years ago, EISD was about 60% state and 40% local.
Our property tax rate is made up of two components: the M & O rate and the I & S rate. The M & O (maintenance and operations) rate is what provides funds for the daily operation of the district. The money brought in by the M & O rate is used for salaries, supplies, utilities, fuel, maintenance, travel, and contracted services. The I & S (interest and sinking) rate provides the funds to pay for the voter approved bonds.
The M & O rate is set by the state at $1.04. Except in the case of a disaster, the only way to increase the M & O rate above $1.04 is through voter approval. The I & S rate is determined by taking into account the amount of the bond payment, the percentage of tax collection, and any state aid that the district might receive for our bonds. A few years ago, our district received over $100,000 in state aid for our bond payments. With the increase in property values and the decline in enrollment/ADA, we received less than $20,000 in 09-10. We do not anticipate receiving any state aid for our bond payments in 10-11. This may change if our enrollment/ADA increases during the year. So, for the 10-11 school year, the district had to set an I & S rate that would generate enough funds to pay for the entire bond payment locally.
For the 2010-2011 school year, EISD's M & O rate is $1.04 and the I & S rate is $0.2363. That provides a total tax rate of $1.2763. EISD continues to provide the optional 20% homestead exemption for taxpayers. We are one of the few districts in this area (or even in the state these days) that provides this exemption. If you ever have a question concerning the tax process, please do not hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have a question concerning your tax notice, Debbie Myers, our tax collector, will be glad to help you. You may reach Debbie at email@example.com or by calling 425 – 5232.