Conroe, July 25 – Rather than standing as an example of integrity and ethics for the children of this community, the Conroe Independent School District (CISD) lies and obfuscates just about every time one of its high-level representatives opens his mouth. This time – in trying to convince Montgomery County voters that the school district is engaging in an act of beneficence by lowering its tax rate – the fraudulent CISD has enlisted the assistance of two pro-government public relations firms posing as news blogs, known as The Courier and The Villager.
Both of those blogs, which many years ago were actually newspapers, published completely fraudulent information spewing from CISD under the cover of news headlines.
The Courier published an article on July 17, 2019, under the headline, “Conroe ISD $549M preliminary budget may include lower tax rate” by a blogger named Jane Stueckemann. The Villager published an article on July 24, 2019, under the headline, “CISD may lower tax rate” by the same blogger. Both articles were false and misleading.
The point of each article was to deliver the supposedly great news that CISD planned to lower its tax rate from $1.28 per $100 valuation to $1.235 per $100 valuation. Although the article made brief mention of the state-mandated lowering of tax rates after the Texas Legislature passed House Bill 3 and Governor Greg Abbott signed the legislation into law, there were some very important points which CISD and its state-sponsored news blogs failed to mention.
Most importantly, CISD and the blogs failed to note that CISD is actually increasing taxes in two major respects! There’s also a third point of concern which citizens should view with gravity.
False statement Number One: CISD “may” lower the tax rate
The headlines referring to the possibility that CISD “may lower the tax rate” are actually quite misleading in two ways.
First, under the mandatory provisions of House Bill 3, CISD must lower the maintenance and operations portion of the tax rate by seven percent (7%). It’s mandatory. The current maintenance and operations tax rate is $1.06 per $100 valuation. $0.22 per $100 valuation is the debt service portion of CISD’s tax rate. Therefore, CISD must actually reduce its maintenance and operations to $0.97 per $100 valuation under House Bill 3. That reduction is mandatory, meaning taxpayers would enjoy a 7 cent tax rate reduction. The State of Texas will make up the lost tax funds by paying CISD that amount of money under the provisions of the statute.
Second, CISD is going to pull a trick. They’re actually going to raise the debt service tax rate by 4.5 cents per $100 valuation to 0.265 per $100 valuation. Under HB 3, CISD cannot raise its maintenance and operations tax rate but it may raise the debt service part of the tax rate.
As a result, after CISD has raised its debt service tax rate by 4.5 cents, its net tax rate will be $1.235 per $100 valuation.
It’s important to remember that the funds the State of Texas is paying CISD to make up for the compressed maintenance and operations tax rate didn’t come from a stork in the sky. They came from you!
False statement Number Two: CISD is “lowering” taxes
After CISD has increased the debt service portion of citizens’ school taxes by 4.5 cents, CISD’s and the blogs’ statements to the public that the school district is “lowering” taxes is completely false. It’s important to remember that the actual taxes you pay are the product (multiplication) of two numbers: the tax rate multiplied by your property tax appraisal for your home.
It’s important to note that CISD plans to increase spending by $34.36 million for the next Fiscal Year. That money doesn’t come from a stork in the sky either.
Property tax appraisals in CISD have risen 5.73% approximately during the past year. So let’s take an example of someone who owns a home which began with a $250,000 property tax appraisal.
During the previous school year, that person would pay school taxes as follows:
$250,000 Property Tax Appraisal x $1.28 per $100 valuation Tax Rate = $3,200.
The taxpayer would pay $3,200 in school taxes on their $250,000 home.
Now, however, let’s examine what will happen for the next Fiscal Year. First, the property tax appraisal has risen by 5.73% to $264,325. Second, CISD’s tax rate will be $1.235 per $100 valuation.
During the next school year, that person would pay school taxes as follows:
$264,325 Property Tax Appraisal x $1.235 per $100 valuation Tax Rate = $3,264.42 !!!
Guess what? Thanks to the greed – and poor fiscal management – of CISD, property taxpayers will have suffer an INCREASE in school property taxes under the so-called “property tax reform” and “school finance reform.”
If you don’t feel abused enough yet, read on
To make matters worse, Conroe ISD is the school district which is so money-hungry that it put forward an $807 million bond proposal, which included crazy proposals such as $23 million for turf for athletic fields, $1.6 million to retire a building while spending $1.4 million in the same bond package to refurbish the building, and, of course, over $131 million of maintenance items, among other ridiculous proposals.
With little fanfare, Conroe ISD intends to come back at voters again in November, 2019, with another bond proposal, because voters rejected the $807 million bond proposal by a near landslide margin on May 4.
Why? The real people in control of Conroe ISD are its vendors, PBK Architects and others who dictate pricing and then claim to manage construction projects while raping the taxpayers.
While some individuals have wisely counseled CISD to hold off on another bond proposal at least until after 2020, the avaricious CISD administration and its even greedier vendors do not want to wait to seize more citizen tax dollars, raise taxes even higher, and spend more of “other people’s money.”
DOES PROPERTY TAX REFORM FEEL GOOD YET?