Tyler ISD lowers tax rate, increases staff pay

Published: Aug. 22, 2022 at 9:29 PM CDT
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TYLER, Texas (News release) - During its monthly meeting on Monday, the Tyler ISD Board of Trustees approved the Proposed General Fund Budget for the 2022-2023 school year.

Tyler ISD, the region’s largest school district, will go into the new school year with a budget of more than $169.5 million, which includes a net funding increase of about $3.1 million. That increase comes from a healthy district property tax growth.

As part of a tax swap compromise, the Texas Legislature agreed to increase its portion of school funding while compressing property tax rates. The district’s maintenance and operation tax rate will drop from $.9541 per $100 of taxable value to $.8793, with the district’s total tax rate falling from $1.2891 per $100 of taxable value to $1.1793. That figure includes the district’s interest and sinking rate, which decreased by 3.5 cents alone, and is the portion taxpayers vote on during bond elections.

“The School Board and District administration feel we’re at a point to where we could go deep in reducing the rate side the school system is responsible for; we presented our 2022 Bond as such and are proud we can go further than promised, reducing the debt rate side past the one penny we committed this past Spring,” Superintendent Dr. Marty Crawford said. “We’re blessed to have the facilities bestowed to us over the past two decades, and thankful voters approved the Hubbard Middle School-Early College High School bond in May. While we have expertly managed our borrowed obligations as led by long-time CFO Tosha Bjork, it’s time to work on our debt even more, continuing to reduce our portion as the market allows, of what is already one of the lowest, if not lowest aggregate tax rates among ISDs/cities/counties/college districts in the State as compared to counties that share our characteristics.”

The District will realize a net increase of about 11.7 percent in taxable value across their taxable area, which covers the city of Tyler and large portions of Smith County, per values recently certified by Smith County Appraisal District.

“While the taxable value increased a little over 10 percent, school systems don’t realize all of it as they are capped per statute,” Dr. Crawford said. “Even though we’re inside of this inflationary spike, because of how we manage our fiscal program, we can still comfortably live within our means, not reduce student-related programming, and provide our teachers and staff with compensation increases as we have done for a decade or so.”

The state’s portion of the funding will now comprise about 34.8 percent of the district’s budget, and the local portion will account for 64.1 percent.

The net increase in funds will allow the district to raise teacher pay and expand safety and security measures across the district.

Starting teacher pay will increase from $48,750 to $50,000, and teachers with between one and five years of experience will receive $1,500 raises. Teachers with six years of experience will get a $1,250 raise. Teachers with seven to 39 years of experience will receive $1,000 raises, and teachers with 40 years of experience will receive $465. Teachers with more than 40 years of service are capped. RNs will also get a base increase to $50,000.

Administrative and professional staff will get a 2% of midpoint salary increase, and annualized hourly staff, paraprofessionals, and manual trades will get a 3% of midpoint raise.

Minimum and maximum pay for those positions will also be increased. The minimum base hourly rate will be $12. The district will also try to incentivize bus drivers and mechanics with 2% of midpoint raises.