New Diana ISD tax ratification election would fund teacher salaries, special programs

New Diana ISD Superintendent Carl Key says the tax ratification election (TRE) asks taxpayers to pay a little more in property taxes to help with the district’s
Published: Oct. 25, 2023 at 3:57 PM CDT
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NEW DIANA, Texas (KLTV) - New Diana ISD Superintendent Carl Key said the tax ratification election (TRE) asks taxpayers to pay a little more in property taxes to help with the district’s budget deficit.

They have already cut programs such as computer programming and they are unable to fill open teacher positions. If passed, the money generated by the TRE, which is different from a bond election, would go towards maintenance and operations, including educational programming and teacher salaries.

Parents of students in New Diana schools have put more effort into spreading the word about the TRE after it failed to pass the last time it was on the ballot.

“At the end of the day, it just comes down to, ‘does voting for the TRE enhance the educational experiences of New Diana students?’ and that answer is a yes,” said Cortney Tant. She has a ninth grader, a fourth grader and a kindergartner.

Other tax payers have concerns about the integrity of school funding.

“So, basically just vote for it whether you understand it or not, because it’s for the children. Whenever they use the children like that, that plays on people’s sympathies, so – dishonesty, not being honest,” said Thomas Duhon, who homeschools his three children.

He does, however, agree that students and teachers within the district deserve to have their needs met.

“I want the school to have what it needs, but I don’t think that they are honest with the money that they do get,” he said.

Duhon also said he was unable to get a clear answer from the school when he asked them to explain the TRE, but Superintendent Carl Key disagrees.

“I feel like we’ve been transparent in our effort. If people are willing to seek out the information regardless of the complexities, regardless of the understanding of numbers or math or whatever it may be, we have been here to provide those opportunities,” Key said.

The district has a website completely dedicated to the 2023 TRE, including a section for commonly asked questions* and charts estimating tax impacts is the TRE does pass or does not pass.

*“TEA determines the basic Maintenance and Operations (M&O) tax rate each school district is to adopt. In our case this year it is $0.6192. They also allow school districts to raise additional revenue by adding up to $0.17 to the base rate set by TEA. In our case this is a total M&O rate of $0.7892. These $0.17 cents will provide the district with approximately $1,500,000. To add these $0.17 the school district must ask the community to vote via a VATRE. The community in prior years has approved $0.0695 of the $0.17. The district is asking the community to approve the remaining $0.1005. The Interest and Sinking Fund (I&S) is set by the school district based on the monetary needs to fulfill debt obligations for the current year.”