By Warren Seay, Jr., Esq., former DeSoto ISD Board President
DeSoto ISD has a very important Tax Ratification Election (“TRE”) going on right now and I urge all citizens in our community to VOTE YES! Here’s the deal: public school districts in Texas have two different funds that comprise their budgets. The Maintenance and Operations (“M&O”) fund is used for daily operation costs like teacher salaries and school maintenance. The Interest and Sinking (“I&S”) fund is used to make debt payments and to build facilities. Together, the M&O and I&S tax rates make up the total tax rate for the school district.
In 2005, the Texas Legislature changed the education tax structure to give additional funds to school districts whose voters approve an M&O tax rate above the limited state tax rate. For DeSoto, if we approve the new M&O tax rate by voting YES, our district will gain an additional $4.6 million to use for teacher and staff benefits to offset rising health insurance costs, implementation of innovative programs like the Collegiate Magnet Academy, and support for the daily maintenance of the expanding facilities that make DeSoto a great place to live. This additional money will come to our school district AND DeSoto ISD taxpayers will see a decrease in the tax rate.
Here’s how. On June 15, 2015, the DeSoto ISD school board approved a resolution that will lower the I&S tax rate by 14 cents. Voting YES for the TRE will increase the M&O tax rate by only 13 cents. This means that the total tax rate for DeSoto ISD will decrease by 1 cent, which puts money back into the pockets of DeSoto homeowners and increases the money needed to make sure DeSoto students get the support they need to make our community proud.
On a personal note, the DeSoto community literally helped raise me into the man I am today. I attended Belt Line Elementary, Amber Terrace Intermediate, DeSoto West Junior High, and graduated from DeSoto High School. My family knows full well the high expectations that our community has for its schools and we’ve witnessed a lot of things change in this community. We often hear people revel about the ‘good ole days’ in DeSoto but right now we have an opportunity to stand up and show the State that our best days are ahead of us – and that access to a quality education is at the very core of who we are as a people in the All-America City of DeSoto.
So let’s show up for early voting August 19 – September 1 at the Belt Line Conference Center, 200 E. Belt Line Road, and on September 5 for Election Day to vote YES for the DeSoto ISD TRE. We have a lot to be proud of in this community and now we have an opportunity to ensure that the next generation of DeSoto students has all the tools needed to continue the legacy of excellence that has defined what it means to be a DeSoto Eagle. I urge you to join me in voting YES – because excellence is the only way DeSoto knows how to do business.