Katy and Fort Bend ISD will not be able to immediately increase their teacher salaries after voters voted against keeping a school tax rate.
The state has told Katy ISD to reduce their maintenance and operating tax rate by 4.7 cents.
To make up for that, Katy put it on the ballot, asking voters to pay the 4.7-cent difference.
That money would have increased teacher pay and school safety.
The district sent a letter to parents after the proposition failed, saying it understands that it was a big ask for the community.
In the letter to parents, the district’s board president and superintendent said, “We knew going into this election that asking our voters to sustain their current school district tax rate in lieu of a 4.7 cent state mandated reduction would be a big ask for our community, particularly during these times of uncertainty as we continue to climb out of a global pandemic and recession.”
State Sen. Paul Bettencourt, R-West Harris County, pushed for this proposition not to pass. He called voters before the election, asking them to choose wisely.
He said the state has given school districts more money, to help provide relief to taxpayers.
“My notice to them was, ‘here are the facts, this is what’s happening, and you’ll lose your property tax relief, and because the way these elections work, you’re going to pay that extra couple of hundred bucks roughly on average for the rest of your time you own the home,'” Bettencourt said.
Katy ISD officials said this proposition could be back on the ballot next year.
Sen. Bettencourt sees the importance of increasing teacher pay and school safety, but he’s going to look into legislation that’ll restrict districts from asking voters for money.
“We shouldn’t be telling the public one thing that we’ve got $1 billion coming through the system on property tax relief, but then coming back and saying, ‘half a dozen school districts tried this stunt,'” he said.
Without the proposition passing, Fort Bend ISD’s superintendent, Dr. Christie Whitbeck, said they will need to make even more cuts.
“We will need to cut another $47 million, and I think that’s where the cuts will get deeper and be a lot more challenging,” she said.