The voter-approved tax increase decided last weekend in McKinney will enable the MISD Athletics Department to balance its budget for the 2014-’15 school year, but it will not receive any additional funds, the athletics director said Wednesday.
Shawn Pratt, MISD athletics director, said the Tax Ratification Election (TRE), ensures the department will retain existing funds and not have to make any further cuts.
The department already experienced hard cuts recently. Earlier this month, Pratt referenced a 20 percent reduction that occurred in 2011-’12, which included having coaches drive buses to games, the elimination of one assistant athletics director and having students pay to attend a summer workout program.
If the TRE had not passed, the district could have bene looking at a pay-to-play system and asking booster clubs to contribute more funds to athletic programs, Pratt said earlier this month.
“I am pleased that the voters turned out and made their voice heard,” Pratt said in an email about voters approving the tax increase.
McKinney voters approved the McKinney ISD tax increase Saturday, with 60 percent of total voters approving the increase.
A total of 9,300 voters – 11.1 percent of McKinney’s voting base – cast their ballots, with 5,617 voting for the measure.
The proposal will raise taxes from $1.54 to $1.67 per $100 of assessed home value, bringing McKinney’s property taxes to the highest allowable level in the State of Texas. The 13-cent increase will result in an annual tax increase of $268.59 for a home valued at $221,611 – the average home value in McKinney.
The MISD School Board ruled the election necessary after reductions in education funding from the State were approved by State Legislators in 2011, and the board was notified of a nearly $11 million shortfall in the MISD budget.
The increased tax rate will help MISD balance its budget and rebuild its fund balance, which had been used to fund operations the past two years.
While pleased, Pratt said if the increase had not passed the district would have spent most of this week thinking of ways to reduce costs and use remaining funds.
Pratt added there was a “very real chance we would have had to cut somewhere” when asked if sports programs could be cut if the increase did not pass. He elaborated on that by saying it “never got that far,” in reference to sports programs being cut from the district.
Now the department will be able to retain existing funds, and Pratt said it will allow the district to “keep moving forward,” without having to find ways to stay competitive with less teachers, coaches, budgets and funds.