Voters to decide whether to approve tax rate change to pay for CSISD teacher salary increase

“I hear a lot of parents, and a lot of people say a lot of rhetoric about how we need to pay teachers more or teachers don’t make what they should, and this is our opportunity to actually do something about it.”
KBTX News 3 at Ten(Recurring)
Published: Oct. 13, 2022 at 7:57 PM CDT
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COLLEGE STATION, Texas (KBTX) -College Station voters will decide on changes to the school district’s finances when they head to the polls later this fall. The district is holding a voter-approved tax ratification election (VATRE) which would allow the school district to utilize additional pennies on its tax rate to generate additional revenue.

The CSISD Board of Trustees called for the voter-approved tax ratification election (VATRE) in August and will be on the ballot during November’s General Election.

On the ballot, the measure is known as Proposition A and If approved the district would generate additional funding estimated at around $5 million to go toward increasing employee salaries.

College Station ISD Superintendent Mike Martindale says if approved the CSISD tax rate would still be lowered by 3.7 cents, which is 21.99 cents (or 15.7%) lower than it was in 2017-18.

“In essence, what it does is ask our voters and stakeholders that, as opposed to dropping the tax rate 6.7 cents, which is what the state funding formulas would do, that we drop it 3.7 cents, allowing the district to hold on to those three pennies that are already there on the tax rolls and collect revenue off of those pennies and apply that revenue toward teacher and employee compensation,” Martindale said.

Prop A on Sample Ballot
Prop A on Sample Ballot(KBTX)

According to data released by the school district CSISD teacher salaries were eight percent lower than the median teacher salaries of comparable districts for the 2021-22 (last year) school year. A six percent raise and increasing the starting salary for teachers with zero years of experience to $49,600 will move CSISD teacher pay from 92% of what comparable districts are paying to 97%.

Martindale says the three-penny difference between the tax rates will go a long way toward ensuring the district remains competitive with similar-sized school districts as it relates to teacher and employee compensation. The pay increase would also come during a time when districts across the country are facing staffing challenges.

“That additional revenue being applied to teacher compensation will allow us to be more in line with our comparable districts as far as employee compensation which has a tremendous influence on our ability to be able to recruit and retain high-quality staff,” said Martindale.

Kim Ege is a College Station resident who also has three children attending schools in the College Station Independent School District. She proudly displays her yard sign supporting Proposition A. She says three pennies is the least she can do to ensure her children are being taught by the best, therefore receiving the best education possible.

“I think it’s a question of what value do you put on education and what value do you put on what the teachers and the school staff do for our students and also for our community,” said Ege. “I think it’s been talked about a whole lot more when the pandemic hit, people talking about what exactly do our educators do for our students? We’re realizing that it’s important and that no matter what else is going on around those educators are having to adapt and work hard for our students.”

Ege says attracting the best teachers affects more than just children attending the district it affects the entire community.

“Not only do I think that what our teachers and staff do is gonna help my kids and other people’s kids to be able to have opportunities in the future but I think for our community we want to have a good school district because we want this to be a place where people wanna be,” said Ege. “That’s good for all of us and it’s good for A&M because it means that professors wanna live here and bring their families here. It’s good for other businesses because it means that people want to live here and want to be here.”

College Station ISD Parent Kim Ege
College Station ISD Parent Kim Ege(KBTX)

Ultimately decisions voters make at the polls could be an indicator of how people value education. Ege says it’s important that College Station sends the right message.

“I think it sends a big message and I think it can be one message or the other. It can be a message of, Hey, we’re a community that supports our school district and we believe in education and we believe in educators,” said Ege. “Or we can send an opposite message.”

“I think that’s why it’s really a critical point that we’re at. I hear a lot of parents, and a lot of people say a lot of rhetoric about how we need to pay teachers more or teachers don’t make what they should, and this is our opportunity to actually do something about it,” said Ege. So that’s why I think it’s really important that we say we do actually believe in what our teachers are doing.”

College Station VATRE
College Station VATRE(College Station ISD | KBTX)

The district says residents’ tax rates should not be negatively affected, they are expected to be lower.

College Station VATRE
College Station VATRE(KBTX)

The district also says residents 65 and older that have exemptions in place will see no increase in their taxes.

For more information on the College Station Independent School Districts’ 2022 Voter Approved Tax Ratification Election click here.