VATRE » Voter-Approval Tax Rate Election (VATRE)

Voter-Approval Tax Rate Election (VATRE)

 
What is a VATRE?
 
Following the Public Hearing on Monday, August 22, 2022, during the Special Called Board Meeting, the West Independent School District (ISD) Board of Trustees called for a Voter-Approval Tax Rate Election (VATRE) to be held on the Joint General Election Day on Tuesday, November 8, 2022.
 
A VATRE is required by the state in order to approve a tax rate increase that generates additional revenue for Texas public schools. If approved by voters, the VATRE would generate an additional $541,087.43 in state funding through the Maintenance & Operations (M&O) portion of the District's Tax Rate to help provide competitive salaries for all current and future teachers and staff. Based on property value growth, the additional funding via the VATRE would fluctuate from year-to-year, but would be secured annually from the state and earmarked for teachers and staff salaries. 
 
The West ISD VATRE highlights are:
  • Taxpayers voting "FOR" the VATRE would provide an increase in funding of $541,087.43 for the District, while still decreasing the total Tax Rate by 22¢.
  • The new Tax Rate would be the second lowest Tax Rate in the past 10 years.
  • The new Tax Rate would secure an additional $541,087.43 for West ISD instead of Austin.
  • The increase in additional funding would allow West ISD to provide competitive salaries for all current and future teachers and staff.
Why is the VATRE important for West ISD?
 
Also on August 22, 2022, the West ISD Board of Trustees approved a significant decrease in the most recent Tax Rate of $1.370000. The centerpiece of the VATRE election is how much the Tax Rate would decrease based on the "For" or "Against" vote in the Joint General Election. If West ISD taxpayers vote "For" the VATRE, the Tax Rate would be $1.147534 for every $100 of property valuation. If West ISD taxpayers vote "Against" the VATRE, the Tax Rate would be $1.117500 for every $100 of property valuation, and the additional state funding would remain in Austin. The difference in the two Tax Rates would be $2.50 per month, or $30.03 annually, for every $100 of property valuation for a home with a property value of $100,000.00.
 
Here is the breakdown of the current West ISD Tax Rate for a home with a property value of $100,000.00 as compared to the two VATRE Tax Rates ("For" and "Against"):
 
West ISD Tax Rate per $100 Property Valuation Monthly Annually
2021-2022 School Year:
$1.370000
$114.16 $1,370.00
2022-2023 "Against" VATRE:
$1.117500
$93.13 $1,117.50
2022-2023 "For" VATRE:
$1.147534
$95.63 $1,147.53
 
If the taxpayers vote "For" the VATRE, this decrease in the Tax Rate presents a unique opportunity for West ISD to access and secure additional local revenue in order to attract and retain the highest quality teachers and staff possible. Also, the starting salary for a new-to-the-profession teacher and nurse would rise from $42,000.00 to $44,500.00. All other West ISD staff would receive an increase in salary of $2,500.00 as well. Each pay step on the Certified Salary Schedule for all teachers and nurses would increase by this $2,500.00 salary figure. 
 
For example:

Sample Pay Steps by Years of Experience "Against" VATRE Certified Teacher and Nurse Salary "For" VATRE Certified Teacher and Nurse Salary
0 Years $42,000.00 $44,500.00
5 Years $45,150.00 $47,650.00
10 Years $49,880.00 $52,380.00
15 Years $54,960.00 $57,460.00
20 Years $59,040.00 $61,540.00
25 Years $62,790.00 $65,290.00
30 Years $66,540.00 $69,040.00
35 Years $70,290.00 $72,790.00
40 Years $74,040.00 $76,540.00
 
Each year, West ISD loses quality and experienced teachers and staff to competing school districts in central Texas that pay higher salaries and offer greater compensation packages. In addition, West ISD risks missing out on possible new hires who would have to take a pay cut to move to West. The VATRE provides the means for West ISD to both attract and retain quality teachers and staff across all four West ISD campuses. 
 
When are the Community Forums and Information Meetings about the VATRE?
 
West ISD has scheduled several Community Forums and Information Meetings and Presentations for different weeks, days of the week, times, and method of delivery (face-to-face and Zoom). David Truitt, Superintendent, and JoAnna Macik, Director of Business and Finance, will both present and answer questions at the events and meetings listed below. Here is the current schedule:
  • Tuesday, October 4, 2022: School Health Advisory Council (SHAC) Meeting, 6:30 PM via Zoom Online Meeting
  • Wednesday, October 5, 2022: Kiwanis Club of West Luncheon, 12:00 PM at the West Community Center 
  • Monday, October 10, 2022: West Elementary School Faculty Meeting for all Teachers and Staff, 3:30 PM in the West Elementary School Library
  • Tuesday, October 11, 2022: District Advisory Team (DAT) Meeting, 6:30 PM via Zoom Online Meeting
  • Wednesday, October 12, 2022: West ISD Regular Board Meeting, 6:00 PM at the West ISD Administration Building 
  • Thursday, October 13, 2022: West Middle/High School and Brookhaven Youth Ranch Faculty Meeting for all Teachers and Staff, 3:45 PM in the West Middle/High School Auditorium 
  • Monday, October 24, 2022: Staff and Community VATRE Coffee Talk, 7:00 AM at the West ISD Administration Building 
  • Wednesday, October 26, 2022: Staff and Community VATRE Information Meeting, 3:45 PM at the West ISD Administration Building 
Note: All Zoom Online Meetings will be recorded and saved to the West ISD YouTube Channel. 

For additional information, please contact David Truitt, Superintendent, at (254) 981-2000.