ROUND ROCK, Texas - Round Rock ISD has called for the district's first ever VATRE in an effort to increase staff salaries and offset the loss of federal funding, increased recapture payments and inflation.
The VATRE, which stands for Voter Approval Tax Rate Election, is set for Nov. 7 and follows months of exploration by the Board and the approval of the 2023-24 budget.
If passed, the district says it will be able to access the maximum amount of tax revenue from golden pennies, which is not subject to recapture.
If approved, the VATRE would add $19 million into the district's operating fund, which RRISD says would be used to provide an additional 3% salary increase for all staff on top of already approved increases.
RRISD says this would bring the overall teacher salary increase to 6% and the overall increase for all other staff members to 5%. Funding these increases would cost about $21 million.
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The Board also approved a tax rate of $0.9190 for the 2023-24 school year, but that rate depends on voter approval. The Board tax rate would be lower than the 2023-23 tax rate of $1.0626.
If voters reject the VATRE in November, RRISD says it will not be able to provide those increases due to financial constraints including:
- An estimated $77 million in recapture payments to the state
- The discontinuation of federal funding programs
- The Texas legislature’s decision not to increase the basic allotment amount per student
- State mandates the district will have to allocate funds to meet
- Rising operating costs due to inflation
In addition, if the VATRE does not pass, the district will face a $33 million deficit.
Round Rock ISD will share more information on the election, polling times and locations on its VATRE website soon.