10 things to know before you go to the polls to vote on the Swap & Drop
In GISD, our focus is always on our students and the high-quality teaching and learning happening every day in our classrooms.
We highly value our community partnerships, which range from student internships in area businesses to our campus PTAs and other volunteers and sponsors.
Strategic fiscal management is a key part of keeping our schools running smoothly. To maximize funding and fund teacher and staff raises, the GISD School Board is proposing a TRE Swap & Drop election.
Election day is Tuesday, Nov. 4. You can find the polling places and hours HERE.
Here are 10 things to know before you go to the polls:
1. Student achievement is thriving and making academic gains: This year, students earned a “B” in the state rating system. Students also rocked the ACT, one of the top 2 tests critical to college admission. Just a year ago, GISD would have been rated a “D” on the state report card. The proof is in the pudding! GISD teachers and students are doing great things!
2. Greenville ISD is growing: Student enrollment has been steadily climbing, and GISD has enough capacity to accommodate student growth for at least the next five years, according to enrollment projections.3. Teacher and staff salaries make up 80% of the district's budget. Salaries are not only the biggest part of our budget; they are also our highest priority because student achievement is directly linked to attracting and retaining excellent teachers. Because salaries are our largest budget item and our top priority, they are always the very first thing we put in the budget every year.4. Greenville ISD has one of the lowest tax rates in the regions and state. Our total tax rate is $1.31 per $100 valuation. We regularly run comparisons, and Greenville ISD's tax rate is the lowest of 10 area districts, including Royse City, Caddo Mills, and Rockwall.5. Greenville ranks 8 out of 10 for starting teachers’ salaries. So our tax rate is the lowest among the 10 comparison districts, but our starting teachers' salaries rank higher.6. GISD has not raised its M&O tax rate since 2007-08. It is $1.04, one of the lowest in the State of Texas.7. Over the last two years, GISD has successfully tackled the challenge of digging its way out of a multi-million dollar deficit. This year, the school board passed a balanced budget, which was its top financial goal.8. Even with its lean budget, GISD offers Innovative Initiatives that go far above and beyond the state requirements. Those include:
- Forever A Lion, a partnership with Texas A&M Commerce that provides a pathway to college for every Greenville High School graduate
- Growing Up Bilingual, a dual language program that allows students to grow up studying subjects in English and Spanish, preparing them to succeed in a competitive marketplace
- Elementary STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math) academy (Katherine G. Johnson STEM Academy, located @ Crockett Elementary). This dedicated school of choice emphasizes STEM exploration for elementary students.
- Early College High School, a powerful grant-funded initiative that allows students to graduate from high school with an associate's degree.9. Since 2014, the GISD board has lowered the I&S tax rate and passed the savings along to GISD taxpayers. The rollback rate has been published in the Herald-Banner, posted on the GISD website and presented at school board meetings. If the TRE passes, the overall tax rate will drop by one penny, resulting in $10 in annual savings for the average GISD homeowner. If the TRE fails, the overall tax rate will drop by just under two pennies, resulting in $18 in annual savings for the average homeowner. Either way, the I&S will be reduced, and the overall tax rate will be lower.10. After learning the facts, 72% of voters support the TRE Swap & Drop, according to a recent survey. 12% are undecided. And 15% oppose it.We've been asked how GISD could lower the overall tax rate and receive $1.57 million in additional funding. Under the convoluted school finance system, school districts do not have control over their local tax dollars -- the state determines what every district receives. That’s why the system has been challenged repeatedly and found to be unconstitutional. Lawmakers have been working on the problem for decades, and Gov. Greg Abbott recently wrote this in the Dallas Morning News:
"We need to pay our best teachers more, reward teachers and districts for student growth, prioritize spending in the classroom and reduce the burden of skyrocketing property taxes. I'll add up front that I believe the state will have to provide more funding."
Until that happens, many school districts are using Tax Ratification Elections to maximize spending to fund the education of the children they serve.
Thank you for doing your research. And remember, it’s your voice and your vote!
Please send questions to communications@greenvilleisd.
com. We will respond promptly!