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This year, Fayetteville ISD and many other school districts are projecting a funding shortage due to legislative inaction during the 88th State Legislative Session and decreased enrollment.

For the first time in history, Fayetteville ISD is asking voters to consider approving three cents on its maintenance and operations tax rate to offset the increasing cost of education. If approved on November 7, 2023, Fayetteville ISD voters would still see annual tax savings due to a cut in the interest and sinking rate and simultaneous approval of SB 2, also on the November ballot. SB 2 proposes changing the homestead exemption from $40,000 to $100,000.

School districts are funded primarily through local property taxes, with some additional funding from the State of Texas, depending on multiple factors. The Texas Education Agency calculates a district’s state funding by estimating how much local tax revenue the district should collect based on local property values.

What is a VATRE?

VATRE stands for Voter-Approval Tax Ratification Election. A Voter Approval Tax Rate Election (VATRE) is an election required by the state that asks voters to consider approving a modified tax rate to increase revenue for student programs as well as teacher and staff salaries. 

Why call a VATRE?

There are several primary reasons Fayetteville ISD has called for a VATRE at this time:

  • Voter approval of a total tax rate of $.9041 (a reduction of $0.2405 from the 2022-23 total FISD tax rate of $1.1446) will generate an estimated additional $180,000 in revenue for Fayetteville ISD as compared to the estimated revenues for the district for 2022-23.
  • Fayetteville ISD approved a budget for 2023-24 with a projected deficit of $132,167 due to multiple factors, including a decreased enrollment, the need to purchase a bus, and salary increases to maintain an exemplary staff. Calling for a VATRE is one strategy for FISD to help reduce that deficit without having to reduce staff and/or programs.
  • Because our local property values continue to increase each year, the State funding formulas require that Fayetteville ISD's Maintenance and Operations (M&O) tax rate be compressed to $0.7291 per $100/valuation.

If the VATRE passes, the District is planning to use this additional revenue to apply to the following expenditures:

  • Allow for maintaining the increased compensation for FISD educators and staff  already approved for the 2023-24 school year, thus eliminating the budget deficit already approved for this fiscal year;
  • Provide additional funding to address identified needs and improvements within our district facilities and with innovative technology upgrades to improve our communication and monitoring capabilities and efficiencies in securing our buildings.