Cedar Hill ISD voters reject tax-rate measure; Duncanville, Azle, Keller and Ennis approve their own

Cedar Hill, TX - Cedar Hill ISD voters on Saturday rejected a measure intended to raise revenue for the school district.  The failure of the tax-ratification election came as Duncanville, Azle, Keller and Ennis ISD voters overwhelmingly passed their own measures.

The elections were prompted primarily because school officials have said they're tired of waiting on changes to the state's complicated and dated school finance system.

Cedar Hill Superintendent Billy Snow had said in an interview that school districts are boxed in by the state's education funding model.

"When state contribution continues to drop ... you have to do something to get money to our schools," he said.

Both the southern Dallas County districts had proposed variations of what is called a "penny swap."

In Cedar Hill, voters were asked to increase in the property tax rate for maintenance and operations by 13 cents. In return, the district would have lowered its property tax rate for its debt service by 14 cents.

For taxpayers, that would've meant a total district property tax rate of $1.50 per $100 valuation — one penny lower than the current rate of $1.51.

The district expected the swap to raise more than $5 million annually to its general fund, which it hoped to spend on safety and security, curriculum and technology.

Cedar Hill's school board members in August had passed a resolution — with some caveats — that trustees wouldn't raise the property tax rate for the debt-service side, which is set by the board and doesn't require voter approval, if the tax increase passed.

In Duncanville, the property tax rate for maintenance and operations will be raised by 13 cents to $1.17 per $100 valuation — the maximum allowed by the state. The district will lower its debt service rate by the same amount, keeping the overall rate at $1.52.

In Azle, voters appeared to have passed the district's tax-ratification election, which was also a swap. The measure in Keller, meanwhile, passed overwhelming.

Frisco and Richardson have also set tax-ratification elections in November.

UNOFFICIAL RESULTS

DALLAS COUNTY

Cedar Hill ISD (100 percent reporting)

For: 40.6 percent (1,063 votes)

Against: 59 percent (1,555 votes)

Duncanville ISD (100 percent reporting)

For: 59 percent (1,167 votes)

Against: 41 percent (808 votes)

ELLIS COUNTY

Ennis ISD (100 percent reporting)

For: 73 percent (614 votes)

Against: 27 percent (230 votes)

TARRANT COUNTY

Azle ISD (100 percent reporting

For: 53 percent (443 votes)

Against: 47 percent (397 votes)

Keller ISD (100 percent reporting)

For: 81 percent (5,487 votes)

Against: 19 percent (1,313 votes)

Source:  Dallas Morning News

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