Early voting ends Tuesday in school election
by PHILLIP WILLIAMS
Sep 08, 2013 | 694 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Early voting ends Tuesday night for next Saturday’s “Tax Ratification Election” in the Gilmer Independent School District, where voters will decide whether to change how local tax revenue is allocated--a move which school officials say would earn the district $205,000 more annually in state aid without raising the local tax rate.

About 70 people had voted early in the election as of about 10:40 a.m. Thursday, said Judy Moore, secretary to GISD Supt. Rick Albritton. Early voting continues at the school Administration Building at 500 S. Trinity from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday and Tuesday.

This is the first of two special elections recently called by the Gilmer School Board. The other, a $36.2 million bond issue proposal split into three propositions, is set Nov. 5.

Under a quirk in state law, the ballot for next Saturday’s election says voters are deciding whether to approve an ad valorem tax rate of $1.31 1/2 cents per $100 valuation, but the board has already set the rate at $1.18 1/2 and it will stay there whether the issue passes or not, Albritton said.

The election is actually on whether to increase the part of the $1.18 1/2-cent tax rate used for Maintenance and Operations (M&O) by 13 cents, and reduce the portion used for Interest and Sinking (I&S, or debt service) by that amount.

The M&O part would rise from the current $1.04 to $1.17, while the current 14.5 cents portion for I&S would drop to 1.5. GISD said it can receive the extra $205,000 in state aid only by raising the part of the rate used for M&O.

Albritton said Thursday that approving the proposal would not set the tax rate at $1.31 1/2 for the 2014-15 fiscal year. And if the change passes, he said, the school will still have a debt payment, but it would be made from M&O funds instead of I&S .

If all three propositions of the November bond issue pass, the tax rate would rise by 26 cents per $100 valuation, school officials have said.
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