Superintendent's Letter to Plano ISD Property Taxpayers
October 20, 2016
Dear Plano ISD Taxpayers:
You may have recently received your property tax bill from the Collin County Tax Office. Unless you are a taxpayer age 65 or older or disabled for whom school property taxes are frozen, your taxes are probably higher than last year. This is true for most taxpayers, even though the Plano ISD tax rate remained the same as last year.
We want to explain what happens to the additional taxes you pay as your property values increase. It is important to know that not all of your additional school taxes paid will remain in Plano ISD.
This year, we estimate that our taxpayers will write checks totaling an additional $40.8 million in school operating taxes. At the same time, the district anticipates our recapture (Robin Hood) payment to the State of Texas will increase by $43.4 million. The state recapture tax payment now eats up more than 20% of your school operating taxes. In fact, the average homeowner in Plano ISD will pay $700 to the state this year. These recapture dollars go into the state’s public education fund, freeing up state dollars for spending elsewhere.
Effectively, the legislature uses your tax dollars to reduce the amount it would otherwise contribute to public education from other sources.
If nothing is done in the upcoming legislative session, the state will be taking an additional $39.9 million of your school operating taxes next year. That’s the equivalent of a 31 cent tax rate, a silent tax rate increase of 22 cents since 2014.
We feel it is misleading for local taxpayers to write checks to our local school district when the majority of the funds attributable to value growth actually benefit the bottom line of the state’s budget. Next year, Plano ISD is forecast to pay $143.3 million in recapture. That’s nearly 26.6 percent of your school operating taxes, and it’s unsustainable.
The Texas Supreme Court ruled earlier this year that while the state’s school finance system meets minimum constitutional requirements, it has “immense room for improvement.” The court stated that Texas schoolchildren deserve “transformational, top-to-bottom reforms that amount to more than Band-Aid on top of Band-Aid.” (Read the full decision.)
Plano ISD agrees the Texas Legislature must fix the school finance system; it’s the only way to provide significant property tax relief. We need reform that reverses the increasing flow of local taxpayer dollars to the state’s budget. Our Plano ISD taxpayers continue to have the second lowest tax rate of any school district in Collin County.
Many of you will ask what you can do. Stay engaged during the upcoming legislative session and follow information we post on our website, www.pisd.edu. Thank you for your support. We will continue to keep you updated about this critical issue.
Brian Binggeli, Ed.D
Plano ISD Superintendent of Schools