The Huffman ISD Board of Trustees unanimously voted to keep the district’s property tax rate at its current level for the coming tax year. In spite of emerging from a year of major construction projects, including the new Falcon Ridge Elementary School, unexpected and immediate emergency recovery costs from Hurricane Harvey, and a number of other financial challenges, it has been eight years since the district last raised its property tax valuation rate. Huffman ISD has not had a tax rate increase since 2009 and it has decreased since then. The tax rate has been the same rate of $1.40 per $100 of valuation since 2015.
Following the vote at its Sept. 24 meeting, Board President Ray Burt said, “I think it is outstanding that you have been able to do this again. I wish more people knew. I don’t think many people are aware or realize that the rate has not been raised recently.”
He also congratulated the hard work of the school district’s staff, including the teachers, administrative staff and the various suppliers that all worked together to meet the needs of the district and the community.
Superintendent Benny Soileau noted there were a lot of new faces in attendance and he thought it appropriate to highlight the efforts it has taken to keep the rate unchanged.
He said, “This group and the effort they put forth to maintain that tax rate has been phenomenal. We had told the voters that we were looking at a 12 percent hike when we approved the bond issue [in May 2016] and that’s what they approved. So we have the flexibility to do that but to date up to this point we have not had to raise the taxes at all to fund that bond project. Anytime you are able to build a new school and all the projects we have done in a couple of years without having to add to that tax rate, I think that is a substantial accomplishment.”
Chief Financial Officer Tim Brittain noted that the district has now sold the entire $44 million in bonds authorized by the election. He explained that current trends in property valuation and anticipated expense and capital needs made him hopeful not to have to increase the rate for the next year or two.
Board Member Jerry Jones, who also served on the board several years ago, pointed out that there had been a time in the past when Huffman ISD had one of the highest tax rates in the state. He said, “I am glad to see us able to leave the valuation at $1.40. Who knows, it could all change after this year.”
In other business, the board recognized four departments and groups in conjunction with national recognitions scheduled to occur during October.
- The Transportation Department, which operates and maintains the district’s bus fleet, will celebrate National Bus Safety Week Oct. 22-26.
- The Child Nutrition Department, which operates the district's food service facilities, will celebrate National School Lunch Week Oct. 16-19.
- The principals of the four schools within the district in conjunction with the designation of October as National Principal’s Month.
- The Human Resources Department which is to be recognized in Texas during October as Human Resources Awareness Month.
The next regularly scheduled board of trustees meeting will be on Monday, Oct. 22 at 7 p.m. in the Board Room of the Huffman ISD Administration Building, 24302 FM 2100.