Voters approved Highland Park ISD’s tax rate election proposal, with 77% (3,882 votes) voting for it and 23% (1,137 votes) against it in unofficial results.
About 7% of registered voters in Dallas County cast ballots in Tuesday’s elections.
Highland Park ISD trustees approved calling the voter approval tax rate election (VATRE) back in August to seek voter approval for the district to access four ‘golden pennies’ which are not subject to recapture by the state, to raise additional revenue for staff pay.
House Bill 3 passed by the state legislature in 2019 allows districts up to eight “golden pennies” on their maintenance and operations (M&O) tax rate that aren’t subject to recapture under Texas’ Robin Hood school finance system.
By approving HPISD Proposition A and setting a tax rate of $1.131 per $100 valuation for 2021-2022, district officials say about $3.6 million will be generated for teacher and staff pay. Officials say the tax rate for property owners in HPISD will decrease 2.1 cents (per $100 of assessed value) over last year as opposed to a projected 6.1 cents (per $100 of assessed value) if the proposition hadn’t been approved.
“Attracting and retaining high quality staff is absolutely critical to maintaining our tradition of excellence in HPISD,” said HPISD Superintendent Dr. Tom Trigg. “Our staff members have always known that the community is behind them and the outcome of this election makes a powerful statement. Thank you to HPISD voters for supporting our dedicated staff members. While this won’t solve all of our compensation challenges, this is a significant step in the right direction.”
The district says staff members will receive a 3% salary increase (tied to the midpoint of their position) beginning in their December paycheck In addition, they say staff members will each receive a one-time payment during the month of January, depending on their position and years working in education, and additional salary increases will be made during the 2022-23 and 2023-24 school years.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: This story will be updated with additional information.)