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BISD’s Decrease in Student Enrollment Prompts Property Tax Increase

2 years 7 months 3 weeks ago Tuesday, June 27 2017 Jun 27, 2017 June 27, 2017 6:12 PM June 27, 2017 in News

BROWNSVILLE – Property owners that fall within the Brownsville Independent School District jurisdiction can expect to start paying more taxes.

The school board approved Monday night an increase of more than 11 1/4 cents to help fund infrastructure repairs and new construction projects.

BISD Chief Financial Officer Lorenzo Sanchez said the district has been losing state funds for several years.

That's because parents like Nicolasa Ortiz, are pulling their children from BISD, to enroll them elsewhere. Sanchez said fewer enrollments means less money.

Ortiz's two daughters are students now at IDEA public schools. The mother said her younger daughter, former Southmost Elementary School student Mia, made the switch two years ago. Her oldest daughter also transferred a year ago.

Ortiz said her sister's children enrolled at IDEA so she wanted her daughters there, too. After about a year on the waiting list, Ortiz said Mia got in.

"They're doing really well. Even their attitude has improved, and of course, their school work too," Ortiz said.

Ortiz said she’s happy with her daughters' improvements in math and English at IDEA. She added they have no plans of returning to BISD

Sanchez said that over the past four years, BISD has lost an average of 1,000 students per school year.

He said the loss of those students has equated to a loss of approximately $5.5 million in state funding each year.

BISD has a total of 58 school campuses.

With some needing roof and A/C repairs, Sanchez said the school board had little choice but to increase property taxes to keep-up.

He said the tax-hike is expected to generate about $100 million over the next five years.

Brownsville resident Francisca Mata said she was surprised to find out the financial impact on BISD will now trickle down to her. She said her son, too, attends IDEA.

"I hadn't thought about that, but it sounds tough," she said.

In her son's case, Mata said she hasn't seen a significant difference. She added he wants to go back to BISD.  

"People used to tell me that it was a better school and that he was going to learn more about respect for others. But I haven't noticed improvement. He's basically at the same level," Mata said.

Sanchez said the funds from the tax increase will also help repair BISD’s school parking lots and the construction of a new fine arts building.

The new tax rates kick in July 1.

Sanchez said taxpayers will notice the increase on their yearly property taxes bill that goes out in October. 

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