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Flour Bluff ISD reacts to VATRE not passing

Sixty-five percent of voters said no to a .9986 tax rate, a seven cent tax increase than what the state set for 2023.
Posted at 7:04 PM, Nov 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-09 20:05:01-05

CORPUS CHRISTI — Flour Bluff Independent School District’s voter-approval tax ratification, or VATRE election did not pass on mid-term election day.

65 percent of voters said no to a .9986 tax rate, a seven cent tax increase than what the state set for 2023.

The rate would have been lower than previous ones, but it would have raised $3.4 million more because property values in the area have increased.

When property values in a district go up, the money the state believes a district needs decreases. If the VATRE passed, the owner of a $200,000 property, would pay $140 more in taxes a year.

Danielle Grimes, a FBISD parent, grew up in Flour Bluff.

"I'm partial to it," Grimes said. "I mean I get that everybody — we don't want our taxes to go up. Everybody's struggling, especially recovering and what not."

FBISD Superintendent Velma Soliz-Garcia said 2021 was the hardest the district was hit.

She said they have a lower tax rate than other districts, but they’ve also historically paid teachers less.

Soliz-Garcia said in 2021 FBISD approved teacher and staff pay raises but they needed more funds to maintain those raises and remain competitive with other districts.

"My daughter right now, her first grade teacher was my first grade teacher and to hear that, that hurts me because they are already struggling," Grimes said. "They’re already having to ask things from us.”

"It' very sad," a Flour Bluff resident said. "Teachers play a very big and important role in every person's life. Those are the people that help you learn and help you grow."

“We would have to look at our staffing ratios,” she said. “Class sizes would probably continue to increase and then we would have to look at programs.”

Soliz-Garcia said the district will face a $2.6 million deficit for the 2024 budget cycle and they would have to put a plan in place for their next opportunity, which can only be put on a ballot in a general election year.