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Facts behind city’s proposed schools tax rate

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By guest writer Cynthia Lusignolo

As superintendent of Texas City independent school district, I would like to address three misperceptions regarding the district’s 2015-2016 budget and its upcoming tax ratification election. I will address them in a myth-versus-fact format to provide clarification.
Myth 1: The annual tax bills for TCISD homeowners will increase by 13 percent.
Fact: If approved by the voters, the tax rate would increase but the tax bill for many homeowners will actually decrease. This is due to the new $10,000 exemption that is to be applied to all homestead properties.
As an example, on a $100,000 home, the tax bill will decrease by approximately $34. Additionally, seniors age 65-plus and disabled citizens will receive a decrease in their tax bills.  In fact, the higher the tax rate, the higher their savings will be. This, too, is due to the new $10,000 homestead exemption.
Myth 2: The district’s enrollment increase of 403 students in the past three years is due to its limited open enrollment program.
Fact: Of the 403 students who have been added to TCISD rolls over the past three years, only 70 are LOE students and they include children of district employees who reside outside the district.
All of the other new students live within our attendance boundaries and we have not allowed any new LOE students in first through sixth grades for the 2015-16 school year.  The only new elementary-level LOE students that we have approved are 13 kindergarten students whose parents work for the district or whose siblings already attend school here.
Myth 3: LOE students need additional resources and support in order to be successful and that diminishes the resources available for students residing in the district.
Fact: In order to qualify initially and re-qualify annually for the TCISD LOE program, students must have passed all of their state exams, demonstrated good behavior and maintained high attendance rates. They do not take remedial or supplemental resources from students who reside within our attendance boundaries.
I greatly appreciate the opportunity to share these facts with readers of The Post. Please feel free to submit to the district any other questions you might have via e-mail at tcisdinfo@tcisd.org and we will respond via e-mail or through another media announcement.
If you would like to meet and discuss these or any other issues with me, please feel free to contact me via e-mail at clusignolo@tcisd.org or by phone at 409-916-0101.

Cynthia Lusignolo is superintendent of Texas City independent school district.

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