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Education Report: Amid property tax anxiety, some Northeast Texas school district bond proposals rejected

Greenville voters voted 57 percent against a $169M bond proposal.
B.J. Laudermilk
Greenville voters voted 57 percent against a $169M bond proposal.

Greenville and Sulphur Springs voters gave local school district bonds a thumbs-down at ballots on Saturday

The Texas public school funding system relies heavily on property taxes, and dramatic increases in property values across Texas have homeowners worried about how those newly appraised values will affect their taxes. Many Texans hope the newly-passed amendments to the Texas Constitution will give them some property tax relief. Voters over the weekend overwhelmingly supported the two propositions.

One will adjust and lower the taxes homeowners 65 and older or with a disability pay towards public schools. The other proposition will raise the homestead exemption for school property taxes from 25,000 dollars to 40,000 dollars. According to the Texas Association of Appraisal Districts, many regions saw property values increase between 20 to 50%.

Bond proposals presented by Northeast Texas school districts had mixed results on Saturday. In Greenville and Sulphur Springs, voters rejected school district bond initiatives. Greenville ISD voters rejected a $169 million bond proposal with about 57 percent of voters saying no. The margin was similar in Sulphur Springs, a $93 million bond package was voted down with about 55 percent of voters opposed.

In Bonham, as of the time of this report, results are still undetermined on the $53 million bond before Bonham ISD voters. Early numbers from Saturday’s election show the vote tied at 593 votes apiece. The Fannin County elections office says that 37 mail-in ballots require corrections and that valid votes from those ballots will be added to totals today. The bond mostly would fund renovations at rather Junior High School.

Elsewhere around the region, in Lamar County, Prairiland ISD voters approved bonds for the construction of a new academic and athletic facilities. In Collin County, Community ISD voters approved an almost $600 million bond package for several major construction and renovation projects. However, Community ISD voters did not approve propositions for improvements to the football stadium and the building of a new multipurpose building.

Mark Haslett has served at KETR since 2013. Since then, the station's news operation has enjoyed an increase in listener engagement and audience metrics, as well recognition in the Texas AP Broadcasters awards.