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  • What is a VATRE?

    VATRE stands for Voter-Approval Tax Ratification Election. If a school district adopts a maintenance & operations (M&O) tax rate that exceeds the maximum amount allowed by state statute, a VATRE must be held to gain voter approval to raise the tax rate.  For Ponder ISD, a tax rate that exceeds $0.8546 will trigger a VATRE.  The PISD tax rate adopted by the Board of Trustees on August 18, 2022, is $0.9746.

    Why call a VATRE?

    There are several primary reasons Ponder ISD has called for a VATRE at this time:

    • Voter approval of a total tax rate of $1.3477 (a reduction of $0.06 from the 2021-22 total PISD tax rate of $1.40778) will generate an estimated additional $1.4 million in state revenue for Ponder ISD as compared to the estimated state revenues for the district for 2021-22.
    • Ponder ISD approved a budget for 2022-23 with a projected deficit of $911,856, in part because the Board of Trustees committed to a 3% salary midpoint increase for all educators and staff for the 22-23 school year in an attempt to keep salaries comparable with the current education market. Calling for a VATRE is one strategy for PISD to help reduce that deficit without having to reduce staff and/or programs.
    • Because our local property values increased dramatically (approximately 36%) for the coming tax year, significantly outpacing the state benchmarks for property value growth, the State funding formulas require that Ponder ISD's Maintenance and Operations (M&O) tax rate must be compressed to the floor value for this rate for this school year ($0.8046 per $100/valuation).

    If the VATRE passes, the District is planning to use this additional revenue to apply to the following expenditures:

    • Allow for maintaining the increased compensation for PISD educators and staff by fully funding the 3% midpoint raises for teachers and staff already approved for the 2022-23 school year and thus, partially reduce the budget deficit already approved for this fiscal year;
    • Allow for an additional 2022-23 pay raise for all PISD educators and staff by funding a one-time $1500 compensation payment to all PISD teachers and staff in January 2023, approved by the Board on 8/18/22 and contingent on the successful passage of this VATRE;
    • Allow for the addition of a number of new educational and operational staff to meet needs that have already been identified within Ponder ISD
    • Provide additional funding for new and ongoing safety measures, including the addition of well-trained, armed staff members to every school campus in the district by the end of this school year if at all possible;
    • Provide additional funding to address identified security needs and improvements within our district facilities and with innovative technology upgrades to improve our communication and monitoring capabilities and efficiencies in securing our buildings