Increased property valuations in Midland won’t be the only thing to blame for the spike in your next property tax bill.

On Monday, Midland ISD (MISD) Trustees took the first step in initiating a tax ratification election for the fall that, if passed, will raise the district’s property tax rate by 5-cents.

For the average $200,000 home, this means a $46.50 increase in your annual bill – and that doesn’t include the increases the city and county are proposing. Surprisingly, a 5-cent hike, from $1.04 to $1.09 per $100 valuation, is a much smaller increase than the board initially planned.

As we reported last month, trustees initially anticipated raising the rate to between $1.13 and $1.17 (the highest allowable by state law) in order to avoid dipping into the district’s fund balance. However, an exceptionally generous donation of $10 million was given to MISD on Friday by Clarence Scharbauer III and the Scharbauer Foundation, prompting the board to decrease the initially proposed rate.

Scharbauer, a Midland native and philanthropist, has invested both monetarily and of his time to Midland’s education system over the years. Noting education as the number one issue in the tall city, he said, “In doing this $10 million gift, we are helping to ease the burden of the citizens of this community because we think they need a little help,” and that, “we want to see this school district and board be the best in Texas.”

As mentioned in previous articles and echoed throughout the community, MISD has faced budget issues for several years and is accompanied by poor performance rates compared to peers– even when accounting for demographics, tax rates, and other factors. Scharbauer wrote in an op-ed to the Midland Reporter Telegram last month that, “It’s time we expect more from our leaders at MISD. Not from our teachers and principals who are overwhelmed and under-appreciated, but from our school board and superintendent.”

Whether it be simply staying informed, attending school board meetings, or running for local office – more than ever before, now is the time for Midlanders to get involved. Four school board seats are up for election this fall: District 1, 2, 4, and 7. For those interested in the latter option, the candidate filing period ends on August 22nd.

Should the board move forward with a tax election and the rate of $1.09005 passes, the district will plan to make approximately $6 million in cuts and draw $2.25 million from the fund balance. The decision of whether or not to hold the election will be made at the board’s tax rate hearing on August 8th at 5:30pm.

Lauren Melear

Lauren Melear leads the West Texas Bureau of Texas Scorecard. When not working, Lauren enjoys spending time with her husband and their dog, as well as cooking, working out, traveling to the hill country, and cheering on the fightin' Texas Aggies.