Frisco ISD adopted a tax rate of $1.3383 per $100 valuation for the 2019-20 fiscal year, and the passage of House Bill 3 is a big reason for the nearly 11-cent decrease.

That breaks down to $1.0683 for the maintenance and operations (M&O) rate and 27 cents for the interest and sinking (I&S) or debt service rate.

The proposed rate is down from $1.44 in 2018-19.

Before HB 3, which became law following this year’s Texas Legislature, the maintenance and operations (M&O) rate in FISD was $1.17. FISD’s compressed tax rate was $1, and school districts could only go up to $1.04 with board action and $1.17 with voter approval.

Beyond the $1, there were six golden pennies, which are the pennies levied by the district not subject to recapture by the state, and 11 copper pennies which are subject to recapture, said Kimberly Smith, chief financial officer.

Following the passage of HB 3, FISD’s M&O rate has been compressed to 93 cents, and two pennies that were copper have become golden, giving FISD more pennies that are free of recapture. Smith said the remaining copper pennies were compressed by about 65 percent.

The debt service, or interest and sinking (I&S), rate was lowered from 42 cents to 27 cents in 2018.

“That was going to require us to spend down our debt service fund balance,” Smith said. “So we’re going to be spending about $7.3 million of existing I&S fund balance in order to maintain a 27-cent debt service tax rate for this year. And we will not be using any M&O funding to pay off debt.”

Smith said the taxes due from the resident of the average-valued home in FISD is projected to be $5,413 with the proposed rate, which is about $315 less than last year.

Summer school/online courses

The board also approved a revision to its policy to allow for summer school and online courses to count in the GPA for rank calculations beginning with the class of 2024.

Cory McClendon, chief leadership officer, said that with the expansion of the R.A.I.L. online learning program in summer school, the district is looking to expand GPA ranking in those courses.

“The key piece here is that we’re not creating an unlevel playing field for our students in high school,” McClendon said. “This would go into effect for our class of 2024 (current eighth-graders), so that keeps the playing field level for all students regardless of where they are at with our schools right now.”

McClendon said the grade used for the GPA calculation would be an average of the original grade that required the need for summer school and the new grade.

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