Paint Rock ISD achieves State’s Highest Scores in Financial Integrity for 5th Consecutive Year while NOT raising Local Taxes
The State of Texas has released its findings on the financial integrity of each and every one of the public school districts across the state. Known commonly as the FIRST (Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas) rating, the State uses this system to evaluate Texas school districts to see which school districts are being financially efficient and effective with the taxpayers’ money and which ones are in need of assistance or outside interventions. Paint Rock ISD once again received the State of Texas’ highest rating. This is the fifth consecutive year that PRISD has been recognized with the state’s highest rating. This top rating only goes out to those districts that are the most effective and efficient and utilize the highest levels of integrity in their financial practices and dealings.
Paint Rock ISD earning the state’s highest rating is outstanding. Just seven years ago, PRISD passed the FIRST rating system with the narrowest of scores. However, since Superintendent, Mr. Ron Cline, and Business Manager, Mrs. Tracy Grimes, began serving the district on June 10, 2011, Paint Rock ISD has consistently improved both its enrollment and its finances. The school has grown from 135 students to 246 in the past five years. Despite a beehive of activity, upgrading the school’s bus fleet with six new school buses, and making numerous physical improvements to the main campus, the district’s fund balance has grown from $320,000 to over $1.2 million in the same five years. The district has not raised its tax rates in over seven years and does not plan to do so.
Not a single student in the Second Grade (7 year olds) at Paint Rock ISD can remember the last time that Paint Rock ISD raised taxes in Concho County. There is a good reason, too. Paint Rock Independent School District has not raised tax rates since the Fall of 2009, before most of them were even born.
In the Fall of 2009, local voters approved a TRE (Tax Ratification Election) by a 3 to 1 margin. The Local PRISD tax rate has been set at $1.44 ever since. The $1.44 rate includes a Maintenance and Operating (M&O) rate of $1.17, plus an Interest and Sinking (I&S) rate of $ 0.27 to pay off the bond passed in 2007. Local PRISD school taxes have remained the same ever since. In 2015, PRISD refinanced its 2007 bond to take advantage of its improved credit rating and low interest rates, resulting in an overall savings to the taxpayers of no less than $250,000 throughout the remaining life of the bond.
Some area homeowners have seen their property taxes increase since 2009, but that is because the appraised value of their property has increased and not because the local PRISD tax rate has increased. Neither Paint Rock ISD, Concho County, the hospital district, the water district, or the City of Paint Rock have any say at all in the property values assigned to local properties or tax payers. The Concho County Appraisal District in accordance with guidelines set by the Texas State Comptroller’s Office sets property valuations. Taxing entities just set their own tax rates. They do not assess taxable value or collect taxes directly in Concho County.