CLARKSVILLE, Texas (KTAL/KMSS) – Residents in Clarksville, Texas will decide on a tax measure for local schools this weekend.
School officials said if approved, a property tax proposal in Clarksville would bring in over $550,000 to the district annually.
“It’s just has a $9.00 a year impact on the regular taxpayer, the average taxpayer in this county,” said Clarksville ISD Superintendent Kermit Ward.
Breaking down the numbers, Ward said the tax would generate about $200,000 in local taxes, but the majority of the money would actually come from the state. “The state’s portion will be estimated at about $350,000.” He said the state formula rewards school districts whose taxes are at a certain level, but the county only gets that money from the state if the tax passes.
School officials point to an accountability rating that shot up 9 points just this year, even though the district has the lowest tax rate in the area. “We’re disadvantaged right now because we don’t have revenues that the other school districts have in this county,” Ward said.
He said despite their struggles, the district recently invested in a new robotics program now in place at the elementary level. “We’re living in an era where technology is really starting to play a huge impact in how we actually live, and we need to be preparing our kids for this.” Ward added that the program could go away if the tax doesn’t pass.
The district also hasn’t had a music teacher in 10 years. Ward said if the proposal passes, he’ll post the job immediately. “”Here we are with a school that doesn’t have any degree of fine arts. We don’t have a music teacher, we don’t have an art teacher. And, those are things that I feel like are critical to the well rounded development of some of our elementary students.”
At the high school level, Ward said many are taking advantage of courses that also give them college credit. School officials said it’s all part of a plan to provide the best education possible. “The school system is the heart and soul of a city, especially a city this size. And we just have to have more of an investment in our schools,” Ward said.
Election day is Saturday, August 31. Polls open at 7 a.m. and close at 7 p.m. Polling locations include Clarksville City Hall and Annona First Baptist Church.