Public Meetings

RISD is holding a series of public meetings to share information about the TRE with parents, staff and community members. Each session will begin promptly with a presentation of information about the TRE by school district personnel. During the presentation, community members will have the opportunity to submit questions. Those questions will be answered at the end of the presentation.

  • Sept. 5, 7 p.m. - Richardson YMCA
  • Sept. 12, 7 p.m. - Lake Highlands HS - "H" Auditorium
  • Sept. 17, 7 p.m. - Richardson HS - Library
  • Sept. 25, 7 p.m. - Pearce HS - Black Box Theater
  • Oct. 3, 7 p.m. - Berkner HS - Lecture Hall
  • Oct. 13, 9 a.m. - RISD Administration Building

Overview

Board of trustees and superintendent photo

Richardson ISD Trustees Call Tax Ratification Election

Addresses School Safety, Class Sizes, Teacher Retention, Strategic Initiatives

After months of budget discussion, and incorporating recommendations from the comprehensive community and staff strategic planning process that began last fall, the Richardson ISD Board of Trustees voted to set the district’s operating tax rate at $1.17, triggering a tax ratification election (TRE) that will occur on November 6, asking voters to approve an increased tax rate.

“For those who believe in safe schools, outstanding teachers, and maintaining a strong district that meets the high expectations of our community, this action could no longer be avoided,” said RISD Board President, Justin Bono. “From our highest achieving schools to our campuses and students in need of additional resources, RISD can no longer operate on the reduced state funding and revenue generated by a minimum operating tax rate.”

Learn more about the TRE

Frequently Asked Questions

    Most Common FAQs

  • A TRE is a special election called by a school district’s Board of Trustees, asking voters to approve an increase above the current operating tax rate. The operating tax rate in RISD has been $1.04 for the last 11 years (when it was lowered to the current rate). Voter approval through a TRE is required for a school district operating tax rate to exceed $1.04.

  • Unfortunately, the way school finance in Texas is set up by the legislature, while increases in RISD home values do cause a homeowner’s school taxes to rise, the increases do not provide an ongoing benefit to RISD’s operating budget. It actually has the opposite effect. As RISD collects more money from local taxpayers due to increased property values, state operating funding for RISD decreases. In fact, state officials have often used the benefit of additional local tax dollars generated in school districts like RISD to fund other parts of the state budget unrelated to public education.

    state revenue chart
  • RISD held a bond election in 2016, requesting voters approve a 5 cent debt service tax rate increase to provide funds for capital (long term) items like new classrooms, facilities, and equipment to accommodate physical needs primarily associated with RISD’s increased enrollment as well as growing programs in Career & Technical Education, Fine Arts and Athletics.

    Under Texas law, school district tax rates are broken into two parts, and each generates funds used for different things. The larger portion is the operating (M & O) tax rate, which is used to fund the ongoing, recurring (short term) expenses of operating a school district, such as teacher salaries and utilities. This is the portion of the tax rate that RISD is asking voters to increase through the TRE.

    The second portion of the tax rate is the debt service (I & S) tax rate, which may only be used to pay back bonds that are sold to finance the longer term capital items for a school district, such as construction, infrastructure, technology, and equipment for programs. Funds generated from the debt service tax rate may never be used to pay the operational costs of a school district, such as teacher salaries.

    The TRE would increase the operating tax rate to provide more operating funds for RISD.

    Surrounding school districts like Allen, Carrollton-Farmer’s Branch, Plano, McKinney, and Wylie have all passed tax ratification elections to provide more operating dollars for their districts.

  • The average home’s market value in RISD is $288,794. After homestead exemptions, the average home’s taxable value in RISD is $234,915. If approved, the 13-cent change would raise property taxes by $25.45 a month, or the cost of two tickets to the movies. The $305 annual cost is $0.84 per day.

    The market value of homes in RISD is determined by the Dallas Central Appraisal District (www.dallascad.org). The taxable value of a home is the market value, minus the two homestead exemptions that are offered – the state’s standard $25,000 exemption and the 10% local optional homestead exemption offered by RISD (RISD is one of three districts of the 38 in Dallas and Collin counties to still provide taxpayers with a local optional homestead exemption).

    The tax levy impact of a 13 cent increase in the operating tax rate will vary based on a home’s assigned market value:

    Market Value Tax Impact**
    $100,000 $84/year or $7/month
    $150,000 $143/year or $11.91/month
    $200,000 $201/year or $16.75/month
    $250,000 $260/year or $21.66/month
    $288,794* $305/year or $25.45/month
    $300,000 $318/year or $26.50/month
    $350,000 $377/year or $31.42/month
    $400,000 $435/year or $36.25/month
    $450,000 $494/year or $41.16/month
    $500,000 $552/year or $46/month
    *Average 2018 market value of a home in RISD, per DCAD.
    **No tax impact on homeowners age 65+ who have a frozen tax levy.

  • If voters pass the TRE, funds would be used to:

    • Provide additional teaching and staff positions to serve students in special education and those with special needs
    • Provide additional school resource officers and district safety and security staff.
    • Increase salary compensation for teachers and staff by 2.5%
    • Adjust the hourly rate for custodial, other classified employees and paraprofessionals to be more competitive with the market and surrounding districts
    • Maintain class sizes without overage waivers
    • Implement future priorities from the 2017-18 community strategic planning process

  • No. RISD is one of three remaining school districts among the 38 in Dallas and Collin counties to still provide taxpayers a local optional homestead exemption (LOHE). This exemption, which is provided in addition to the standard state homestead exemption, allows RISD homeowners to reduce the taxable value of their home by 10%, which reduces the amount of property taxes paid.

    Dr. Stone and RISD trustees have stated that the district has not considered elimination of the LOHE and has no current intention to do so. Under current Texas law, RISD trustees could not take any action to eliminate or reduce the LOHE until 2020 or after.

    The group of community and staff members who worked throughout the 2017-18 school year on RISD's strategic planning finance action team recommended that RISD consider different available options to increase revenue. That included a recommendation to consider a tax ratification election to seek voter approval to raise the operating tax rate. Elimination of the local optional homestead exemption was among other items for RISD to consider as ways to increase operating revenue.

    The finance action team recommendations were specifically discussed at RISD's September 10, 2018 Board meeting. Trustees made clear that eliminating the local optional homestead exemption is not under consideration, and increasing operating revenue through a tax ratification election is the method RISD is pursuing to generate additional revenue, along with maximizing grant funding opportunities and operating as efficiently as possible with current resources.

    For an average-value home in RISD, the local optional homestead exemption currently reduces annual property taxes by $300. If the TRE were to pass, RISD’s local optional homestead exemption would reduce annual property taxes on an average-value district homestead by $338. Providing the LOHE benefit to RISD taxpayers costs RISD approximately $8.3 million annually in operating revenue.



  • Tax Ratification Election (TRE)

  • A TRE is a special election called by a school district’s Board of Trustees, asking voters to approve an increase above the current operating tax rate. The operating tax rate in RISD has been $1.04 for the last 11 years (when it was lowered to the current rate). Voter approval through a TRE is required for a school district operating tax rate to exceed $1.04.

  • After a seven-month strategic planning process with community members and staff, RISD Trustees are recommending 13 cents be added to the operating tax rate, resulting in a rate of $1.17. This would accommodate RISD’s operating budget until at least 2023 and allow the district to sustain current operations, while also introducing community recommendations from the Strategic Planning 2017 process. Coupled with RISD’s current debt service tax rate of $0.35, increasing the operating tax rate to $1.17 would make RISD’s combined tax rate $1.52.

  • The TRE won’t affect taxpayers who have a frozen tax levy. The amount of property taxes paid (the tax levy) by citizens 65 years or older—or those who are disabled—are generally not affected by rate increases, if the appropriate homestead exemptions are filed with the county appraisal district to freeze their tax levy. RISD taxpayers can verify their exemptions with the Dallas Central Appraisal District at www.dallascad.org or 214-631-0910.

  • The average home’s market value in RISD is $288,794. After homestead exemptions, the average home’s taxable value in RISD is $234,915. If approved, the 13-cent change would raise property taxes by $25.45 a month, or the cost of two tickets to the movies. The $305 annual cost is $0.84 per day.

    The market value of homes in RISD is determined by the Dallas Central Appraisal District (www.dallascad.org). The taxable value of a home is the market value, minus the two homestead exemptions that are offered – the state’s standard $25,000 exemption and the 10% local optional homestead exemption offered by RISD (RISD is one of three districts of the 38 in Dallas and Collin counties to still provide taxpayers with a local optional homestead exemption).

    The tax levy impact of a 13 cent increase in the operating tax rate will vary based on a home’s assigned market value:

    Market Value Tax Impact**
    $100,000 $84/year or $7/month
    $150,000 $143/year or $11.91/month
    $200,000 $201/year or $16.75/month
    $250,000 $260/year or $21.66/month
    $288,794* $305/year or $25.45/month
    $300,000 $318/year or $26.50/month
    $350,000 $377/year or $31.42/month
    $400,000 $435/year or $36.25/month
    $450,000 $494/year or $41.16/month
    $500,000 $552/year or $46/month
    *Average 2018 market value of a home in RISD, per DCAD.
    **No tax impact on homeowners age 65+ who have a frozen tax levy.

  • The tax rate is assessed per $100 of a home’s taxable value. Using RISD’s current combined tax rate of $1.39 (which is $1.04 operating + $0.35 debt service), the school taxes on an average value RISD homestead would be calculated as follows:

    $288,794 Average market value of home in RISD
    -$25,000 Standard Texas homestead exemption
    -$28,879 Local optional homestead exemption (only offered by RISD and two other area districts)
    -$234,915 Average taxable value of home in RISD
    ÷ 100 Calculation to reduce total taxable value to per $100 value
    $2,349 Taxable home value per $100 of average RISD home
    X 1.39 RISD’s current tax rate
    $3,265 Tax levy on average value RISD home at current rate
    To calculate how much the TRE would increase the taxes levied on an average value RISD home, multiply the taxable home value per $100 by the new proposed rate of $1.52 and subtract the current tax levy from the result:

    $2,349 Taxable home value per $100 of average RISD home
    X 1.52 RISD’s proposed new tax rate with the $0.13 operating tax rate increase
    $3,570 Tax levy on average value RISD home at proposed rate
    -$3,265 Tax levy on average value RISD home at current rate
    $305 Proposed tax increase on average value RISD home
    Note that residents who are 65+ years old or disabled will not be impacted by a tax increase if the appropriate exemptions have been granted by the Appraisal District. RISD taxpayers with questions are welcome to contact the RISD Tax Office at 469-593-0500.

  • Locally, Plano ($1.17), Allen ($1.14), McKinney ($1.17), Carrollton-Farmers Branch ($1.17), Irving ($1.17), Wylie ($1.17), Coppell ($1.17), DeSoto ($1.17) and Grand Prairie ($1.17) ISDs have raised their operating tax rate in the last decade.

    Of the 38 area districts in Dallas and Collin counties, 25 (two-thirds) have passed a TRE. Additional area districts are considering TREs as funding from the state decreases. Since 2006, more than 500 Texas school districts have called a TRE.

  • RISD held a bond election in 2016, requesting voters approve a 5 cent debt service tax rate increase to provide funds for capital (long term) items like new classrooms, facilities, and equipment to accommodate physical needs primarily associated with RISD’s increased enrollment as well as growing programs in Career & Technical Education, Fine Arts and Athletics.

    Under Texas law, school district tax rates are broken into two parts, and each generates funds used for different things. The larger portion is the operating (M & O) tax rate, which is used to fund the ongoing, recurring (short term) expenses of operating a school district, such as teacher salaries and utilities. This is the portion of the tax rate that RISD is asking voters to increase through the TRE.

    The second portion of the tax rate is the debt service (I & S) tax rate, which may only be used to pay back bonds that are sold to finance the longer term capital items for a school district, such as construction, infrastructure, technology, and equipment for programs. Funds generated from the debt service tax rate may never be used to pay the operational costs of a school district, such as teacher salaries.

    The TRE would increase the operating tax rate to provide more operating funds for RISD.

    Surrounding school districts like Allen, Carrollton-Farmer’s Branch, Plano, McKinney, and Wylie have all passed tax ratification elections to provide more operating dollars for their districts.



  • Why a TRE

  • Many factors and months of study went into the decision to present a TRE to RISD voters, but the bottom line is due to ongoing reductions in state funding, RISD’s long time $1.04 operating tax rate is no longer sufficient to fund the district in a way that meets the district's mission and community expectations for a high quality education.

    From a revenue standpoint, the state has reduced its portion of funding to RISD by $16.1 million since 2013, and is projected to decrease another $41.8 million over the next five years. RISD’s operating tax rate has remained unchanged for 11 years and is at a 27 year low.

    From a cost standpoint, RISD’s student population is more expensive to educate than at any point in district history, with 54% of students economically disadvantaged and 26% of students with a limited understanding of English. Costs of utilities and salaries have risen steadily, which is necessary to recruit and retain quality educators. RISD continues to lose experienced and talented educators to school districts that have more resources due to higher operating tax rates.

    Ninety percent of RISD’s operating budget is comprised of salaries, and even a 2.5% cost of living increase to teachers and staff will increase the operating budget by more than $6.6 million.

  • Yes. Last year, RISD used $6.3 million of one-time savings to meet operating expenses. This was necessary to provide teachers and staff with a three percent pay raise, and pay utility, insurance and other operating costs. At the time the budget was approved, the Texas legislature was still debating increases to education funding, and the Board felt it was prudent to wait on the outcome of the legislative session before considering a TRE to increase operational funding. The legislature did not provide additional funding in the 2017 session, and with state funding obligated to pay for Hurricane Harvey recovery costs a priority for the 2019 session, RISD could no longer afford to wait on legislative help.

    For this reason, considering a TRE became necessary to meet baseline budgetary needs, provide instructional support to students with special needs, enhance overall school safety, and provide teachers/staff with a 2.5% cost of living raise.

  • Yes. More than 300 people began studying RISD and planning for its future last fall as part of the 2017 Strategic Planning Process. The comprehensive strategic plan committee included teachers, staff, students, parents, and community members.

    Six action teams looked in-depth at every major aspect of how RISD functions and operates, arriving at a series of recommendations designed to guide RISD into the next decade.

    The finance strategic planning action team determined that the current $1.04 operating tax rate does not generate enough revenue to meet current or future district needs, and recommended the Board consider increasing the operating tax rate to preserve current programs and begin funding priority strategic planning initiatives.

    Some priority recommendations from the strategic planning process are reflected in the 2018-19 operating budget that is contingent upon passage of the TRE.

    For more information about RISD’s strategic planning process, visit risd.org/sp17



  • Impact of Passed TRE

  • If voters pass the TRE, funds would be used to:

    • Provide additional teaching and staff positions to serve students in special education and those with special needs
    • Provide additional school resource officers and district safety and security staff.
    • Increase salary compensation for teachers and staff by 2.5%
    • Adjust the hourly rate for custodial, other classified employees and paraprofessionals to be more competitive with the market and surrounding districts
    • Maintain class sizes without overage waivers
    • Implement future priorities from the 2017-18 community strategic planning process



  • Impact of Failed TRE

  • If voters do not approve the TRE, the district would be unable to fund strategic planning initiatives or teacher compensation increases, and would also be facing an operating budget deficit of a projected $54.1 million over the next five years. Addressing that deficit would impact current programs and staffing allocations.

    Examples of actions that would be considered if the TRE fails include:

    Unable to give teacher/staff salary compensation increase
    RISD continues to lose experienced and talented educators to school districts that have more resources due to higher operating tax rates. Ninety percent of RISD’s operating budget is comprised of salaries, and even a 2.5% cost of living increase to teachers and staff will increase the operating budget by more than $6.6 million.

    Unable to add all teachers/staff necessary to serve students
    Ninety percent of RISD’s operating budget is comprised of salaries, and a hiring freeze is the most immediate action that could be taken to reduce operating costs.

    Increased class sizes
    See next FAQ.

    Unable to add school resources officers or security guards
    Strategic planning recommendations call for additional security personnel, including police officers to support elementary clusters.

    Reduced course offerings or programs
    Addressing a projected operating deficit of $54.1 million over five years could not be done without directly impacting classrooms, courses and/or programs. In addition to an impact on class sizes, a hiring freeze would impact the number and availability of teachers in certain subject areas, which could impact course offerings.

    Consolidation of classroom capacity where feasible
    Classroom capacity at most RISD schools is well utilized, especially given enrollment growth over the last decade. However, some schools remain underutilized, and could be evaluated for consolidation as a cost-cutting measure.

    Fees for co- and extracurricular activities
    Charging students fees to participate in extra-curricular activities like athletics and fine arts is an option to generate revenue. It would impact participation, and is a barrier for many families who are economically disadvantaged (54% of RISD families).

  • RISD has long been committed to maintaining reasonable class sizes. Like many school districts, a very high portion (90%) of RISD’s operating budget is allocated to payroll. If the TRE is not successful, RISD will have to implement a hiring freeze as one way to address a projected operating budget deficit of $54.1 million over the next five years. A hiring freeze means that the positions vacated through normal teacher and staff turnover are not replaced. This leaves fewer teachers and staff members to serve a growing student population, resulting in larger class sizes.

    The state of Texas caps the number of students in Kindergarten through 4th grade classrooms at 22, and RISD’s guideline for 5th & 6th grade classrooms is a maximum of 28 students. With fewer teachers to serve students, RISD will be forced to exceed those caps with larger class sizes. When the class size cap is exceeded in grades K-4, school districts must request a waiver from the state of Texas for each classroom over the cap.

    Because of RISD’s commitment to reasonable class sizes, the district has requested very few class size waivers over the years. The major exception came the last time that RISD implemented a hiring freeze, which occurred in 2011-2012 as a consequence of reductions in state funding. During that period, the number of waivers to exceed the maximum state class size grew from 10 waivers in the fall of 2010 to a combined 559 waivers in 2011 and 2012 (see chart).

    class size waivers chart


  • School Taxes & Rates

  • Two tax rates combine to make a school tax rate. The first tax rate is the operating tax rate. RISD’s is currently $1.04 and is used to fund day-to-day operations, such as payroll costs, utilities, and maintenance of schools and facilities.

    The second part is the debt service tax rate, currently $0.35. It may only be used to pay for district bonds that fund construction and one-time purchases such as technology, vehicles, and equipment with a useful life of more than one year. The bonds that are funded by the debt service tax rate are much like the mortgage on a home, but in RISD are paid back more quickly to reduce interest costs.

    The two rates combined make up the current RISD tax rate of $1.39.

  • The operating tax rate has been at $1.04 since 2007-08, and is at its lowest rate since 1990-91, or 27 years.

  • RISD’s highest-ever operating tax rate was $1.50, most recently in 2005-06.

  • The average operating tax rate of the 38 districts in Dallas and Collin counties is $1.12. Area districts like Plano ($1.17), Allen ($1.14), McKinney ($1.17), Carrollton-Farmers Branch ($1.17), Irving ($1.17), Wylie ($1.17), Coppell ($1.17), DeSoto ($1.17) and Grand Prairie ($1.17) have raised their operating tax rate in the last decade.

  • A school district M&O budget (commonly called the operating budget) is comprised mostly of personnel. Ninety percent of RISD’s operating budget is comprised of teacher and employee salaries. The chart below shows the percentages of the RISD operating budget, which is funded by the operating tax rate.

    operating pie chart
  • No. RISD is one of three remaining school districts among the 38 in Dallas and Collin counties to still provide taxpayers a local optional homestead exemption (LOHE). This exemption, which is provided in addition to the standard state homestead exemption, allows RISD homeowners to reduce the taxable value of their home by 10%, which reduces the amount of property taxes paid.

    Dr. Stone and RISD trustees have stated that the district has not considered elimination of the LOHE and has no current intention to do so. Under current Texas law, RISD trustees could not take any action to eliminate or reduce the LOHE until 2020 or after.

    The group of community and staff members who worked throughout the 2017-18 school year on RISD's strategic planning finance action team recommended that RISD consider different available options to increase revenue. That included a recommendation to consider a tax ratification election to seek voter approval to raise the operating tax rate. Elimination of the local optional homestead exemption was among other items for RISD to consider as ways to increase operating revenue.

    The finance action team recommendations were specifically discussed at RISD's September 10, 2018 Board meeting. Trustees made clear that eliminating the local optional homestead exemption is not under consideration, and increasing operating revenue through a tax ratification election is the method RISD is pursuing to generate additional revenue, along with maximizing grant funding opportunities and operating as efficiently as possible with current resources.

    For an average-value home in RISD, the local optional homestead exemption currently reduces annual property taxes by $300. If the TRE were to pass, RISD’s local optional homestead exemption would reduce annual property taxes on an average-value district homestead by $338. Providing the LOHE benefit to RISD taxpayers costs RISD approximately $8.3 million annually in operating revenue.



  • Texas School Funding & Loss of State Funds

  • Unfortunately, the way school finance in Texas is set up by the legislature, while increases in RISD home values do cause a homeowner’s school taxes to rise, the increases do not provide an ongoing benefit to RISD’s operating budget. It actually has the opposite effect. As RISD collects more money from local taxpayers due to increased property values, state operating funding for RISD decreases. In fact, state officials have often used the benefit of additional local tax dollars generated in school districts like RISD to fund other parts of the state budget unrelated to public education.

    state operating funding chart
  • Raising the proposed operating tax rate to $1.17 would generate approximately $24.8 million annually for RISD to be able maintain programs and staffing levels, and fund competitive salaries and strategic planning priorities. This would provide RISD the funding level needed to fulfill its mission and meet community expectations of a quality education for every student.

  • Over the last five years, RISD’s funding from the state has decreased $16.1 million and is projected to decrease an additional $41.8 million over the next five years. This decreased funding directly contributed to RISD adopting a deficit operating budget in 2017-18.

  • If the TRE doesn’t pass, RISD would face a projected operating deficit of $54.1 million over the next five years. This amount assumes 2 percent annual inflation for non-payroll expenses like utilities, fuel and supplies, and assumes no increases in teacher/staff compensation or number of employees.

  • Yes. Because of a complicated school finance system, recapture (also known as Robin Hood) requires some school districts to pay a portion of the property taxes collected to other districts in Texas that the state considers to be “property poor.”

    If the TRE is successful, RISD would pay approximately $5.8 million annually in recapture, while retaining approximately $24.8 million to use in support of RISD students and staff.

  • Like many other school districts, RISD and Trustees have been waiting for years for the state legislature to fix the way schools are funded in Texas. The basic structure of the Texas school funding formula was last comprehensively addressed in 1984.

    Trustees adopted a $6.3 million deficit operating budget last year in order to give legislators in the 2017 session more time to address the issue, which they eventually failed to do, again. The next legislative session will occur in 2019, and clear indications have come from elected officials that no state financial relief will be allocated for schools unless they were impacted by Hurricane Harvey. With RISD facing another deficit budget and the need to fund priorities like teacher retention, school safety, and services for students with special needs, Trustees felt they could wait no longer to ask the community to raise the district’s operating tax rate, which is currently at a 27 year low.



  • Fiscal Responsibility

  • In 2017, RISD was one of just 46 public school districts in Texas to receive five stars for strongest academic progress combined with lowest spending relative to other school districts by TXSmartSchools.org.

  • Among the 38 school districts in Dallas and Collin counties, RISD’s $1.04 operating tax rate is among the lowest, along with the other 12 districts that have not passed TREs. Voters in the other 25 school districts in the area have passed TREs over the last decade, and those districts have operating tax rates of $1.12 (1 district), $1.14 (2 districts) or $1.17 (22 districts).

    If the TRE were to pass, RISD would become the 23rd of the 38 districts with an operating tax rate of $1.17 and the 26th to have passed a TRE.

  • Among the 38 school districts in Dallas and Collin counties, RISD’s current combined tax rate of $1.39 ($1.04 + $0.35) ranks among the lowest in the area, at 31. If the TRE were to pass, RISD’s combined rate of $1.52 ($1.17 + $0.35) would move RISD’s rank to 18 among area districts.

    Important to note: When comparing actual school taxes paid by homeowners, RISD’s taxes levied are lower because it is one of only three districts to still provide a local optional homestead exemption. (See FAQ on local optional homestead exemption.)

  • The district is recognized for its fiscal responsibility. It has earned the highest stand-alone bond ratings awarded to Texas school districts by Standard & Poor’s (AA+) and Moody’s (Aaa). These dual top ratings are shared by just three other Texas districts.

    In addition, the district has received the highest possible rating from the Texas Education Agency’s Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas each of the 17 years since the rating’s inception.

    Due to decreased state funding and its 27-year low operating tax rate, RISD is no longer generating enough operating revenue to achieve its mission and was forced to use one time reserves to adopt a $6.3 million deficit operating budget last year.

  • In RISD’s most recent adopted operating budget (2017-18), 2.66% of expenditures were allocated to central administrative functions. RISD compares spending in different areas to other school districts to identify opportunities for savings and efficiencies. The central administration portion of RISD’s operating budget is consistently lower than the average of area school districts.

  • RISD consistently seeks ways to reduce costs and bring efficiencies to operations. As part of budget and curricular planning this past year, RISD identified several operational and organizational changes that generated a $3.2-million cost savings, allowing the district to pursue instructional initiatives designed to help students without adding dollars to the budget. In addition, central operational cuts have been made to save $600,000 for 2018-19 and beyond.

  • Yes. Trustees considered different operating tax rate increases and evaluated the needs and priorities that could be funded at varying rates, up to a 13 cent increase. An operating tax rate increase of 13 cents was recommended by Dr. Stone as the only level that meets RISD's projected budget needs over the next five years related to class sizes, teacher retention, school safety, services to students with special needs, maintaining academic programs, and implementing priority recommendations from the community & staff strategic planning process.

    tax rates chart
  • No. The right to a free public education is guaranteed by the Texas Constitution, so school districts cannot charge a fee for students to receive that education.

    Fees for students to participate in co- and extracurricular activities (such as athletics and fine arts) are permitted under state law. Fees are currently associated with some fine arts activities, and additional co- and extracurricular fees would be among the options that RISD would evaluate if the TRE is not successful.



  • Fund Balance

  • Yes. Last year RISD adopted a $6.3 million deficit budget using reserves. Currently, the fund balance is projected to be at 25 percent of expenditures for the 2018-19 school year, which is the lowest it can go and still comply with district financial policy.

    A large portion of fund balance is used by school districts to operate for the first part of each school year, until tax revenues are received mid-year. In addition, the Texas Education Agency and bond rating agencies recommend that school districts maintain a fund balance reserve of at least 25 percent as a fiscally prudent measure to guard against unforeseen financial circumstances. The 25 percent fund balance would enable RISD to operate and fund expenses for approximately three months.



  • Student Enrollment

  • Yes. Since 2008, RISD student enrollment has grown by more than 5,200 students - a 15 percent increase that places RISD among the higher-growth districts in North Texas. More parents are choosing RISD, and homes in the district continue to be sought out by families seeking a quality education and strong community. RISD’s Bond 2016 was planned in large part to accommodate the physical needs associated with increased enrollment through new classrooms, facilities, and projects that provide more space for instruction and growing extra-curricular programs in Fine Arts & Athletics. The recurring costs associated with enrollment growth, such as salaries for teachers, are funded through the operating tax rate that the TRE would impact.

    Part of the reason the Board has called a TRE is to maintain the programs that have made RISD a district of choice for parents and families. Families choose RISD for:

    • High quality and well-trained teachers
    • Advanced academic programs and options
    • Reasonable class sizes
    • College and Career Readiness options, including a variety of researched and industry-targeted Career and Technical Education (CTE) options that allow students to earn industry licenses and certifications by the time they graduate
    • The instructional support and commitment to meet the academic needs of all students, regardless of ability, family income, or special needs.



  • Voting

  • Election Day is Tuesday, November 6. Early voting is October 22 - November 2. The last day to register to vote in the election is October 9. Photo identification is currently required for voting in person. For more information on voter registration, visit the state website at www.votetexas.gov.

  • The RISD Board originally called for an election date of September 4. Based on feedback from community members, trustees moved the election to the general election date of November 6 to provide more time for voters to become informed about the reasons for the TRE, and also encourage more voter participation. In addition, the expected cost to RISD of a November election is expected to be significantly less than the September election.

    The later election date means that property tax bills for RISD homeowners and businesses will be delayed by approximately seven weeks.

    In addition, the later election timeframe means that RISD will be unable to immediately hire all of the proposed positions that are contingent upon passage of the TRE. The district will be evaluating which staff members are needed this fall to ensure staff compliance and safety.

Voting Information

Election Day is Tuesday, November 6. Early voting is October 22 - November 2. The last day to register to vote in the election is October 9. Photo identification is currently required for voting in person. For more information on voter registration, visit the state website at www.votetexas.gov.

Early Voting
October 22-27: 7 a.m.-7 p.m.
October 28: 1 p.m.-6 p.m.
October 29 - November 2: 7 a.m.-7 p.m.

Early Voting Locations
Richardson Civic Center (Arapaho and Central Expwy.) 411 W Arapaho Rd, Richardson, TX 75080
Fretz Park Library (Hillcrest and Beltline) 6990 Belt Line Rd, Dallas, TX 75254
Bethany Lutheran 10101 Walnut Hill Ln, Dallas, TX 75238

RISD residents can also vote at any early voting location in Dallas County during the early voting dates. Visit dallascountyvotes.org for more information.

Election Day
November 6

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TRE 2018

The Richardson ISD Board of Trustees reached consensus on RISD’s 2018-19 operating budget and formally called a tax ratification election for November 6 to ask voters to raise the district’s operating tax rate.

400 S. Greenville Ave.
Richardson, TX 75081

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