What is the proposal?
The proposal is for $39,000,000 to build a new elementary school. The budget includes the building itself, playground, parking lots, driveways, and furniture, technology, and equipment for the campus. The proposal also includes the repaving of Connally Circle.
How does this proposal impact homeowners?
NOTE: By law, if you receive an Age 65 or Older Exemption (sometimes called the “Age 65 Freeze”), your homestead tax rate cannot be raised above the frozen level unless you make significant improvements to your home. A significant improvement would be anything beyond normal maintenance or repair, such as adding a building, a swimming pool, a garage, or a game room to your home. Questions about your homestead exemption? Call the County tax office at 254-752-9864 or email them.
Since 2017, the CISD Board has dropped the District’s tax rate over 15 cents. The Board lowered the tax rate by another 1.9 cents this year.
The District earned a “Superior” rating from the Texas Education Agency for Financial accountability, which is the highest rating possible. It’s also worth knowing that the District has maintained this same level of financial excellence for the past 10 years.
This image shows how the Connally ISD tax rate compares to other local school districts in the area. Connally ISD paid off $480K of bond debt, eight years early.
How are property taxes determined?
The McLennan County Appraisal District, not Connally ISD, is responsible for setting home values. The law requires appraisal districts to appraise properties at least 95% of market value. If they don’t, they fail the Comptroller’s ratio study and the state reduces funding to area schools. Keeping McLennan County property values in line with state guidelines ensures that Connally ISD retains state funding.
What is the “Over 65” or “Senior Citizen Exemption?”
Taxpayers who are over 65 or disabled qualify for a tax exemption--sometimes referred to as the “school tax freeze.” This exemption applies to the homestead of the taxpayer receiving the exemption. Once a property owner receives an over 65/disability homestead exemption, there is a tax ceiling on their total school taxes.
What is a tax ceiling?
It is a limit on the amount of taxes you must pay on your residence. If you qualify your home for a 65 and over or disabled person homestead exemption for school taxes, the school taxes on that home can’t increase as long as you own and live in that home. The tax ceiling is the amount you pay in the year that you qualified for the 65 or older or disabled person exemption. This benefit is referred to as a tax “ceiling” because taxes can go lower than the ceiling, but not higher.
If I am 65 years or older, what if my home value goes up? Will my taxes increase?
The appraised value can change, but the school taxes on your homestead cannot increase. Normal repairs, maintenance, and the economic impact of the market cannot increase the amount of taxes you will pay once a tax ceiling is in place on that homestead. Therefore, if this bond election is successful, it will not have an impact on the tax bill for homesteads that are receiving the senior citizen exemption, unless the homeowner makes significant improvements to the home.
What is considered a significant improvement to a home?
A significant improvement would include an improvement to your home that exceeds normal repair or maintenance. For example, building a swimming pool or adding on a garage or game room to the house would be significant improvements.
Does the Over 65 exemption go into effect automatically?
No, you need to complete an application. You can download the application at www.mclennancad.org, or call and request one.
When do I need to apply for my tax exemption?
If you qualify for an age 65 and over homestead exemption, you may apply to the appraisal district up to one year after the date you turn 65 or qualify for disability, or up to one year after the taxes are due, whichever is later. If your application is approved, you will receive the exemption for the entire year in which you turn 65 or become disabled and for future years as long as you own a qualified homestead.
Do I have to reapply each year for my tax exemption?
No. If you had an age 65 and over homestead exemption on your home in 2021, you won’t need to reapply for 2022. However, if you haven’t received an exemption on your present home—or if you’ve moved to a new home—you’ll need to file for an exemption for 2021. If you are 65 this year, you may file for the age 65 or older exemption up to one year after the date you turned 65.