Other than using cash, a bond election is the only way Texas law allows school districts to fund additions, renovations, and new facilities. School districts borrow money in the form of bonds to finance these projects from design through construction. This is similar to homeowners borrowing money in the form of a mortgage to finance a home.
A school district’s tax rate is comprised of two components or “buckets”. The first bucket is the Maintenance and Operations budget (M&O), which funds daily costs and recurring or consumable expenditures such as teacher and staff salaries, supplies, software and utilities. The second bucket is the Interest and Sinking budget (I&S), also known as Debt Service, and that is for longer-term capital improvements approved by voters through bond elections. I&S funds cannot by law be used to pay M&O expenses, which means that voter-approved bonds cannot be used to increase teacher salaries or pay rising costs for utilities and services.
Under state law, if you have applied for and received the Age 65 and Older Homestead Exemption, your school taxes CANNOT be raised above their frozen level unless you make significant improvements or additions to your home. A significant improvement would be anything beyond normal maintenance or repair, such as building a swimming pool or adding a garage or game room. To apply for the Age 65 and Older Homestead Exemption, contact the Hardin County Appraisal District at (409) 246-2507