CLARKSVILLE — Early voting begins today for Clarksville residents in a tax ratification election that could provide hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue to Clarksville ISD if passed.

School officials warn that failure to pass the TRE could have disastrous effects. The district’s property tax rate currently sits at $1.04 per $100 valuation, and if the TRE is passed, it would rise to $1.06. If voters opt against it, the school district’s tax rate would be compressed to 97 cents, Clarksville ISD Superintendent Kermit Ward said.

The TRE is estimated to provide the school district an additional $206,000 in local funding, with even more money coming from the state.

“The state incentivizes districts that go up to the maximum, and they would put in an additional $350,000 to the additional $206,000 we raise,” Ward said. “For every $100 that the community puts in, the state puts in $175. That’s more than $550,000, which is huge for a district of our size.”

But if the TRE fails to gain voter support, the district’s financial situation will be dire, Ward said.

“We will be in a world of hurt if it doesn’t pass,” he said. “If this doesn’t pass, the budget will run a deficit. We’ll be $300,000 in the red.”

Compression of the district’s property tax to 97 cents per $100 valuation would make it difficult for it to continue making payments on a $1.7 million loan the district took out several years ago, Ward said.

Without the TRE, Ward said, the district would be able to stay above water for about three years by using its fund balance, a move the district’s trustees would like to avoid, if possible. After that though, the district would feel the financial pressure.

“If the TRE passes, it wipes all those concerns away,” he said.

Early voting begins today and runs until election day on Aug. 31, Ward said. Voting will take place at the Clarksville ISD administration board room, 1500 W. Main St. On election day, voting will take place at City Hall, 800 W. Main St. During early voting, polling will last from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., and polling on election day will run from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Tommy Culkin is a staff writer for The Paris News. He can be reached at 903-785-6972 or at tommy.culkin@theparisnews.com.

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