The Lake Travis Independent School District triggered an election for November 7, 2017 following the school board’s approval of a new tax rate. In August, the board adopted a total tax rate of $1.4275 per $100 of assessed property valuation in order to fund the district’s 2017-2018 budget.
State law requires a school district to hold a tax ratification election when a tax rate increase is proposed. In this case, the actual effect is neutral, as Lake Travis ISD is asking to increase the Maintenance and Operations rate, while decreasing the Interest and Sinking rate by the same amount. The goal is to move funds around so that more stays within the community.
“This particular election is also referred to as a ‘Penny Exchange,’” said Lake Travis ISD Assistant Superintendent for Business, Financial and Auxiliary Services Johnny Hill. “Through a voter-approved TRE or penny exchange, we can move two pennies to the M&O tax rate by taking those same two pennies from the I&S tax rate, netting a total tax rate of $1.4075. Although the total tax rate assessed to local homeowners would not increase as a result of the penny exchange, Lake Travis ISD could see an additional $2.1 million annually in state aid. Additionally, these funds are not subject to recapture.”
Also up for a vote is a $253 million bond, targeted to pay for a third middle school and its utilities and road construction; the district’s seventh elementary school; installing seat belts on school buses; and more.
Lake Travis ISD Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brad Lancaster said, “The good news for our local taxpayers is that we can present the bond election and TRE without increasing our total tax rate. That is a rare occurrence in school elections and a highly-significant position for our taxpayers.” He said the option comes as a result of “aggressive debt management.”