Austin ISD reconfirmed plans to keep the fiscal year 2013 tax rate the same as the 2012 rate during the Aug. 2 board of trustees meeting.
The proposed tax rate will be $1.242 per $100 of property valuation. The tax rate is made up of two parts: maintenance and operations, or $1.079 per $100 of property valuation, and interest and sinking—$0.163 per $100 of property valuation.
The school district will hold a public hearing on the proposed tax rate during its Aug. 28 board meeting.
Tax ratification election
Voters may have a chance to increase the tax rate in the near future. According to Superintendent Meria Carstarphen, the board considered holding a tax ratification election, or TRE, in November 2012 or in 2013.
On June 20, the board of trustees approved the district's 2013 expenditures budget and included a one-time expense equivalent to a 3 percent pay raise for all regular employees costing nearly $14.2 million, she said.
“We know that our reserve cannot continue to provide this type of recurring expense indefinitely,” Carstarphen said. “We know that we will need a recurring revenue stream in order to fund a permanent salary increase or any other new initiatives, which means that the district will likely need to go for a tax ratification election in the year 2013, especially if November 2012 is no longer an option.”
Carstarphen explained that the TRE is not the only path and AISD is using a multi-faceted approach to assess potentially available funding including federal and state grants.
“We do know that if we don't do something, there is not enough money in our budget to continue with the compensation adjustment,” she said.
The board is expected to make a decision this month on if and when it plans to hold the election.
Board approves proposed election dates
Candidates can run for four seats on the board of trustees—places 2, 3, 5 and at-large Place 8—in the Nov. 6 election.
Candidates have until Aug. 20 to file applications. The district will host an orientation session for all candidates in September, Carstarphen said.
Early voting runs Oct. 22 through Nov. 2. The board is scheduled to canvass the election and swear in elected officials Nov. 15 unless a run-off is required. A run-off election would be held Dec. 8, with canvassing and swearing in set for Dec. 18.
AISD will share the $1.36 million cost of the election with the Travis County Election Division, as well as with the City of Austin, according to Mark Williams, board president and Place 5 trustee.
More information is available at www.austinisd.org.