• EPISD ‘Penny Swap' Tax Ratification Election to Access Austin Golden Pennies

    Voters in the EPISD will decide whether the tax rate for the incoming 2015-16 school year could include a 3-cent swap from the part of the funding formula that pays for debt to the part that pays for day-to-day operations.

    June 24, 2015 — EPISD News

    The penny swap would not have an impact on the tax rate, but would help bring an additional $13.7 million in state and local revenue by accessing the “Austin Golden Pennies.” The Golden Pennies is the phrase used to refer to the specific cents of a school district tax rate that generate more revenue because they are weighted at a higher level than the rest.

    The Board of Trustees on Tuesday approved a tax rate of $1.23 – the same rate the District adopted for the current 2014-15. 

    The District identified three pennies to move from the Interest & Sinking portion of the tax rate into the Maintenance & Operation side of the formula. The move will trigger the issuance of $9 million in state matching funds, plus and additional $4.7 million in local funds, aimed at helping districts who have reached their tax rate caps but have received support from their communities in increasing their revenues.

    The lower I&S tax rate will not affect EPISD’s capacity to pay its scheduled debt for the 2015-16 school year. 

    Although the adopted tax rate for the incoming year is the same as last year’s, Texas law requires the district to seek voter approval for the penny swap. The District will hold an election on Aug. 22. 

    "This is an opportunity to access additional state education dollars with no tax rate impact to our local community,” EPISD Board President Dori Fenenbock said. “It will enable us to continue to prioritize competitive salaries, academics, fine arts and athletics. We will provide the public detailed information so our citizens clearly understand the impact and are prepared to support our schools when they head to the polls."