News Story

Board considers tax rate election to raise funds for teacher and staff raises (En español)

View All News & Events

April 26, 2024


A VATRE would ask the community to consider approving a tax rate that would allow Austin ISD to gain an estimated $44M in funding annually.

Why it matters: Those additional funds would help Austin ISD continue to recruit and retain highly-qualified teachers and staff by funding pay increases.

  • Much like our previous bond elections, we’d let voters know exactly what the increased revenue would fund. 
  • We’re currently working with Education Austin and our board to determine exactly how the funds would be spent. 

Where we stand: The board has set the total tax rate at 0.8595 for every $100 in taxable value for FY 2023-24, the lowest rate in Austin ISD history in 34 years

  • Austin ISD currently maintains one of the lowest tax rates compared to other Texas school districts. 
  • An increase of $0.091 to the maximum allowable rate of $0.17 would result in an increase of approximately $35 per month for the median valued home.

What they’re saying: "When a state refuses to pay for public education and one legislative session after another refuses to invest in our kids, it's on us here locally to invest in our kids," Ken Zarifis, Education Austin President, said in an interview with KVUE.

By the numbers: Due to the state’s recapture formulas, roughly 25% of funds raised by an increased tax rate would stay in Austin ISD.

“It’s up to the voters and we have to give them that choice,’ said Kathryn Whitley-Chu, District Trustee. “Austinites went to the capitol, thy called their friends in rural areas, they let people stay in their homes to testify [for increased school funding], and they weren’t listened to [by the Texas Legislature] "When we campaigned for the bond, people were excited for the things our students were getting but they would always say ‘what about the teachers and what about raises…’ and I think we have an obligation to our students and our community who are asking for it.”

How we got here: Despite Texas’s $33B budget surplus, virtually no additional per-student funding was approved during the last 88th Legislative Session.

Yes, and… Inflationary costs such as energy, fuel, insurance and other cost of living expenses have increased by roughly 17% since the last time the state increased per student funding. 

What’s next: The board would need to vote to include the VATRE on the November ballot no later than August 19, 2024.

View Full Article Here