Homeowners to pay more under adopted Austin ISD tax rate

Austin school trustees Monday night adopted the district’s 2017-18 school tax rate, which remains unchanged from last year.

The school board adopted a tax rate of $1.192, with $1.079 for maintenance and operations and 11.3 cents for debt repayment, per $100 valuation.

While the tax rate remains flat (and is the lowest among Central Texas school districts), the average homeowner should expect to pay more in school taxes. The owner of the average valued home of $359,947 will pay $4,291, up $374 over last year.

The school board in June adopted its 2017-18 budget of nearly $1.5 billion, including an operating budget of $914.1 million. The budget includes employees raises of 1.5 percent, which totals more than $8.5 million, creating a dyslexia project at Covington Middle School, launching a Montessori program at Winn Elementary and expanding its early college high schools.

The district also is expected to dole out $534 million — about $1,700 of the average school tax bill — for the mandatory recapture payment to the state. Under the state’s school finance system, recapture, dubbed Robin Hood by critics, requires districts that are property wealthy like Austin, to subsidize districts that are in low property wealth areas.

This year’s payment of $534 million is an increase of 32 percent, or $127.8 million, over last year.

A proposal to provide reduce the recapture payment and provide taxpayers some relief with a tax swap between the city of Austin and school district fizzled last week. Mayor Steve Adler said he won’t pursue a tax swap with the district this year after all, but there’s still a chance they could relook at the option next year.

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