Lake Travis voters approve school bond and tax ratification

Lake Travis ISD 2017 bond. (KXAN Photo)
Lake Travis ISD 2017 bond. (KXAN Photo)

TRAVIS COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — Two major election items at Lake Travis Independent Schoo District were approved by voters on Election Day.

With the approval of the $253 million bond package, district leaders say the bond money will be used to build new schools in order to keep up with the rapid growth packing campuses. More than $109 million of the quarter-of-a-billion-dollar package will go toward building a new middle school off of Vail Divide in Bee Cave and a new elementary school in the Rough Hollow area of Lakeway.

The bond also includes money to buy land for future schools, improve existing schools, add new technology to campuses and buy 40 new school buses with seat belts, along with retrofitting all older buses with seat belts.

The passing of the bond will not raise the district’s tax rate.

“Normally, when you go out and as Lake Travis High School voters to have a successful bond election, you’re going up in your tax rate,” said Johnny Hill, LTISD’s assistant superintendent of finances, business and auxiliary services. “We’re able to do $253 million without going up at all.”

Taxpayers also approved the district’s Tax Ratification Election, or TRE. The TRE allows school officials to move money around within the district’s budget and create a couple of million dollars in extra funding without raising the local tax rate.

The district says it would be able to pull in an extra $2.1 million a year from the state, simply by tweaking the way it collects taxes.

Voters were asked to raise their tax rate by 2 cents, with the money going to maintenance and operations. The 2 cent increase in the district’s maintenance and operations tax makes Lake Travis ISD eligible for more state funding. In return, the school board has already passed a resolution to cut 2 cents from the district’s interest and sinking tax keeping the overall tax rate the same.

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