Voter-Approval Tax Rate Election

  • LTISD VATRE Nov 2, 2021 Approved 

    Voters Approve Tax Rate Election

    $3 million in annual revenue will not be subject to Robin Hood


    November 3, 2021

    Dear Lake Travis ISD Staff, Parents and Guardians,

    Roughly 59% of Lake Travis ISD voters approved a proposition ratifying the district’s 2021-2022 total tax rate of $1.2301 per $100 of assessed property value which will yield approximately $3 million annually in local revenue not subject to state recapture.

    In August, our Lake Travis school board set the district’s total tax rate at $1.2301—$0.8826 to support maintenance and operations and $0.3475 to fulfill the debt service on prior bonds. Trustees then called a Voter-Approval Tax Rate Election, or VATRE, asking voters to consider reducing the Interest and Sinking (I&S) tax rate by two cents and increasing the Maintenance and Operations (M&O) tax rate by two cents. The result of this voter-approved “penny exchange” allows Lake Travis ISD to retain a larger portion of its local operating budget which would otherwise be sent to the state under current school finance laws commonly known as “Robin Hood.” Approval of the VATRE will have no impact on the district’s total tax rate.

    We are fortunate to live in a community where residents are passionate about supporting its local school district. I am grateful to our voters for expressing their confidence in our school board’s decision to call an election. 

    With voter ratification, the school board—by resolution—will reduce the I&S tax rate from $0.3475 to $0.3275 and increase the M&O tax rate from $0.8826 to $0.9026 per $100 of assessed property value. Funds from the VATRE will be used to sustain additional instructional support positions for students and staff as well as tutorial services for accelerated learning once federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Funds (ESSER) are depleted.

    For more information, visit the links on the left or contact the Lake Travis ISD Office of Communications & Community Relations at 512-533-6046.

    Paul Norton's signature
    Paul Norton
    Superintendent of Schools


    What is a Voter-Approval Tax Rate Election or VATRE?

    State law requires that school districts seek voter approval to raise their tax rate above a prescribed amount. The election is referred to as a Voter-Approval Tax Rate Election (VATRE).

    Why call a VATRE?

    There are several reasons Lake Travis ISD has called for a VATRE:

    • Total tax rate stays the same so taxpayers get the advantage of the Maintenance & Operations tax rate compression
    • Increase of local revenue generated by additional two pennies is allowed to remain in the operating budget
    • $3 million will stay local annually
    • Interest & Sinking tax rate decrease has minimal impact on future bond capacity due to continued property value growth

    Tax Rate Components:

    • School districts total tax rate is comprised of Maintenance & Operations (M&O) and Interest & Sinking (I&S) tax rates
    • In Texas, funding of public education is by means of local taxes and state funds and is based on daily student attendance and attendance in certain programs
    • Amount of local tax revenue generated is based on property value appraisal and total tax rate levied
    • Property values used to determine homeowners annual tax payments include a 20% local Optional Homestead Exemption resulting in tax savings of $25 million

    Tax Rate Components and Allowable Uses:

    1. M&O Tax Rate

    • Predominantly for staff salaries and benefits (85% of budget)
    • Student services
    • Contracted services
    • Intructional material and supplies
    • Staff development
    • Utilities
    • Maintenance of facilities

    2. I&S Tax Rate:

    • Can only be used for payment of principal and interest on bonds sold to construct and furnish school district facilities
    • Early redemption of callable bonds resulting in interest savings
    • Cannot be used for operational costs such as staff, supplies and instructional materials

    Estimated Local Revenue and Recapture Payments

    Two additional Golden Pennies with approved voter ratifications increases the amount of local revenue retained in general operating budget.

    Estimated local revenue and recapture payments

    Potential Uses of Additional Funds

    • Sustain additional instructional support positions for students and staff and tutorial services for accelerated learning once federal pandemic funding has been depleted
    • Safety net against possible loss of Fast Growth Allotment of $2.7 million if student growth slows down
    • Balance general operating budget when no new state funding is allocated through legislation
    • Maximize opportunities available int he current school funding formula for the benefit of Lake Travis ISD students and programs

    Lake Travis ISD Tax Rate History

    School district tax rate compression each year due to percentage of property value growth:

    LTISD tax rate history 2016-2021