The Irving ISD Board of Trustees is asking voters to consider a penny exchange which could generate an additional $10 million of state funding, while still maintaining the overall same total tax rate as last year.

Early Voting for the Tax Ratification Election (TRE) begins Wednesday, August 24, and continues through Tuesday, September 6. Early voting polling locations are Irving City Hall (825 W. Irving Blvd., 75060) or Irving Arts Center (3333 N. MacArthur Blvd., 75062). The polls will be open August 24 through August 27 and August 29 through September 2 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; on August 28 from 1 to 6 p.m.; and on September 6 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. For more information, visit www.irvingisd.net/pennyexchange.

Through a voter-approved penny exchange, Irving ISD would take 13 pennies from the Interest & Sinking (I&S) tax rate and move those same 13 pennies to the Maintenance and Operations (M&O) tax rate. A district’s total tax rate is made of two parts. The M&O rate pays for daily operations and the I&S rate pays for annual debt payments on voter-approved bonds. By exchanging pennies from the I&S portion to the M&O portion, the local school district total tax rate will be the same, but a higher M&O rate will bring more state funding.

This move, called a penny exchange, would allow the district to keep the total tax rate at $1.445, the same rate it has been since 2015. The total tax rate will not increase as a result of the penny exchange. However, Irving ISD could see an additional $10 million (or more) annually in state aid from Austin.

TRE tax equation

For the penny exchange to take place, the voters have to ratify the tax rate because the M&O portion of the tax rate would be increased by 13 pennies, going from $1.04 to $1.17. By law, the district must ask voters to consider ratifying the tax rate and therefore has called a Tax Ratification Election (TRE) for Saturday, September 10 to approve the increase to the M&O portion.

If approved, the M&O rate will be 13 pennies higher. On July 18, the Irving ISD Board of Trustees, by ordinance at a special-called meeting, voted unanimously to lower the I&S rate by 13 pennies if the voters approve an increase of 13 pennies to the M&O rate. If approved by the voters, the increased 13 pennies on the M&O side will then immediately be offset by a 13 penny decrease in the I&S rate so that the 2016 tax rate will be the same as the 2015 tax rate.

For every penny levied between $1.04 and $1.17 from the M&O portion, Irving ISD receives on average approximately $800,000. For the I&S portion, the state contribution per penny is approximately $200,000. Therefore by moving the I&S pennies to the M&O portion of the total tax rate, Irving ISD receives more state funding. The tax ordinance limits the total rate to the same rate as last year – $1.445 – and the district may gain more than $10 million of additional state funding. If voters do not approve the TRE, the total tax rate will also be $1.445, but the school district will not receive the additional state funding.

If the TRE passes, the additional revenue would be spent on:

• Employee compensation
• Employee benefits
• Student success initiatives including additional instruction, summer programs and early childhood education
• Capital expenditures including buses, capital improvements, HVAC and energy efficiency (in lieu of a bond referendum)

Presented by Irving ISD

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