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Don’t Expect AISD Tax Rate Election In November

Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

Austin ISD, the largest school district in Central Texas, probably won’t ask voters this fall to help cover a state funding shortfall that forced it to slash jobs and reduce programs.

“There’s just not enough time,” AISD school board president Mark Williams told KUT News, citing how long it took the state legislature to finalize its budget this year.  

Williams said the cuts the school district already made – including eliminating more than 1,000 positions this year – means AISD “can survive next year without having the need to go out for a tax increase.”

 “But we’re going to have to look at it sometime downstream, particularly as the cuts continue to come,” Williams said.

Austin ISD saw its state funding cut $37 million for the upcoming 2011-12 school year. It anticipates state cuts of about $58 million in 2012-13. You can see the most recent budget update delivered to school board members here.

The school district, unlike the city and county, had reached its maximum tax rate and by law must hold an election for any increase, regardless of how small.

The City of Austin is proposing a tax rate increase of 2.52 cents per $100 property evaluation, which would not require voter ratification. Travis County, meanwhile, is considering whether to call a $200 million bond election.

“We’re going to have to have enough time to make the case and demonstrate that we’re doing all we can from a fiscally responsible standpoint,” Williams said. “At this point, we’ve got some work to do.”

Nathan Bernier is the transportation reporter at KUT. He covers the big projects that are reshaping how we get around Austin, like the I-35 overhaul, the airport's rapid growth and the multibillion-dollar transit expansion Project Connect. He also focuses on the daily changes that affect how we walk, bike and drive around the city. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on X @KUTnathan.