T he El Paso Independent School District will seek voter approval for a no-tax-rate-increase Penny Swap election that could bring in $7 million in matching state funds to help give teachers and employees a salary stipend.
The EPISD Board of Trustees recently approved the Penny Swap referendum, officially known as a Tax Ratification Election. Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 6, with early voting from Oct. 22 to Nov. 2.
“The Penny Swap gives the District the opportunity to provide a $750 holiday stipend for employees without costing homeowners any additional taxes,” said EPISD Board President Trent Hatch. “From moving 10 cents from one side of the tax rate formula to the other, we are able to tap into money the state has set aside and that we otherwise can’t access.”
If approved by the voters, the Penny Swap will allow the District to lower by 10 cents the Interest & Sinking portion of its tax rate and switch those 10 cents to the Maintenance & Operation portion of the rate.
The total tax rate for EPISD would remain at $1.31 per $100 valuation — the same as last year.
EPISD has invested millions of dollars in employee salaries, the modernization of facilities and the upgrade of teaching standards over the past five years, resulting in the favorable state ratings and higher student performance. However, declining enrollment and other factors have lead to significant decreases in state and federal funding.
EPISD successfully approved a no-tax-rate-increase Penny Swap election in 2015 to bring in an additional $9 million per year. Voters in the District also supported the $669-million Bond 2016 that will modernize facilities and right-size the number of facilities EPISD operates.