In a 6-1 vote, the LISD board of trustees approved a property tax rate of $1.4184 per $100 valuation. The rate includes $0.9534 for the maintenance and operations fund and $0.465 for the interest and sinking fund.
The fiscal year 2020-21 rate is a decrease of 1.3% from the previous rate of $1.4375 per $100 evaluation.
The Leander ISD board did not vote to levy a fifth "golden penny," which is an additional penny tax that the state gives certain school districts under Texas' House Bill 3. The “golden penny” required a unanimous vote; however, Elexis Grimes voted against the motion for the penny. She said it is not a good ask of the Leander ISD community during a global pandemic.
“I just don’t feel comfortable increasing taxes in this time frame,” Grimes said.
With or without the golden penny usage, the tax rate would have decreased; however, increasing property values would increase a taxpayer's overall payment.
LISD Chief Financial Officer Elaine Cogburn said the golden penny would have added $1.1 million in operations revenue. Without the addition, the school district is $1.479 million under budget in the maintenance and operations fund.
With a $1.4 million budget deficit, a budget amendment will be required in the future for reduced revenue, Cogburn said. The board may have the opportunity to use the additional penny tax next year unless the Texas Legislature changes the rule.