The new tax rate would be $1.408 per $100 of property value, a decrease compared to the $1.4223 rate during the 2020-21 school year. However, the highest tax rate the board could pass without an election was $1.388.
The election will allow PfISD to save $7.1 million. If the new tax rate does not pass, the anticipated deficit next year would grow from $885,000 to $7.9 million, according to district information.
“One of the huge notes with a tax ratification election is we're basically going for two additional cents to maximize our state funding,” Chief Operating Officer Ed Ramos said during an Aug. 12 board meeting. “Right now, the way we're funded with our tax rate is the state allows us eight golden pennies. We, as a school district, have access to six of those golden pennies.”
Now the school district will have access to eight golden pennies. Ramos added that the pennies are called golden “because it forces the state to maximize your state aid.”
Under House Bill 3, a bill the Texas Legislature passed in 2019, districts are allowed a maximum of eight golden pennies, which are pennies within a Texas school district’s maintenance and operations, or M&O, tax bill that cannot be subject to state recapture. Prior to HB 3, state districts were only allowed access to six golden pennies.
Texas’ recapture system was enacted in 1993 and requires districts with a value per student higher than $514,000 to contribute payments based on their taxable value, according to The Texas Education Agency. The money is collected by Texas’ education fund and redistributed to districts below that threshold.
The newly proposed PfISD tax rate is the lowest it has been in the past 21 years. It also will raise more revenue than the tax rate in 2020-21 because of increases to property values in Pflugerville.
The average Pflugerville property owner would pay $4,352 in school district taxes for the year.
Amy Rae Dadamo contributed to this report.