Ask the Editor: What happens when school districts pay off bonds?

School districts often seek bonds to fund capital projects such as new campuses and major renovations, but not all school bonds require increasing the tax rate.

School districts often seek bonds to fund capital projects such as new campuses and major renovations, but not all school bonds require increasing the tax rate.

School districts often seek bonds to fund capital projects such as new campuses and major renovations, but not all school bonds require increasing the tax rate. In 2017, Austin ISD voters passed a $1.05 billion bond that did not raise the tax rate. This November voters in Pflugerville ISD will consider a $332 million bond and a 2 cent decrease in the overall tax rate, and Round Rock ISD voters will consider a $508.4 million bond that also does not increase the tax rate.

RRISD’s approach is to lower the tax rate once a bond is paid off. Jenny LaCoste-Caputo, RRISD’s executive director for communications and community relations, said RRISD has been lowering its tax rate since the 2014 bond by paying off existing debt, refinancing for better rates and taking advantage of an expanding tax base.

In AISD, Senior Communications Specialist Tiffany Young said because the district has multiple bonds underway at any given time, the tax rate would likely not decrease when one bond is paid off. The district is also continuing to pay off debt from other bonds.
By Amy Denney

Managing Editor, Austin metro

Amy has worked for Community Impact Newspaper since September 2010, serving as reporter and senior editor for the Northwest Austin edition as well as covering transportation in the Austin metro. She is now managing editor for the 10 publications in the Central Texas area from Georgetown to New Braunfels. She enjoys spending time with her husband, son and two cats.