Public school taxes involve two figures, which divide the school district budget into two “buckets.” The first bucket is the Maintenance and Operations budget (M&O), which funds daily costs and recurring or consumable expenditures such as teacher and staff salaries, supplies, food and utilities. Approximately 87% of the District’s M&O budget goes to teacher and staff salaries. The second bucket is the Interest and Sinking Fund (I&S), also known as Debt Service, and that is used to repay debt for capital improvements approved by voters through bond elections.
Proceeds from a bond issue can be used for the construction and renovation of facilities, the acquisition of land and the purchase of capital items such as equipment, technology and transportation. By law, I&S funds cannot be used to pay M&O expenses, which means that voter-approved bonds cannot be used to increase teacher salaries or pay rising costs for utilities and services.
If the bond election is approved, the estimated tax impact of this bond is $0.19 for a total tax rate of $1.39. For an average taxable home value of $107,000, this represents an increase of approximately $12.14 per month (after state mandatory homestead exemption of $25,000 and local 5% exemption option).
Voters Over 65
Abilene ISD property taxes for citizens age 65 or older would not be affected by the bond election as long as a homestead and over 65 exemption application have been filed with the local appraisal district.
According to state law, the dollar amount of school taxes imposed on the residence homestead of a person 65 years of age or older cannot be increased above the amount paid in the first year after the person turned 65 regardless of changes in tax rate or property value unless improvements are made to the home.
Currently, Abilene ISD’s M&O tax rate is $1.04 and the I&S tax rate is $0.16 for a total tax rate of $1.20. The chart below shows the potential tax rate if the bond election is approved by voters.