AISD's New Budget OK'd

Board also reinstates historic property tax exemptions

For the second year in a row, the Austin Independent School District's board of trustees approved a property tax rate increase, then reinstated the tax break program for historic structures. On Aug. 22, the board adopted a $974 million budget for the 2011-12 school year and set a new tax rate of $1.242 per $100 valuation. That breaks into two parts: The maintenance and operations rate of $1.079 per $100 has been static since 2008, but the interest and sinking rate – which pays for bonds and new construction – rose by 1.5 cents for the second consecutive year, hitting 16.3 cents per $100. The board also voted 8-1 to reintroduce its highly controversial historic property tax exemptions. The holdout was District 7 trustee Robert Schneider. While he backed the aim of protecting historic structures, he argued that nonhistoric and heavily reconstructed buildings were getting the same tax breaks as real landmarks. He added, "We've been working for years with this budget problem, and to me it sends a message to the Legislature that not only do we have enough money, but we have enough to give $382,000 of it back in property tax exemptions."

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