Penny swap

The El Paso Independent School District is currently holding an election seeking to gain voter approval to lower their tax rate for debt service by 3 cents and to increase their rate for maintenance and operation by 3 cents.  Early voting has already started.

According to the district this would increase state funding to EPISD by $9 million each year.  Our former city chief financial officer is no longer in the district’s picture so I have hope that the number is accurate.

The net effect is an increase in the amount of money that the district receives while not taking any more money from us in property taxes.

The district has published a list of funding priorities that they plan to use the extra money for:

  • Instruction and enrichment
    • Summer enrichment programs
    • Replacing worn out fine arts equipment
    • Spending on athletic programs with a focus on middle-schools
    • Expansion of science labs and career and technical education
  • Pay raises
    • 2.5% for teachers
    • 3.5% for hourly staff
  • School Buses
    • One third of their buses are over 20 years old
  • Academic technology
    • Incorporating technology and electronic devices into daily instruction
    • Expansion of library digital media

I would hope that the district would use part of the money to continue making debt payments as though the tax rates had not changed.

If you live in the district please vote.

We deserve better


8 Responses to Penny swap

  1. A ruse by any other name says:

    However anyone wishes to characterize the “penny swap”, it is paying less on debt and more to teachers, without raising taxes this year. At some point in time taxes will be raised to pay the additional debt accrued by paying less now. This is a ruse of the highest order, and people are falling for it. There is no such thing as free money. If the state will give anyone $14 million a year for paying less towards their debt then there is something wrong, or someone is lying about what the additional state monies are for.


  2. Reality Checker says:

    Whose money is funding the expensive direct mail campaign that is being used to drum up support for the penny swap?


  3. Deputy Dawg says:

    As for buying down the debt, at several of the meetings I attended, the district finance people have said that they have bought down the debt to the tune of $121 million (that might be an incorrect number but it sticks in my mind for some reason) over the past few years. That is encouraging. They have been doing that even without the TRE.
    I think the presentation is on the EPISD website. In any event, this is essentially voting for $14 million a year in state funding (not local) that is for perpetuity. The state cannot renege on the money in the future. It would be stupid to vote against it. The bad part of it is that the language on the ballot makes it seem like we are voting for a tax increase, which is not the case.


  4. Fred says:

    A few years back the district held an TRE and was voted down by the district employees because there was not enough money for employees. This time around the district has increased the employees share and we will see if it passes


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