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Adler proposes tax arrangement with AISD

Wednesday, February 3, 2016 by Eva Ruth Moravec

In City Council’s Tuesday work session, Mayor Steve Adler asked Council to mull over an arrangement with Austin Independent School District through which the city would levy taxes for certain district functions. The idea is that the city might be able to cover those functions more efficiently than the district, which is property-wealthy and must give levies over a certain ceiling to the state. “For every penny that the school district levies in taxes, a significant part of it goes away and doesn’t come back,” Adler said. Most Council members supported the concept, although Council Member Don Zimmerman had questions about fairness and how a tax swap might affect other districts in Austin. Adler said he has already had talks with AISD Board President Kendall Pace and Texas Sen. Kirk Watson (D-Austin), who has been involved in school finance reform. Pace couldn’t be reached for comment Tuesday. In an emailed statement, Watson said he appreciated that the city was looking at ways to cooperate with AISD. “This discussion started many years ago, and I’m pleased it’s receiving some focus now, because many of us feel a shared responsibility for our schoolchildren,” he said. “That is part of what makes Austin special.” City Manager Mark Marc Ott said he would try to bring Council a proposal in a few weeks.

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