EL PASO, TX - The average homeowner in the El Paso Independent School District will see an increase of $64.42 in taxes this fiscal year.
The rate is increasing from $1.23 per $100 tax valuation of a home to $1.31.
District officials say the increase is tied to the $669 million bond passed by voters in November.
Carmen Arrieta-Candelaria is the district's deputy superintendent for finance and operations.
"When the voters approved that $699 million bond issuance, what we did was sell debt. We sold $200 million as part of the plan in January of 2017. And so you are seeing that first effect of that bond program in this year's tax rate. So it's going up about seven cents," said Arrieta-Candelaria.
Thanks to the bond money, district officials say athletic upgrades and new playgrounds at schools are already underway. The Coronado High School rebuild, a signature project, is in design.
The average taxable value of an EPISD home dropped $1,580. In 2016, the average taxable value of a home was $113,485. In 2017, it is $111,905.
In 2016, the average market value of a home was $138,621. In 2017, it is $136,981.
That drop in part led to a 7 percent cut to the district's administration budget.
"That was about $7 million dollars that we took off the budget right before the end of June in order to make it work. So it was a big cut. So, that was done throughout the spring. And then we made some additional cuts during the last two weeks," said EPISD Superintendent Juan Cabrera.
The savings has allowed the district to give a 4 percent average pay raise to teachers.
"The district was the second lowest starting teacher salary in the city, in the region. That was one of the things that we wanted to focus on, to try and improve the compensation for our teachers," said Arrieta-Candelaria. "So what we did was look at departments at central office and we cut 7 percent from their budgets in order to assist us with achieving that goal."
The first year teachers got an average 7.1 percent increase in salary.