Bryan ISD hoping to add more "Golden Pennies"

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BRYAN, Tex. (KBTX) - The district is hoping to maximize local and state revenue this year by taking advantage of a program run by the Texas Education Association.

Right now, Bryan ISD has a total tax rate of a $1.35 which is broken down into two different categories.

$1.04 goes towards Maintenance and Operations, which includes teacher salaries, electricity, water and more.

The other $0.31 helps the district pay off debt from school bonds.

Since the district has paid down some debts, they hope to take advantage of millions in additional state funding by shifting their tax formula.

"We're in a position to drop the debt side of our tax rate three cents and raise the other side two cents and take advantage of those two Golden Pennies," said Brandon Webb, Executive Director of Communications & Public Affairs.

That means taxpayers will pay less on every $100 of property, while the district will receive more funding.

"It generates $3 million of brand new revenue from the State of Texas and $1 million of local revenue," added Webb.

The state money that Bryan ISD is hoping to get a hold of is from a program called Golden Pennies.

But what are Golden Pennies?

According the the Texas Education Agency, the precious pennies are the first 6 cents of Maintenance and Operations Tax (M&O) above the Compressed Tax Rate (CTR). For Bryan ISD, that rate is $1.00.

Every Golden Penny the district collects, the state rewards with about $700,000 in funding.

Currently, Bryan ISD has $1.04 devoted to M&O, and by adding an additional two pennies to that side of the pool, taking Bryan ISD residents to $1.06, the district gets the maximum amount of state funding.

"It's a modest tax decrease for the tax payers, but ultimately $4 million for the district which is what we desperately need at this time," said Webb.

The district hopes for a positive reaction in October, but says changes is needed in Austin.

"We are going to do our part as a district but we certainly think the legislature could do more," said Webb.

Bryan ISD estimates that property values went up by 12.4% last year.

Therefore, the district will collect more than $4 million extra for the general fund compared to the previous year.

But the district says the nearly $4.5 million above that they stand to make, with a change in taxation, is vital to meet educational goals.