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Low early voter turnout reported in Denton ISD tax election

Taxpayers may complain about their tax rates, but less than 1 percent of voters in Denton ISD cast a ballot during the early voting period of the school district's tax ratification election.

Early voting ended Tuesday on a measure that would bring the district's maintenance and operations tax rate up by 2 cents, but leave Denton ISD's overall tax rate unchanged. According to election officials, a little more than 1,050 out of 109,963 eligible voters cast a ballot.

Denton County Elections Administrator Frank Phillips said the turnout was par for the course in special elections.

"Unfortunately, that's probably pretty consistent with that type of election," he said. "If history holds true, somewhere between 50 to 60 percent vote early. The rest will vote on election day."

Election day is set for Saturday, Sept. 9, with polls open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

In what's known as a "tax swap," voters are being asked to approve an increase in the district's maintenance and operations tax rate, bringing it from $1.04 per $100 valuation to $1.06. That portion of the tax revenue goes into the district's operating budget, which pays for salaries, supplies and daily expenditures.

The school board has already lowered the interest and sinking tax rate from 50 cents to 48 cents per $100 valuation. Those taxes can be used only to pay off bond debts on facilities.

Although the overall tax rate would remain the same at $1.54 per $100 valuation, district officials estimate the tax swap would bring roughly $7 million more in revenue for the district annually. Currently, for the owner of a house in Denton, Denton ISD taxes comprise nearly half of the homeowner's property tax bill.

Tax swaps have had a history of success in area school districts despite low voter turnouts.

Aubrey ISD voters approved a 13-cent tax swap in 2016 that brought in an additional $500,000 in revenue for the district. About 18 percent of eligible voters turned out to cast a ballot.

In 2015, Sanger ISD and Krum ISD voters passed two separate 13-cent tax swaps. Krum ISD's measure brought in $1.3 million annually, with roughly 5 percent of eligible voters turning out for the election. Sanger ISD saw an additional $1.6 million annually from its election, with about 4 percent of eligible voters casting ballots.

To find out where to vote on election day based on one's precinct, check out the chart below or go to www.votedenton.com.

CAITLYN JONES can be reached at 940-566-6862.

Denton ISD tax election polling locations

Precinct Location Address
1004, 1006-1007 Braswell High School 26750 E. University Drive, Little Elm
1008-1012 Denton ISD Central Administration Building 1307 N. Locust St.
1013-1014 Denton County Elections Administration 701 Kimberly Drive
1015-1019 Denia Recreation Center 1001 Parvin St.
1020-1024 Denton County Elections Administration 701 Kimberly Drive
1025-1027 Braswell High School 26750 E. University Drive, Little Elm
1038-1039 Denton County Elections Administration 701 Kimberly Drive
4000-4009, 4013 Denton ISD Central Administration Building 1307 N. Locust St.
4010-4012, 4014 Denton County Elections Administration 701 Kimberly Drive
4015-4016 Denia Recreation Center 1001 Parvin St.
4017-4019, 4021-4022, 4028 Harpool Middle School 9601 Stacee Lane, Lantana area
4037 Denia Recreation Center 1001 Parvin St.
4038-4040, 4042 Denton ISD Central Administration Building 1307 N. Locust St.
4043 Harpool Middle School 9601 Stacee Lane, Lantana area