El Paso Independent School District officials think they have a way to fix the 17 million dollar hole in their budget, but it has to be approved by voters who aren’t very happy with those officials.

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EPISD has been holding community budget meetings, and at last night’s meeting at Bowie High School, they announced that they are thinking of holding a tax ratification election, or TRE. Here’s how it works – right now, EPISD money is split into two different let’s call them accounts. One tax rate account generates money for maintenance and operations – the other tax rate account generates money to pay down the district's debt.

EPISD officials say that if they adjust those rates by 3 cents, it could generate more than 12 million dollars because one tax rate would go up and the other would go down.

District officials say this particular TRE would not require raising property taxes, but to put the TRE into place, it has to go before the Board of Managers, and then the voters, which is where EPISD could run into problems because of all the recent missteps in dealing with taxpayers and employees.

The district tried to get a TRE ratified in 2010. That one did include a hike in property taxes, but voters turned it down.

There was no decision made about the possible TRE at last night’s meeting.

EPISD is holding two more community meetings to inform the public about the budget shortfall. The first of the final two meetings will be at Franklin High School, Monday, April 28. The last meeting will be at Coronado High School, April 29. Both meetings begin at 5 p.m.